Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
After beating breast cancer Kate invites 5 of her closest friends over for a celebratory dinner. While there they discover that Kate's daughter wants the two of them to go white-water rafting together. All of her friends insist that she must do it, and she agrees with the caveat the each must do something that scares them. Not only that, but since they chose rafting for Kate, she gets to choose each of their adventures.
In a way the book reads like a short story collection, each chapter is one of the women conquering their goals. In a way each could stand on their own, but taken together the overall journey makes a greater impact. It's so interesting to discover what each one must do, but even more intriguing are the reasons behind each one. Some of them seem an obvious choice like getting a tattoo, but others like baking bread, are a bit unexpected.
Each tale starts from the beginning of the storytellers journey, which means we live through the same time frame over and over again. Because it doesn't jump back and forth between stories, I was never sure how to match the stories up together. In some ways it might have been nice to have a clearer master timeline in my mind so there would be less confusion, but I think the emotional impact of each character meeting her goal throughout the book means more than if all 6 were completed in the books last few pages.
It is a quick read, and while I wouldn't call it light, and I do think it's a great summer book to read by the side of the pool.
Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not required to write a positive review. Nor was a review required. All opinions expressed are my own.
6 hours ago