This Is How It Begins: A Novel

This Is How It Begins: A Novel

by Joan Dempsey


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631523083
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 399
Sales rank: 294,993
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

New England native Joan Dempsey received an MFA and teaching certificate in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her writing has been published in The Adirondack Review, Alligator Juniper, Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora , and Plenitude Magazine , and aired on National Public Radio. Dempsey was the recipient of a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation for her work on This Is How It Begins. She lives in Maine with her partner and their family of animals. Find her online at

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This Is How It Begins: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
VickieB More than 1 year ago
I really lived with the characters in this book while I was reading it and for quite a while afterward.. The writing is impeccable. Perhaps more important, the generosity of spirit made me able to understand a position I totally disagree with. Thank you, Joan Dempsey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot is well-imagined and intelligent, and the scenes made me feel like I was there, with the descriptions and character interactions so seamless that I was deeply drawn in. And the ending pulls the premise of the story together so well. As I read those last words, I could hear myself thinking, "yes, yes, this is how it begins. We think it's innocuous just this one time, but before we know it, the slippage is there, the incidents are mounting, and the slope is getting steeper." I hope the readership of this book gains steam and that it gets the attention it deserves.
teachlz More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed and was captivated and intrigued by “This is How it Begins ” by Joan Dempsey. The genres for this Novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. Kudos to Joan Dempsey for weaving different layers into this story. There are two separate storylines. According to the blurb,” Compulsively readable, This Is How It Begins is a timely novel about free speech, the importance of empathy, and the bitter consequences of long kept secrets.” The author describes the characters of the story as complicated and complex. This is possibly due to the political agenda and climate in this story. The year is 2009, and a main character , Ludka Zeilonka, an 85 year old art professor gets involved in the political upset when her grandson Tommy, a gay teacher is fired. Both Ludka’s husband and son have been active in politics, and Tommy is supported by his father’s liberal support of gay rights, and also is against firing for any kind of discrimination. Tommy is only on of several gay teachers fired. There is a Christian Right wing group that is saying it believes that Tommy has been depriving Christian believing children from learning. Radio-host Warren Meck has political aspirations and believes that his Catholic children are being deprived of the proper learning in school. Unfortunately there are riots and violence, and Warren Mack prefers using words. Ludka has the sickening feeling of remembering during World War Two when the Nazis were oppressive. This reminds her of that. Only then Ludka had many dark secrets. One was that she rescued children before the Nazis got to them. Also Ludka had a part in trying to save the Polish Jewish people’s art that was being taken by the Nazis. As Ludka thinks about what is happening to her grandson, someone from her past threatens her. I appreciate that the author brings up topics such as discrimination, , gay rights, minority rights, bias, bullying, violence, betrayal, and secrets and how harmful they are. The author also discusses honesty, communicating, compromising, empathy, love, hope, family friends and community. I would highly recommend this novel to those who appreciate Historical Fiction. I received an Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.