Tuesday Night Miracles

( 7 )

Overview

In this poignant and transformative novel, bestselling author Kris Radish weaves a tale of five women yearning for change?and the potential for happiness that lies within every heart.
 
Free-spirited psychologist Dr. Olivia Bayer suspects she?ll need a miracle to help the four wildly different women in her anger management class. Grace, a single working mother, can barely find a moment?s rest. Jane, a high-profile real estate agent, is ...
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Tuesday Night Miracles: A Novel

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Overview

In this poignant and transformative novel, bestselling author Kris Radish weaves a tale of five women yearning for change—and the potential for happiness that lies within every heart.
 
Free-spirited psychologist Dr. Olivia Bayer suspects she’ll need a miracle to help the four wildly different women in her anger management class. Grace, a single working mother, can barely find a moment’s rest. Jane, a high-profile real estate agent, is struggling in the recession. Kit, in her fifties, has had it with her taunting older brothers. And Leah, a young mother of two, is starting over after ending a troubled relationship. All have reached a crossroads, and Dr. Bayer has an unconventional plan to steer them on the right track. As the class gets taken everywhere from a bowling alley to a shooting range, the women’s Tuesday meetings transform from tense, reluctant gatherings into richly rewarding experiments in female bonding. As Grace, Jane, Kit, and Leah open up—revealing secrets, swapping stories, and recovering long-lost dreams—old wounds begin to heal, new friendships are forged, and miracles manifest in the most surprising ways.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dr. Olivia Bayer is at the end of her career as a therapist when she is given a new group of women for court-ordered anger management classes. Her evaluation is all that stands between them and jail time. Kit has assaulted a domineering brother in a drunken rage after her mother’s death; elegant and controlled Jane took the spiked heel of a red stiletto to the face of a co-worker when a desperately needed property sale fell through; and Grace repeatedly rammed her car into her daughter’s boyfriend-from-hell’s car when she found it parked in front of the house. Leah, a last-minute addition to the group, is a battered wife living in a shelter with a story even more disturbing than the others’. Olivia decides that for once she is going to follow her own instincts and put aside the strict protocol usually required of such weekly group therapy sessions, with uneven results. Radish exhibits a deep understanding of and compassion for women who opt for fight rather than flight in tough situations. She does not trivialize them, their crimes, or the painful process of recovery; she has a keen eye for the good and bad in female relationships. The weak link here has to do with Olivia’s experimental approach to anger management, which comes across as underdeveloped and simplistic. Nevertheless, the strong personalities will resonate for many readers. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Tuesday Night Miracles

"Radish delves into the hearts of four women in her latest novel and uncovers the feelings, insecurities and hidden hurts. Full of strong, complex characters, this story is riveting." --Romantic Times

"Reader alert: This is the kind of book you'd better commit to read if you start it, because you probably won't be able to put it down." --Huntington News

"Radish employs wry humor with a light touch here, and she includes details that are believable and tantalizingly possible. These things kept me reading and they kept me loving this novel. . . Tuesday Night Miracles is dynamite." --Washington Blade

"Not since How To Make An American Quilt by Whitney Otto have I been so interested in a group of women and their stories." --Girlfriends Book Club

"The characters take on many important issues, such as domestic violence, empty nests, family secrets, self-growth and forgiveness. The resolutions of each of their stories, including Dr. Bayer’s, are satisfying as was Tuesday Night Miracles. --Destin.com

Praise for Kris Radish
 
“Kris Radish creates characters that seek and then celebrate the discovery of . . . women’s innate power.”—The Denver Post
 
“An inspiring story for fans of Rebecca Wells and anyone with a strong woman in her or his life.”—Booklist, on Hearts on a String
 
“Radish unrolls a rollicking yet reflective read that adds to her robust repertoire of beloved fiction. . . . What’s a reader to do but relish the ride.”—BookPage, on Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA

"Radish exhibits a deep understanding of and compassion for women who opt for fight rather than flight in tough situations. She does not trivialize them, their crimes, or the painful process of recovery; she has a keen eye for the good and bad in female relationships…Will resonate for many readers.” --Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
Four women are sentenced to a very unusual anger-management class. Olivia, a Chicago psychotherapist, is launching a daring new variant of the anger-management group sessions she has been leading for years. Her latest patients have been court-ordered to attend the class in lieu of jail, after angry outbursts landed them in the criminal-justice system. Kit went after her brother with a broken bottle after he criticized her care during their elderly mother's final weeks. When a deal falls through, Jane, a once-affluent broker whose business was decimated by the Crash of '08, beats a colleague with a stiletto shoe. Exhausted after a hard day of nursing, Grace reacts to her teen daughter Kelli's disobedience by wrecking Kelli's boyfriend's car. Leah, who lives in a domestic-abuse shelter, hits one of her children. To varying degrees, all four patients have man problems. Olivia, abetted by her amazingly sentient cocker spaniel Phyllis, challenges the women with assignments that reflect the unspoken longings of each: Jane is sent on a nature hike and to a children's birthday party, and Kit to a comedy club. Leah is chauffeured for a mani/pedi, and Grace escapes from a singles event to close a bar with a fellow divorcée. Group excursions include sessions at a rifle range and a bowling alley. All the women, including Olivia, harbor secrets. The framework of an anger-management class offers many opportunities for spellbinding storytelling, and Radish avails herself of almost none. Too often the women's debacles provide a platform for platitudinous preaching and pat affirmations rather than for insightful examination of their anger issues. An intriguing concept, woefully underdeveloped.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553384765
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 296,231
  • Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Kris Radish
Kris Radish is the author of Hearts on a String, The Shortest Distance Between Two Women, Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA, The Sunday List of Dreams, Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral, Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, and The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. She lives in Florida.

Biography

Nationally syndicated columnist Kris Radish has taken a somewhat winding road to her current status as bestselling feminist novelist, although a strong love of fiction has been in her blood since childhood. "I fell in love with words when I was a little girl (and yes I was short once) and discovered the joy of reading and hanging out with Nancy Drew," she explains on her web site. "By the beginning of eighth grade I had read every book in St. Joseph's Grade School library and knew I was going to be a writer."

Radish did not start out writing the kinds of tales she loved as a girl. She began in the more practical realm of journalism, which lead her to write her first book. Run, Bambi, Run is the true story of Laurie Bombenek, an ex-cop/ex-Playboy bunny who was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Bombenek's fascinating story—which included a daring prison break and her subsequent recapture—was adapted into an equally riveting and critically acclaimed true-crime book by Radish.

Now with her first taste of the publishing world, Radish began work on her second book. The Birth Order Effect was quite different from her debut and miles away from the fiction she would eventually pen. Instead, it is a serious but lively discussion of birth-order and how it affects human psychology and development. Ultimately, The Birth Order Effect would take ten years to see publication, putting Radish's publishing career on hold for that length of time. By the time it finally hit bookstore shelves in 2002, Radish had shifted gears again and would never suffer such a hiatus again. The same year that The Birth Order Effect saw publication, Radish published her breakthrough work of fiction The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, the mysterious, hypnotic story of eight Wisconsin women who embark upon a pilgrimage. As they travel, each woman's story is revealed and the bonds between them strengthen. The Elegant Gathering of White Snows established Radish as an important new voice in feminist fiction and there would be no turning back from there.

Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, the story of a wife and mother who sets upon her own journey toward self-actualization after finding her husband in bed with another woman, followed. Next up was Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral, another road novel in the vein of The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. By this point, Radish had gathered quite a following of devoted readers, all of her novels having found their ways onto bestseller lists throughout the United States. The Sunday List of Dreams, her next effort, was no different. It is a funny, moving, sometimes ribald tale of a woman who reconnects with her estranged daughter, who now runs a successful sex shop in New York City.

After the somewhat tentative journey toward her current success, Radish promises that she has many more stories to tell. "I write full-time because I never, not once, let go of the dream I had to do this," she says. "To put all my manic words into sentences and then string the sentences into paragraphs so that they could become chapters and then a book."

Good To Know

Even though Radish is enjoying tremendous success as a novelist, she still writes "two nationally syndicated columns each week—for DBR Media, Inc. and a regionally syndicated column in southeastern Wisconsin for Community Newspapers," as she explains on her web site.

Along with her many literary and journalistic accomplishments, Radish is an accomplished motorcycle rider.

While getting her career in journalism started, Radish worked a huge number of odd jobs. By her own account, she worked as a "professional Girl Scout, waitress, bartender, journalist, bureau chief, columnist, window washer, factory worker, bowling alley attendant and once, honest, I crawled on my belly through a Utah mountain field to harvest night crawlers."

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Radish:

"I've skied with Robert Redford, been shot at while flying over Bosnia, almost drowned in a flash flood in the middle of a desert, worked undercover, interviewed murderers, and covered a national disaster that buried a town."

"Once I really did crawl through a mountain field to pick night crawlers for extra money…actually it was more than once."

"When I was a working journalist someone was stalking me for a very long period of time. It was terrifying. To end it, I worked with the local police and I still have tape recordings of this person's voice."

"I answer all my own emails—which often takes hours but I do this because I have such a fabulous group of readers and if they honor me with a note—with their own stories—with something from their heart…well, I have to answer them. I just have to."

"Here are some of the things I love to do: Yoga and biking and I have recently rediscovered my passion for golf—honest—watch for the Kris Radish Open. I swim, and following a severe back injury am living with a ruptured L-5 but am kicking it in the rear end by working out at least five days a week and have recently—well, over the past five months—lost almost 20 pounds."

"I love to hike and often get some great inspiration when I am out hiking with my notebook. I adore the sounds of the outdoors and would live outside if I could—sleep with the window open year round."

"Three years ago I got my motorcycle license and after two years on a put-put bought a new Yamaha. Hope to put some more miles on it in between deadlines and books and kids and hitting the golf ball and…"

"Laughter is the key to everything. I love to laugh and drink wine and walk in the rain and I find kindness and intelligence two of the most attractive traits on earth."

"I need a glass of wine now—maybe two."

"Read Radish and live your list of dreams—just go for it, baby."

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    1. Hometown:
      Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 18, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1975
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

1

Truth or Consequences

The three manila files on Olivia’s dining-­room table have been opened and closed so many times that the edges are stained with coffee, several varieties of pasta sauce, more than a few red-­wine streaks, and the dark imprints of each one of her tiny fingers.

Before she grabs them this time she brushes her hands along her well-­worn navy bathrobe, leaving a long white trail of pretzel salt down both sides. When she glances at herself in the hall mirror on the way to her favorite living-­room chair, she laughs out loud, because the dark bathrobe that grazes her ankles and leaves her large white fluffy slippers exposed makes her look like a human-­size blue penguin.

If Olivia Bayer could change one thing about herself, even this late in the game, it would be her stumpy legs. Forget about the bad knee, her inability to qualify for LASIK eye surgery, or the twenty other physical tragedies that manifest themselves pretty much 24/7. She wants gams long enough to let her reach the top shelf.

Tonight the top shelf is the least of her worries. Olivia hasn’t even met the three women whose words are waiting for her inside the thin files, but she has a veteran’s suspicion that this is not going to be a walk in the park. A naked run through a land-­mined street is more like it.

“Come on, Phyllis,” she says to the gorgeous tan cocker spaniel sitting in the doorway. Phyllis would follow her mistress to the ends of the earth—­and she does. “We’ve got work to do.”

She grabs the silver half-­glasses that are held together by three rubber bands, pulls down the reading light above her head, turns it on, takes a breath to steady her thoughts, and picks up the first file:

It’s not like this happens every day. I’m sorry, okay? What gets me angry is people who don’t do what in the hell they say they’re going to do. Waiting for someone else to do something. Crooked lines that should be straight. I don’t have much time in my life to sit down and think about things like this. Obviously I’m also mad at the economy or this would never have happened.

Good Lord.

As Olivia moves to the next file, she reaches down and runs her palm across Phyllis’s calm back. The three pieces of paper inside are written in handwriting so large and bold, and with a hand that pressed so hard, she sees holes when she holds the pages up to the light:

I’m really pissed at my mother, for starters. Why now? It doesn’t take a genius to know my brothers make me furious, and if there is a step beyond furious they push me there, too. Cheapskates. Deadlines. Empty wine bottles. The Vietnam War. Is this the kind of thing you mean?

Olivia can’t bring herself to move beyond page one in this file. She almost fears the file might rise up and slap the living hell out of her all by itself.

The third file, the last file, has been her favorite since the beginning of this interesting mess. When she’s not in her bathrobe, Olivia calls the mess “a challenge,” but here, in her home, it’s a mess. At least this file, with its five pages of lovely cursive writing, offers a glimmer of hope. Either that or the writer has this kind of exercise already figured out:

. . . so maybe it’s just that sometimes you simply forget and go too far. You know? Whoever you are, I bet you know—­especially if you’re a woman. But that’s avoiding the question. I get that. So: Loud music, obviously. Men who cheat. Fad diets. Those things get me angry.

This isn’t bad for starters. Olivia quickly reads through the other pages again until she comes to something she must have missed. How could this be? Is she reading this correctly or does she need new glasses again? Is all hope lost?

. . . that doesn’t give people younger than us the right to disobey us, to cross the lines we have drawn, to disrespect our generation. Sometimes these things work both ways. Sometimes someone has to make a stand.

She drops the third file into her lap with the other two and then pushes them all to the floor. She watches as they land on top of one another like large playing cards.

Olivia’s done this so many times it would be impossible for her to count. Years and years of files. Years and years of the faces and then the blinding reality of the failures mixed in with the successes—­sometimes too few successes.

And now this.

These three files and these three women and this chance—­one last chance to take a moment, a series of moments, perhaps a lifetime of moments, and create a miracle. How many miracles are left? How many more times can Olivia risk it before her own miracle card expires? She thinks about all the years of white lies when she gave someone an extra chance, tried something no one had ever thought of trying before, scorched her own heart yet again when her professional skills came so close to crossing the boundary—­a boundary that these three women in the files have obviously crossed. Is it even possible for a person to bring one kind of life to an end and finally start out in a new direction?

If only she knew the answers to her own questions.

Olivia hesitates before she touches the files again, and she makes what every colleague would call a rash decision. Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s way past time. Retirement is waving its frightening hands in front of her face, and Dr. Olivia Bayer so wants to open up her secret bag of tricks and do something she has always dreamed of doing. This could be her last chance. But can she take that chance and make a real difference in the lives of these women? These women have been pushed over the edge, and what woman hasn’t been pushed over the edge the way they have? She’s already in trouble, and this pile of folders is like a blinking neon sign that is screaming, “Danger . . . danger!”

Then she bends down and randomly grabs the file with the blue dot on it. The blue dot and, yes, the red one and the green one, too, will have a name and a face tomorrow night.

She opens the file and her eyes land on the last paragraph. The blue dot is the smallest file, the one that has but a single page of writing, and she seizes one sentence.

“It’s not like I even have a choice.”

“Me, either,” she whispers to Phyllis, and then closes her eyes. With her eyes closed, she misses that absolutely glorious moment when day finally surrenders and the dark line of night marches swiftly across the horizon.

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Reading Group Guide

1. The four women in this book who are ordered into anger management treatment crossed an invisible "anger" line for what is acceptable.  Have you ever been close to or crossed the line?

2. Does society have different anger rules for men and women?

3. Olivia's treatment plan is far from traditional but she seems to do a good job of helping these women move forward.  How do you feel about the way she handled this special class?

4. Many themes were addressed in this book beyond anger, including letting go of a child, domestic violence, family drama, unrealistic personal expectations, guilt and possible incest.  Do any of these important issues stand out in your life or in the life of someone you know?

5. Developing adult anger coping methods is an important aspect of all of our lives.  How do you cope with anger?

6. Grace is having a difficult time juggling her life's load and letting go of her younger daughter.  How difficult is it to balance your expectations against those of someone you love?

7. People are often critical of domestic violence victims like Leah for not leaving a physically or emotionally abusive relationship. Why do you think it's so hard for some women to leave?

8. Olivia works hard to infuse some frivolity into her unique treatment plan.  How important is it for you to have balance in your own life?

9. Have you ever known a career- and success-obsessed woman like Jane who finds it nearly impossible to connect on an emotionally true level?

10. Kit has kept a deep, dark secret for most of her life. Do you think society is more open to revelations like hers now?

11. It's clear that Olivia is working hard to show these women how much they have to lose if they don't move forward and address the issues that drove them to cross the line. Have you ever thought about what you might lose if you crossed the same line?

12. Female friendship is an important underlying theme in this novel.  Is it possible to find commonality with women in your own life who at first glance might not seem to have anything in common with you?

13. Olivia's best friend and confidant is her remarkable dog, Phyllis. How do you feel about the importance of animals in our lives?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Tuesday Night Miracles

    A well written novel about four women from four different backgrounds with one thing in common. A topic that is rarely discussed in Women's fiction. Anger Management issues.

    Each of these women have daily issues in their lives that frustrate them beyond belief. Their frustrations have reached a point where the only way they know how to express themselves is through violence. Whether it be verbal or physical. Their classes, which meet every Tuesday night, help them each reflect on their lives and grow as women.

    I think that as Wives and Mothers we place so much pressure on ourselves that we sometimes don't know how to release the pressure and let the frustrations go in a constructive way. I think that because of those pressures, Tuesday Night Miracles is a perfect book to generate discussion at your local book club.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Join DawnClan

    Join DawnClan at staar all results! We need plenty of warriors, queens, kits and elders.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Lovely

    Story was ok, but the author used the word "lovely" too much.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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