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Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
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Joy for Beginners

by Erica Bauermeister

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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Finished reading this last night, I fell in love with the story and characters. Kate survived her bout with cancer, and to celebrate she meets up with 6 of her close friends. It was during then that Kate's friends dares her to go white water rafting, something she's terrified to do. Kate accepts the challenge but only if each of her friends agrees to do a challenge of their own that Kate assigns. As each woman takes on their dare, they discover something about themselves and the special friendship that they all share. The book is divided among the 7 characters, their stories told from their own pov. Beautifully written, I saw myself in each of these women, the story resonates with me long after I read the last chapter. Joy for Beginners is definitely one of my favorite novels this year. ( )
  VavaViolet | Sep 13, 2017 |
Loved it. I have a sister who survived breast cancer and boy it is a life changer. Best line: You can be broken, or broken open. The choice is yours. ( )
  MicheleMG | Feb 1, 2017 |
I really liked the idea of this book. It was a quick read, but very light and fluffy. No characters really fleshed out; just felt like a very cliched piece written for a creative writing class. But for a sitcom of a book, it was uplifting and pleasant. ( )
  penguinasana | Nov 21, 2016 |
I listened to this book during my commute to and from work. It was like listening to a Lifetime movie. ( )
  ValNewHope | Mar 5, 2016 |
For many this would be classified as chick-lit because it involves a story focused primarily on the friendship between a group of women that make a promise to one of the other characters to meet certain tasks that she places before them, due to deciding to go white water rafting after she beats cancer. For me this wasn't chick-lit, but human-lit. It weaved stories of hopes, dreams, loves, and loss all within its mere 260-some pages.

Bauermeister alternates the chapters by being the complete story of one of the women in the group of friends. We are told somewhere within the chapter their task that was presented to them and we discover throughout why this task was such a burden to accomplish for them to that particular date and why Kate, the cancer survivor, has chosen it for them. In some cases it seems rather mundane the tasks given, but when you understand that in life the simple things are sometimes the hardest for us to accomplish it rings so much truer than if they were being told to do bigger tasks. Sometimes with the stories bigger tasks are revealed to the character and it changes their lives. That is why I call this human-lit because it is about how we must take these small moments/small steps sometimes to see what our full potential is. If you never take that first step you never know what you are capable of and sometimes you will falter, but most of the time it results in learning that would never have occurred otherwise.

Bauermeister isn't the next Hemingway by any means, but who needs every single story they read to be a classic, sometimes a lighter story is more desirable. Sometimes a simpler read can touch you in more ways than a classic can ever do. "Joy for Beginners" is that, a simpler read, that will teach you a lesson about life, if you allow it to and do not get caught up on other things, like macho pride for you male readers out there. So nothing technically blows up in this story and there is little to no violence within its pages, but this book is about humanity and the lives that are touched by one singular event. How friendships grow organically and how people can do big things if they just try. Oh we may not be the best all the time, but we humans can do such beautiful and wonderful things! This book reminded me of that! ( )
  SoulFlower1981 | Jan 20, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erica Bauermeisterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -Mary Oliver
Dedication
For Gloria and Marjorie
First words
Life came back slowly, Kate realized.
Quotations
Sometimes, Daria thought, that group of women was more trouble than it was worth. She'd only said yes to the do-one-thing-that-scares-you pact because she thought she would get something exciting like bungee jumping or sex on a houseboat. She should have known better. … “Learn how to make bread” - that was classic Kate.
She wondered, sometimes, though, what she would have done without the women who entered her life during that time. Marion, Dan's boss's wife, setting up a baby-holding circle and introducing her to Kate and Caroline and Daria. And then there was Hadley, Sara's next-door neighbor, who had walked across the lawn and into Sara's living room...
When Sean died she understood for the first time how completely human beings were dependent upon a suspension of disbelief in order simply to move forward through their days. If that suspension faltered, if you truly understood, even if only for a moment, that human beings were made of bones and blood that broke and sprayed with the slightest provocation, and that provocation was everywhere – in street curbs and dangling tree limbs, bicycles and pencils – well, you would fly for the first next in a tree, run flat-out for the first burrow you saw.
Marion wondered at the time about Kate's ability to figure out what each of the women in the group seemed to need. They had all spent so much time taking care of Kate – but maybe, Marion had thought as she observed Kate handing out the challenges, the watching hadn't been all one way.
She had never felt the simple urgency of time more than in the past few years, as her ovaries creaked into silence and she had gone for months and then a year without the gush of blood or the deep purple sadness that came with it. She had understood that something was ceasing within her and, more important, would never start again. The cold reality of it had struck her, as if, perched on the crest of a roller coaster, the rest of the ride was suddenly, irreversibly clear. On the way up, the vista had been infinite, the time to look about sometimes agonizingly long; now there was only the certain and dispassionate knowledge that there was one set of rails on which to travel, the ending immutable and about to begin. It didn't matter that the rest of the trip might take twenty, even thirty years to complete; the angle of the ride had changed.
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Six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer, where she strikes a bargain with them: to celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her, but if she does, each of them will also do one thing that they'd find difficult.… (more)

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