The Answer Is Yes

Overview

Jenny Brown has three simple wishes: to enjoy a happy marriage, to have a job she loves, and to be reunited with her birth mother. But her wishes don't seem to be coming true. After moving from academic Cambridge to suburban San Diego, Jenny finds her biologist husband more interested in his transgenic mice than in her. She's fired from her steady job at the bank, she can't locate her biological mother, and she's even given up on trying to become a mother herself. Just when Jenny's life seems most out of whack, ...
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Overview

Jenny Brown has three simple wishes: to enjoy a happy marriage, to have a job she loves, and to be reunited with her birth mother. But her wishes don't seem to be coming true. After moving from academic Cambridge to suburban San Diego, Jenny finds her biologist husband more interested in his transgenic mice than in her. She's fired from her steady job at the bank, she can't locate her biological mother, and she's even given up on trying to become a mother herself. Just when Jenny's life seems most out of whack, she stumbles onto the Institute of Affirmation, a quirky adult education center where every idea is a good one. With oddball courses such as 'Drawing Blindfolded', 'Home Cooking for Pets, and 'Bad Habits Support Group', the institute doesn't appear to be Jenny's kind of place. Yet she finds herself returning to the school again and again. Could it be that the Institute of Affirmation with its disarming director, Michael, has something she needs after all?
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Editorial Reviews

Linda Barrett Osborne
Is this a relentlessly positive novel that shamelessly foists fortuitous resolutions on the reader, yet nonetheless can bring a tear to the eye? The answer is 'yes.'
New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
In this heartwarming tale of dreams coming true when least expected, adoptee Jenny Brown focuses on the affirmative. She has but three desires: a happy marriage, a job she loves, and a reunion with her birth mother. Instead of fulfillment, she loses her job, feels shut out of her scientist husband's life, and can't find her birth mother. However, once she becomes involved with The Institute of Affirmation, an unusual adult education center, Jenny's life takes on a new direction. Caring friends and positive thinking make a difference, and Jenny discovers that dreams can come true. Lewis (Heart Conditions) has a gift of insight and empathy, and women of all ages will identify with her delightful young heroine. -- Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.
Linda Barrett Osborne
Is this a relentlessly positive novel that shamelessly foists fortuitous resolutions on the reader, yet nonetheless can bring a tear to the eye? The answer is 'yes.' -- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
A wacky novel filled with scarcely believable yet entertaining twists of fate from the author of, most recently, But I Love You Anyway (1996). When she's fired from a dead-end bank job, Jenny Brown prowls her bland suburb, searching for a fulfillment equivalent to that her preoccupied biologist husband Todd finds in studying the genetic properties of brain tumors. Her aimlessness works to her advantage when she wanders into the Institute of Affirmation, where a bevy of oddball classes are offered, including 'Home Cooking for Your Pet', 'Living Alone and Loving It', and 'Finishing What You Started.' Jenny sits in on an acting class and quickly gets hooked. The Institute's motto, 'The Answer is Yes,' becomes the new student's mantra as she makes a series of bold and somewhat improbable moves. Frustrated by Todd's seeming indifference, she choreographs a dramatic exit with her wise adoptive mother—only to discover that Todd never noticed she was gone. Then she agrees to direct a play for her acting class and finds herself welcomed into a community of quasi-misfits who provide the warmth that her marriage lacks. Given Jenny's inexperience, the success of the first play seems just a little too lucky. Casting, costuming, and choreographing roles for more than 30 actors does intimidate her, but her new friends—conveniently, seamstresses and handymen—pitch in to help whenever she's feeling overextended. Preparations, though, come to a grinding halt when the director falls off a ladder and ends up in the hospital, but the accident becomes the set-up for Todd, who rarely takes an interest in his wife, to overhear Michael (director of the Institute) professing love for her.
From the Publisher
Is this a relentlessly positive novel that shamelessly foists fortuitous resolutions on the reader, yet nonetheless can bring a tear to the eye? The answer is 'yes.'-the New York Times Book Review

Lewis reveals with gentle irony the gap between what people say they want and what they do.-Publishers Weekly

A heartwarming tale of dreams coming true . . . Lewis has a gift of insight and empathy, and women of all ages will identify with her delightful young heroine. Highly recommended.-Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780783803920
  • Publisher: Macmillan Library Reference
  • Publication date: 12/1/1998
  • Series: Inspirational Series
  • Edition description: LARGEPRINT
  • Pages: 407
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.47 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Reading Group Guide

1. If there were a real Institute of Affirmation, which course(s) would you enroll in? Can you think of a course you might want to teach?

2. In one of the classes that Jenny takes, Making Magic and Miracles, the teacher outlines three steps to solving any problem. Is this just a wacky, fictional parody of a New Age self-help class, or do you think Glenda Wick's three-step system might be useful for solving real-life problems?

3. Jenny experiences profound ambivalence about searching for and becoming reunited with her birth mother. If you are not an adoptee, imagine that you are. Would you want to search for your birth mother? How do you think your decision would affect others close to you, particularly your parents? If you are an adoptee, imagine that Jenny is a friend of yours. What advice would you give her about searching and becoming reunited with her birth mother?

4. How do you feel about Jenny's husband Todd? Does your view of Todd change as the book progresses and you gain more information about Jenny and Todd's marriage? What out come did you expect for this couple? How do you think being an adoptee has influenced Todd's life?

5. Jenny's approach to life is emotional and spontaneous, while Todd is scientific and methodical. Jenny often wishes that she could be more like Todd, following a prescribed life plan with dearly defined milestones and goals. Do you think that Todd ever envies the way Jenny operates?

6. Considering that Todd is a biologist, and both Todd and Jenny are adoptees, how much of a role does the nature vs. nurture argument play in their lives?

7. Jenny has a tendency to collect "mothers"-women who want to take care ofher and with whom she often develops close bonds. Near the end of the book, Jenny redefines her concept of family, as "the collection of people you choose to be closest to." Are there people in your own life whom you consider "family," who may even fill the role of parent, though they are not blood relations?

8. The play, Fields of Love, seems to be a colossal disaster just before it unexpectedly comes together at the last minute. This production is one example of an "everyday miracle" in the book. What are some others? Can you think of moments in your own experience when seemingly hopeless situations have had surprisingly positive resolutions?

Copyright (c) 1999. Published in the U.S. by Harcourt, Inc.
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 8, 2009

    BE HAPPY AND SPREAD GOOD CHEER

    I just finished re-reading this book and I loved it even more now than I did the first or second time I read it (I'd first read it years ago.)

    It's like the author is your own personal cheerleader and you in turn will be the main character Jenny's cheerleader! The book will make you happy.

    Reading this book gets your positive, creative juices flowing and you start thinking about your own life and wanting to make plans again. You also start keeping an open mind and an open eye for the possibilities God may be sending your way. It's energizing, a verbal dose of vitamin B12.

    If the Institute of Affirmation had classes in every city across America would the classes be filled? "The Answer Is Yes"

    Read this book and tell your friends about it too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2007

    Read and reread this book!

    I read this book about ten years ago and think it is time to re-read it! Our neighborhood is starting a book group and I am submitting this for my one and only vote. This was a great soul searching book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2002

    Get this book!

    I love this book! I found it to be full of wise advice and believeable characters that I can relate to. It was an excellant read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2002

    The Answer truly is Yes!

    'The Answer is Yes' By Sara Lewis is definitely a page turner. Easily relatable, Jenny brown goes through the crisis' of life, realizing after moving to San Diego how unhappy she is. Ending up at the Institute of Affirmation time and time again, the school helps her turn around her life, gives her a great new job, and makes her realize her three wishes can, will, and do come true. A few twists add excitement to the plot, and a few unexpected surprises in the end finish the book nicely. I could not put it down! You fall in love with the characters, and end up wanting to attend the Institute yourself!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    Great Read!

    I absolutely loved this book! For all the women out there that think they are 'sarah, plain, and tall' read this!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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