Jo Joe

Jo Joe

by Sally Wiener Grotta


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780988387119
Publisher: Pixel Hall Press
Publication date: 06/06/2013
Pages: 314
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)

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Jo Joe 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
DubaiReader1 More than 1 year ago
A Black Bear novel. I really enjoyed Sally Weiner Grotta's style of writing and was quickly immersed in this novel, not least because of its underlying issue of race relations. Unfortunately, what let it down, for me, was the slightly weak and rather predictable denouement. Although I had to wait to see how the author would actually achieve her ending, it was becoming obvious by half way through, in which direction we were heading. Judith, or Jo, was the daughter of a black Jewish father and a white Christian mother. When the marriage split up, she remained with her mother until her mother's death, when she moved to an insular Pennsylvanian town, known as Black Bear, to live with her grandparents. Here, her colour and religious views made her was the butt of jokes and bullying. However, her childhood would have been even more difficult, had it not been for the support of Joe, a well built boy whom no-one messed with. So why did she leave Black Bear, vowing never to return? And who sent the anonymous letter, calling her back when her grandmother died? Judith returned with just a week to clear out the house and put it on the market so she could leave it, and all the unpleasant memories behind her for ever. Each of the chapters covers a day in the week, as she races to complete her task. There were some wonderful characterisations and the people of Black Bear felt very real. I also enjoyed the interesting descriptions of Jewish rituals, particularly surrounding the death of Judith's grandmother. The author and her husband are both writers, using Black Bear as the centre of their novels and short stories. I find this a fascinating concept and will certainly be interested to read more of their work in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life always seems to have an uncanny way of revealing itself over time. A compelling and poignant story that touched on everything from love and hate, to prejudice and compassion, and did so in a totally engaging way. "Jo Joe" definitely stimulated my thinking about a number of personal, as well as societal issues, and followed the resolution of these issues over the course of time. The book in and of itself is haunting. It's haunted me ever since I read it. It should make a great book for book clubs to discuss. I've discussed it with myself over and over. Love and loss. Love reignited. Tainted memories. Forgiveness. You will carry the well developed characters of Black Bear around in your heart and soul for quite some time after reading "Jo Joe". While absorbing the story, I hated Wayne and all of his friends. I loved Jo. I loved A.H. I loved Rebecca and David. I hated Black Bear. I loved Black bear. I hated the school house and loved that it burned to the ground! I hated the hate, rage, the bigotry, and the fear. I loved the love, the laughter, and the goodness. I hated the fact that Jo lost her love for Black Bear, and loved the fact that she regained it. Definitely inviting you to react to. and interact with all of the characters in the story, "Jo Joe" will surely arouse your feelings, allowing you to find yourself through Judith, as she finds herself once again, through Black Bear.
MichelleBo More than 1 year ago
If I tell you this book is just good or great, than I am doing you such a grave injustice. This is one of the books that I cannot express into words but trust me from the emotional imprint that I am drawing from that this is one of the most beautifully written, introspective and captivating stories that will not only grab your heart but it peak your literary senses. So, what is it about the book that it is so wonderful? I can’t think of anything about that book that I didn’t like whether it was about the overall story, content, or structure. Not many authors can woo you with a seamless perfected story. I think she did such an amazing job with telling this story which is a real testament to her ability and quality to write. The story had such depth that every layer of the story seemed so fit so cohesively to where in the end it just leaves you feeling so good with the exception that you might need to reach for a couple of kleenex. It was one of those stories that tug at your emotions not only because of the sensitivity of the story but also because of the connection that you feel towards the characters. You can’t help but to embrace them because they just jump off the page towards you. You go where they go, feel what they feel and the connection that is made makes you just want to keep reading. Here is a little bit to get you started: Judith Ormond or as she will be referred to as “Jo” is someone that might come across at first a bit snobby or above the ordinary folk but as you read your heart will go out to her. Jo, the nickname given by her friend Joe Anderson who became one of the best parts of her life, broke her heart. A mysterious phone call brings her back to the place she made a promise never to return. The familial memories that she had would always be cherished but the emotional and physical abuse she endured there is something that as deeply buried she tried to put it resurfaced along with some unearthed secrets that will shatter her core, was the catalyst that inspired her coming to terms and new introspective journey. Joe Anderson is someone that you fall an in love with, not like for a while when secrets are revealed but ultimately completely feel sorry for him. In a time and the type of town that’s roots seem defined by racial lines of black and white decided to befriend Judith who he shared much more than a friendship. When Judith had no one, he was everything to her until one day changed forever and he broke her heart. He had some run ins with the law and headed on the wrong path was turned around by the one person whose guilt led to his redemption. I hope you give the book a chance because there are so many things I think many can relate to such as the familial connection many have with our grandparents that remind us of our fondest memories or the feeling of wanting to belong when you are different. There are so many good things about this book involving the story that I know you will enjoy. You have all the goodies: love, family, friendship, loss, forgiveness and redemption. I will leave you with the hope that your experience with this book was a great for me as it will be for you.
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
No stars - DNF Where I stopped reading: 36% on my Kindle Why I stopped reading: It is just a bit slow for me. It took me 4 days to get to 36%, and I wasn’t that busy. I just couldn’t get into it. Ms. Grotta is a beautiful writer. Her descriptions are detailed and I could see everything. But that was part of the problem for me, too much detail. I could see too much. It was hard to get into a flow and rhythm. The story is there, and it seems like a really good one. I wanted to finish it. I wanted to see what Judith discovered. But. I just couldn’t keep reading. I didn’t want to keep reading it. Maybe it is me and I wasn’t in the mood for this book at this time. I don’t know. Will I pick it up again: I just may. The story seems interesting, and I think I want to know what happens. We’ll see. What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for Jo Joe is 4.57. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book 5 stars. There were 25 5-star reviews on Amazon. At Barnes & Noble, the reviews were split, 3 5-star reviews and 3 4-star reviews. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you may not. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
PureJonel More than 1 year ago
Grotta tackles some very tough subjects in a realistic and heartrending manner.  She evokes multiple emotions throughout this novel.  She has the ability to make you laugh and to make you cry with her amazing abilities as a storyteller.  As a reader you are drawn into this fantastic world.   The main character in this novel is extremely well put together.  Grotta takes the time to introduce you to every part of her character.  I love how you really get into the main character`s head.  You are able to experience life from her point of view.  The supporting cast is also very well put together.  Each is individually developed to suit their role in the novel.  Grotta makes sure that you get to know everyone that you meet in the story, even if they aren`t still with us.  It leads to a very realistic and all-encompassing feel throughout the story.   Overall this is a very insightful and emotional novel.  With this well written novel Grotta takes you on a lifelong journey that you won`t soon forget.   Please note that I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Ameise1 More than 1 year ago
It is an amazing perceptive story about Judith a woman in her thirties which's ancestry is manifold and therefore has to fight for her place among the people she should belong to. Because of her grandma's death she is going back to the little village where she has sworn never to set foot again. Judith is black, Jewish, French, American and African. She lived there during her teenage and had to flee after she has been raped. Back at the village with a lot of hate and unsolved problems she met all her predators, the hatred, the unspoken truth but also some new people which are giving her support and love. She has to learn that her grandma was a person which has been pulling the strings of everybody especially those of her beloved ones and unfortunately not for the best of them. Nobody could stop her and a cousin backed her. Finally, he is telling all her failures to Judith. It was a fast-paced reading and gripping until the very last page. (4 1/2 stars)
Mallory_SupernaturalFan More than 1 year ago
Jo Joe by Sally Wiener Grotta 5 stars Set in Black Bear, Pennsylvania, a fictional milieu created by authors Sally Wiener Grotta and Daniel Grotta, “Jo Joe” is a multilayered tale of small-community life, bigotry, entrenched religion, and one individual’s need to break free to assert her individuality, in the face of community pressure to either conform or to disappear. Judith Ormand is a Parisian-born product of a black French Jew and a Pennsylvania mountains Moravian. Raised until adolescence in Paris, after the death of her Grand-pere and the dissolution of her parents’ marriage, Judith goes to Black Bear to live with her mother’s folks. Due to her dark skin and professed Judaism, much of the community shuns her, but he is inexplicably defended by Joe, a hulking product of childhood abuse and football star—until he suddenly shuns her as well, leaving her vulnerable to attack and assault. In her thirties when her beloved Gramma dies, Judith returns to Black Bear for the first time in many years (with the exception of her mother’s funeral earlier), to discover that the home and acreage have been bequeathed to Joe, whom her Gramma always distrusted. Determined to find an answer, the why of this sudden recent change of heart, Judith begins to turn over metaphorical rocks to peer underneath at the secrets such stones hide. Ms. Grotta effectively portrays the mind-sets of this small Poconos Mountain community, going far beyond the expected “small town-everybody knows everybody’s secrets and business” to delineate the layers of savage racism, indifference and fear of outsiders, cruelty and sadism, the hive-consciousness of mobs, and the ways in which such negatives grind at the individual, producing not joy and light but instead bitterness, resentment, and fear. If we are shaped by our environment, such shaping becomes clear throughout the residents, and former residents, of Black Bear.