Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Underside of Joy

Being a mother,
I have a really hard time reading stories
involving tragic events and children.

So, I might not have picked up this book to read on my own.

But, because I'm part of the BlogHer Book Club,
I signed up to read and review The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson.
And I really enjoyed it.

OK, perhaps "enjoyed" is not quite the right word I'm looking for.

I was swept up in the emotions and the worry.
I felt the pain and anxiety.

I thought the author took a difficult situation and really did well exploring the complexity of the emotions.

The basic storyline is about a man who died, leaving behind his newish wife and two kids from his previous marriage. And, then his first wife enters the picture, and the women began a battle over the children. It pulls at your heart strings.

There is poetry in Sere Prince Halverson's words though.
It was so beautiful to read.

Even when I cried, I appreciated the beauty of the syntax.

Here's one of my favorite descriptions of the trees on their land:

I looked to the trees. They always calmed me. The redwood grove stood like our own appointed guards; their trunks rose straight and solid from the land, their branches so large, we had seen wild turkeys perched in them. 

She continues with:

Our oaks were more like wise, arthritic grandparents. If you pulled up a chair and sat awhile and listened, you usually learned something useful. The fruit trees were like our cherished aunties, wearing frilly dresses and an overabundance of perfume in the spring, then by summer, indulging us with their generosity, dropping apples and pears and apricots by the bucketfuls..." 

The setting, the history, the complex emotions.
This is a book you don't just read...you experience.

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own. 

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