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Joy for beginners
Bauermeister, Erica.
Adult Fiction BAUERME

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In Bauermeister's sensual second novel, a party for a woman who has beaten breast cancer results in six friends reconnecting, not just to each other but also to parts of themselves they had long neglected. Admittedly an "incongruous group," with each woman at a different point in her life, Kate's friends agree that each "will do one thing in the next year that is scary or difficult." Kate selects tasks for each of her friends; undertaking the tasks will bring heartbreak, joy, and adventure to everyone. Bauermeister's (The School of Essential Ingredients) evocative prose creates a magical world where gray goo becomes "forgiving dough" in an oven and a woman protects herself from loneliness by hiding in an unruly garden. Kate's well-meaning tasks, be they as grand as a trip to Venice or as banal as baking bread, push the friends toward much-needed awakenings. A book designed to both fill you up and make you hungry for life. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Following an 18-month cancer battle, Kate just wants to get back to normal. Still, her six friends decide to throw her a victory party. Kate mentions that her daughter has signed up the two of them for a Grand Canyon raft trip next summer. She is terrified at the prospect, but the others think it's a great challenge for her. Oh, really? Kate responds with a challenge for each of them. And so we begin. In seven chapters, we get to know this mostly Seattle-based cohort: who they are, how they met, and why their perfectly synced tasks-from baking bread to taking a trip to getting a tattoo-tap into their vulnerabilities and strengths and make them women we would all want to know if not actually want to be. It's not just another novel about cancer. VERDICT Bauermeister (The School of Essential Ingredients) has created a cast of textured and nuanced characters who individually and as a group speak to what makes women interesting and enigmatic. Her prose is velvety smooth, revealing life at once mournful and auspicious. Joyful, indeed. Highly recommended for those fascinated by fresh fiction. [National tour; online reading group guide; see Prepub Alert, 11/29/10. For another novel exploring similar themes, see also Sarah Strohmeyer's Kindred Spirits, reviewed on p. 94.-Ed.]-Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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