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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise…
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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

by Cherise Wolas

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6011197,694 (4.2)3

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
It's not often that halfway through a book I know I will be giving it 5 stars no matter where it goes or how the story ends.

It's even less often I will run straight to the Internet to follow the author on social media everywhere.

This book and this author are just that good.

Don't let the 544-page count fool you. The pages breeze along and the writing feels effortless. It is one of those books that draws you in and makes you feel as though you are a part of the story. Joan Asby is a living, breathing character and I didn't want my time with her to end. Anyone who appreciates character-driven fiction and well-crafted sentences needs to read this book! I'm usually put off by stories within stories, or anything like a dream sequence that takes away from the main narrative, but I even enjoyed those parts – a lot.

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review and I've got to say that this is what I love most about the Goodreads 'first reads' program. Based solely on book description alone I might not have otherwise picked this one up, at least not right away. While the synopsis is fitting, Joan Ashby is just So. Much. More.

...Which brings me to the thing I dislike about the first reads program: having to try to write a review of such a fantastic book. Other readers may be able to describe with more clarity and insight than I can, so I will leave the rehash to those readers. Just know that it is an amazing journey that you don't want to miss! ( )
  conniemcmartin | Oct 23, 2017 |
I enjoyed reading it but it took me awhile. I am glad to see i am not the only one distracted by the inclusion of her short stories into the 530 plus pages. Several times she refers to her resistance to editing and this tedious at times story line would have benefited with a heavy edit. I get the inclusion was to flesh out her feelings and add depth but it was not needed. I was totally enchanted with Joan. Especially after reading the yellow envelope with the self absorbed protagonist. Joan, with her abundance of talent puts her ambition on hold for her family only to feel cheated and misunderstood and unappreciated. Isn't this what most women feel during a kid life crisis? Despite it losing its way several times an excellent read. Three stars because of the unnecessary short stories which bogged it down. ( )
  Alphawoman | Oct 18, 2017 |
After reading reviews of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas, I was so excited to get an ARC. Once I started reading that excitement turned to disappointment. I found it verbose and agonizing slow. It actually took me three tries before I could finish.

Joan Ashby is a young and up-and-coming writer. Her first two books, collections of short stories, have already secured her a place in the literary world. She is working on her first novel and is excepting to become the next great American novelist. She has sworn off relationships, love and marriage as well as vowed to never have children in order to focus on her writing. That is until she meets Martin and falls in love. She discovers that marriage and writing do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Snug in this new knowledge Joan sets out to begin the novel. Then Joan discovers she is pregnant. Martin is over the moon, which shocks Joan since he agreed to the no children rule. Despite her vow, she embraces the life of a mother and nurturers two boys to adulthood all the while secretly writing her first novel. Just as she finishes the novel a tragedy strikes her youngest and she once again puts aside her writing for her child. Just as things finally settle down Joan discovers the ultimate betrayal.

Some final thoughts, the book was very well written and that was the saving grace for me. I am actually envious of Wolas writing skills. Unfortunately, that alone was not enough to save it from being laborious. The stories within the story were a big distraction for me and just added to the problem. I think the writer intended those to be insightful and I found them tedious and finally ended up skipping over them. I know I am in the minority here, but that does not change the fact that it was just not my cup of tea.

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

For more of my reviews, and author interviews, see my blog at www.thespineview.com. ( )
  purpledog | Sep 30, 2017 |
This irresistible novel, also containing short stories, weighing in at 531 pages, is as meta as they come. Renowned young short story author Joan Ashby surrenders her principles and her urge to write her first novel when she marries brilliant eye surgeon Martin and devotes years to him and to their two sons. Asphyxiated between resentment and love, she continues to create what she considers to be minor stories, but does not send them to her publisher. Elder son Daniel writes 99 stories about a squirrel and reads The Painted Bird and The Happy Hooker before he is ten years old. Second son Eric drops out of middle school and starts his own computer software business at age 13. These achievements are not believable but the reader hangs in there because the writing is really, really brilliant, as told in the voices of Joan and Daniel, and because she finally gets started on her novel. But when he reaches his early twenties, Daniel, cowed by the overwhelming success of his parents and brother, betrays his mother in a horribly brutal manner.

In the latter half of the novel, Joan flees to an idealized India, where she writes letters to the Dalai Lama and awaits his assent to an audience. This is an also unbelievable India, populated without any poor people, where everyone apparently exists for the sole purpose of leading Joan to the light.

There are two main problems here: the transparency of the plot line, none of which could occur IRL; and the inclusion of several of Joan's short stories, which would have been better served by the author as a collection outside the novel. However, the writing is so smooth and compelling that I can still recommend it as a singular and memorable experience.

Quotes: "It is a long-borne burden, knowing what you lack, and I knew what I lacked."

"They mirrored my life: strong out of the gate, stuck in the middle, failing to find an exit."

"She thinks destiny will always win out over second-best, that it's an impossible burden on those left behind." ( )
  froxgirl | Sep 10, 2017 |
A hefty old school novel with a lot of depth to it. Jean wants to be an author and early in her life she is. Then she gets married to a man who promises that they will not have children which will cut into her career. Two sons come and for the most part the writing stops. The majority of the novel is about her troubled relationships with her kids and ultimately her "resurrection" as a woman later in life. This is an epic novel with four well developed and complex characters. I really liked it. ( )
  muddyboy | Sep 9, 2017 |
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Epigraph
If I told you the whole story it would never end...
What's happened to me has happened to a thousand woman.
---Ferderico Garcia Lorca,
Dona Rosita la Soltera: The Language of Flowers
It does not matter what you choose---be a farmer, businessman, artist, what you will---but know your aim, and live for that one thing.  We have only one life.  The secret of success is concentration; wherever there has been a great life, or a great work, that has gone before.  Taste everything a little, look at everything a little; but live for one thing.  Anything is possible to a [woman] who knows [her] end and moves straight for it, and it alone.  I will show you what I mean.

If she has made blunders in the past, if she has weighted herself with a burden which she must bear to the end, she must but bear the burden bravely, and labor on...If she does all this,---if she waits patiently, if she is never cast down, never despairs, never forgets her end, moves straight towards it, bending men and things most unlikely to her purpose,---she must succeed at last.
---Olive Schreiner,
Story of an African Farm
Dedication
For Peshka Rudolph,
who would have been a writer had the world been different,
who told me I was one, when I was just a child.
And for Michael,
everything else.
First words
Joan Ashby is one of our most astonishing writers, a master of words whose profound characters slip free of the page and enter the world, breathing and enduring, finding pain or solace, even happiness, seeking a way forward, or a way out, their lives keenly and deeply observed.
Joan Ashby was frank with Martin Manning right from the start: "There are two things you should know about me. Number one: My writing will always come first. Number two: Children are not on the table. I possess no need, primal or otherwise, for motherhood."
Quotations
"...A story requires two things: a great story to tell and the bravery to tell it," Joan said.
Joan thinks then that writers have infinite choices and mothers nearly no choice at all.
And then I asked myself the antecedent question--didn't I want to be loved? I believed that I did, but I did not grasp that to attain such, meant first finding a version of myself that I could love.
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