Joy For Beginners
By Erica Bauermeister
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425247426, 288pp.)
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
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A Library Journal Best Book of the Year
What would you do with a second chance at life?
Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate celebrates by gathering with six close friends. At an intimate outdoor dinner on a warm September evening, the women challenge Kate to start her new lease on life by going white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon with her daughter. But Kate is reluctant to take the risk.
That is, until her friend Marion proposes a pact: if Kate will face the rapids, each woman will do one thing in the next year that scares her. Kate agrees, with one provision – she didn't get to choose her challenge, so she gets to choose theirs. Whether it's learning to let go of the past or getting a tattoo, each woman's story interweaves with the others, forming a seamless portrait of the power of female friendships. From the author of The School of Essential Ingredients comes a beautifully crafted novel about daring to experience true joy, starting one small step at a time.
Erica Bauermeister is the author of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients. She lives in Seattle with her family.
- “The second she touched the dough it seemed to latch on to her skin, clinging to her hands, greedy and thick, webbing her fingers. She tried to pull back, but the dough came with her, stretching off the counter, as unyielding as chewing gum. Clay was nothing like this.” Daria tells Henry that she works with clay because she likes to play in the mud. Later we learn that her mother loved to bake bread. Why has Daria embraced working with clay, yet maintained such a tenuous relationship with bread-baking? Aside from its associations with her mother, what is it about bread that makes Daria nervous?
“A joy to read. Bauermeister gives us characters who revel in the best of what life has to offer—loving relationships, fine food, good books, and travel—and she writes with keen observance and wry wit…Readers will be inspired to leap into their own lives with renewed gusto.”- Stephanie Kallos, author of Sing Them Home “Joy for Beginners takes us on the emotional journeys of seven women seeking to transform their lives, and proves that sometimes what we really need to inspire us to change is a good, firm shove. Erica Bauermeister’s prose is evocative and compelling.” –Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
“Bauermeister has created a cast of textured and nuanced characters who individually and as a group speak to what makes women interesting and enigmatic. Her prose is velvety smooth, revealing life at once mournful and auspicious. Joyful, indeed.”–Library Journal (starred review) “How transporting to live, even briefly, inside these women’s lives.”—Laura Hansen, Bookin’ it “Sensual…evocative…A book designed to fill you up and make you hungry for life.”—Publishers Weekly “Joy for Beginners is ultimately a celebration of life; a literary confirmation of the power of friendship.”—Carol Cassella, author of Oxygen