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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Genre: Fiction
Hardback 288 pages
Book Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating: 85/100

From the tour website:

At an intimate, festive dinner party in Seattle, six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate’s recovery from cancer. Wineglass in hand, Kate strikes a bargain with them. To celebrate her new lease on life, she’ll do the one thing that’s always terrified her: white-water rafting. But if she goes, all of them will also do something they always swore they’d never do—and Kate is going to choose their adventures.

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books that reminds you why women are so special.  We are insightful and brutally honest with our closest friends, however when it comes to doing that with ourselves, we fall short.  We need our friends, I mean our real friends, to sometimes step in with suggestions or tough love to put us back on our path.  To make ourselves better and happy.  The people we were meant to be.

The main thread of this story is Kate who has survived cancer.  Through her journey Kate has learned that life should not be taken for granted.  Face your fears because they are really not that bad in the grand scheme of things; not after you fight cancer.  Live a joyful life as it were.  Kate decides to challenge each of her friends with and the majority of the book are the stories of these friends and the challenges they must perform or overcome. 

Although these challenges are specific, I think the themes they embody are issues that women generally experience, such as putting everyone and everything before themselves, denying ourselves something that will make us happy, living with grief because we think we have to.  Sure, men deal with these issues also, however I think women tend to silently suffer or carry on as it were, like it's a normal part of life.  I'm not saying we need to be selfish and deny our family dinner, but we are allowed to take a few moments for ourselves every now and then and not feel guilty about it. 

Basically this is what I took away from this story.  I may be totally off base, but at it's core Joy for Beginners is about living your life and having joy in it, whatever that may mean.  Women need to be reminded to live; and men too.  I'm not sexist!  :-)

For more information about the Erica Bauermeister, please visit her website:
For more perspectives of this book, please stop by the tour homepage.

For discussion questions for your book club:

If you would like to read an excerpt:


And as if that still isn't enough, I also have a giveawy for one copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher.

Open to residents of U.S. and Canada only.
To enter, please leave me a comment with a valid email address.
Deadline for entry is midnight, Friday, June 24th, 2011.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on the tour and sending me an ARC.