Synopses & Reviews
Every five years my mother had her fortune read by Lulu Cho, owner of the Golden Lotus Massage Club for Men. Now it was my turn. And Lulu predicted one hurricane of a future for me!
Judith Soo Jin Raphaels childhood was shaped by her hardworking immigrant mother, her father who left them, and her struggles to fit in as a half-Korean, half-Jewish kid in a tough urban neighborhood. But music lessons gave her a purpose and passion. Now, as Judiths fiftieth birthday nears, she has rewarding work as a cellist with the Maryland Philharmonic, an enthusiastic if uncommitted lover, and a quirky but close relationship with her mother.
Then chaos strikes: Judiths first love, who dumped her decades ago, returns to dazzle her with his golden pedigree and brilliant career. Her long-absent father arrives out of the blue with a snazzy car and a con mans patter, turning her mother into a love-struck flirt whom Judith barely recognizes. All this while her mentor at the orchestra falls seriously ill. No wonder Judith develops a paralyzing case of stage fright.
Judith finds herself feelingand sometimes actingslightly unhinged, but shes convinced that happiness will arrive any day now. Shes just got to hold on tight during this midlife shake-up...and claim the prize that life surely has in store for her.
CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED
Moving, touching, wonderfully written, inspiring to read. -Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
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.
Shimmering with warmth, wit, and insight, Joy for Beginners is a celebration of life: unexpected, lyrical, and deeply satisfying.
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.
About the Author
In 1981, Toby Devens published a humorous collection of poetry that was excerpted in McCalls and Readers Digest. She has held jobs in publishing and public relations, has led writing workshops, and is interested in medicine and travel. She has her own blog: www.midlifepassions.com and is the author of My Favorite Midlife Crisis, Yet.