Synopses & Reviews
A sizzling, smart, and utterly engaging novel about sex, love, folklore, and family history from the author of Redemption Song
and The Haunting of Hip Hop
Told from wisdom's perspective, Jim and Louella's Homemade Heartfix Remedy knocks down fear and shame with truth so that love will be manifested. With help from the deceased matriarchs in her life - her mother, Aunt T, and Grandma Sadie, Louella heals her marriage to Jim with one basic recipe for love. After resurrecting their love lost in between twenty-six years of marriage, Jim and Louella Johnson, suddenly begin to tap into their intuitive powers, uncontrollably reading the minds and seeing the souls of their community members and neighbors, and become overwhelmed with the desire to spread their love. Jim and Louella's love becomes so infectious that many others in their southern town of Savannah crave it. Despite the heartache that so much knowledge can bring, they eagerly share their gifts and manage to awaken a loving heart in the mean town librarian, bring forgiveness to Mr. Blue, a child abuser who was abused himself as a child, teach self-love to a former prostitute, and pave the way down love's highway for so many others. Jim and Louella illuminate so much love throughout their small town that people flock to Jim and Louella's door for more lessons on loving.
Through it all, readers will see how marvelously, Berry creates the rekindled love between an older couple, and uses it as a springboard by which we watch them become catalysts for the healing of hearts in their southern town. Come aboard and take an adventurous ride of truth with love as the destination.
About the Author
Bertice Berry, Ph.D., is an inspirational speaker, sociologist, former stand-up comedian, and the host of an eponymous talk show that debuted on the Hallmark Channel in spring 2002. She is the author of four works of nonfiction and of the novels Redemption Song and The Haunting of Hip Hop. She lives in El Cajon, California.
Reading Group Guide
The questions that follow are designed to enhance your discussion and personal reading of Jim & Louella’s Homemade Heart-Fix Remedy. We hope these questions will also lead you to further topics of inquiry about this rich tale and vibrant characters.
1. Louella’s first encounter with her extraordinary ability to see and hear the thoughts of those around her is at the farmer’s market with Mr. Stan and Mr. Blue. Louella approaches the two men and their issues very differently. Is her insight into how to approach the two men part of her ability to see into their minds or did she possess this kind of sensitivity before getting the “gift”?
2. Early in the book, Jim observes that their ability to read minds and solve problems is “surely as good as it is hard.” What are some of the positive aspects for Jim and Louella? What are some of the negatives?
3. Jim and Louella have very different yet complementary personalities. How does Jim handle the onset of the “gift”? How does Jim’s approach to the people seeking his advice differ from Louella’s approach?
4. Why do Jim and Louella go so far out of their way to help Mae? Is it because of her past? Is it because she has never known real love, just a series of meaningless sexual encounters? Is it her ailing health?
5. Louella is at once proud of and perplexed by her son Neal/Naim. In what ways does Louella admire him? How do his beliefs reflect her own? How do they differ?
6. What does the return of Jim’s brother John mean to Jim and Louella? What is the significance of his character? How does the story change when he comes into the picture?
7. How do Jim and Louella’s neighbors’ problems in love differ? How are they similar? What common threads run through some of the stories?
8. Of the people who seek out Jim and Louella’s help, who are the most sympathetic characters and why? Who are the least sympathetic?
9. What role does forgiveness play in the lives of all the characters including Jim and Louella?
10. How much of what happens to Jim and Louella and their friends is predestined and how much do they control through their own actions? How much of your life do you think is predetermined?