Monday, May 9, 2011

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister

Joy for Beginners
Author: Erica Bauermeister
Publisher: Putnam
Expected Publication: June 9, 2011
Hardcover: 288 pages
Source: won from GoodReads

My Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from 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. 

My Thoughts: When I first read the synopsis of this book, it sounded like something I would really enjoy. I liked the premise, the thought of character development and growth; however, I found little of that in this book. I kept on trying to like this book, but it just didn't work for me. I think that Erica Bauermeister had a really good plot idea, but the book was too short for it to ever develop. Seven women's stories are told in this book, each getting their own chapter to highlight their adventure that Kate chose for them. Each woman had the possibility of a unique story, but they never grew. You got a little back story on each woman, her task, and then her completion of the task. Every woman's task tied up nicely, with them finding a man/gaining insight/overcoming a fear. It was too formulaic and predictable.

My other problem with this book was the writing. I felt that the writing wasn't organic, that Bauermeister was trying too hard to express the character's feelings. It was too decadent at times, the words and language trying to convey too much. Also, the chapters were a bit too choppy for my liking. Some paragraphs were only three or four sentences, and then break away to a new thought. It wasn't something I really ever connected to because the writing was too distracting for me. 

I really wanted to enjoy this book, and while the premise of the book still appeals to me, it's not something that I will be reading again.


  1. Thanks for the honest review. Your review is very helpful.

  2. For some reason it bothers me more when books don't live up to my expectations if they have compelling titles (like this one has).