Saturday, June 12, 2021

91 - 2021 - Count the Ways; Joyce Maynard

 


TITLE/AUTHOR:   Count the Ways; Joyce Maynard

PUBLISHER:  William Morrow

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021

GENRE: Fiction / Family Life

FORMAT:  eGalley / LENGTH: 462

SOURCE:   Edelweiss

SETTING(s):  New Hampshire (and Massachusetts)

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A beautiful story of an imperfect life: love, marriage, home, children and forgiveness.

BRIEF REVIEW:   Eleanor had never known love, as the only child of alcoholic parents who were married twenty years when she was born.  Her parents were wrapped up in each other and never seemed to want her around. She was sent off to boarding school and it was while she was at school at the age of sixteen that she learns her parents were killed in a car crash returning from a ski weekend in Vermont.   For Eleanor art, as a form of expression, was a way out her loneliness, her early passion turned into a way to earn a living.

With a little money and income from her illustrations and later children's books, she falls in love with a farmhouse with lots of land and even a brook in New Hampshire. She purchased the house complete with furnishings, housewares and tools and so much - it was a house with a history.  She is immediately in love with her home.  A few years later she meets handsome Cam at a craft's fair in Vermont where he was selling his wooden wares, there is instant passion, and before long three children make them a family.  Their Bohemian lifestyle and family makes Eleanor one of the happiest of women in the world.  She even overlooks the fact Cam isn't exactly the most hardworking, helpful or responsible partner but, they have built a life together and the children seem happy and their life is everything she ever wanted.  So when something terrible happens, Eleanor is beside herself and soon life as the family has known it has changed.

Count the Ways is a story that spans decades. Eleanor is a wonderful, fully fleshed character that women who have experienced the trials and tribulations of motherhood and marriage will be able to relate to (at least I did.)  I felt her joys, her disappointments, and her sadness. She experiences possibly more than her share of life's disappointments and difficulties but, she finds a way to cope and keep going.  There are a lot of things that happen in this story and yet most everything is still vivid and etched in my mind. I don't want to say too much, I was happy I went into the memorable story without reading what the book was about beforehand. There was so much nostalgia in this story for me as I was raising my children during the same time period: the music, the movies, the news events and more. Everything about this story felt realistic and I don't think it could have been improved upon.  The author covered it all - life, family and all the detours along the way that sometimes make our lives turn out different than we imagined when we were young.  I felt like I was a close friend of Eleanor and of this family when I turned the final page. I didn't want this one to end. The book is sure to make my faves list for 2021. Highly Recommended.

Thanks go to Edelweiss and William Morrow for allowing me to download this eGalley at no cost in exchange for my unbiased review.  This book releases on July 13, 2021.

RATING:  5/5


MEMORABLE QUOTES:

"This is my radical act, she had told the young Harvard woman. "Raising three human beings, who will go out and change the world."

"For me, being a feminist means manifesting the strength and confidence and tenacity to pursue whatever it is you most want to do with your life. In my case, the goal was having a family. I'm doing that. If I don't get to make art that much at the moment, I can live with it.  Nobody gets everything in life. You have to make compromises.

"Children had to know pain, or how would they ever know what to do when they encountered it?  Trouble would come, no matter what.   The best you could do was to raise your children in such a way that when trouble found them--as it would--they's be able to survive it." (Teach your children well)

"Standing at the kitchen counter, looking out the window, Eleanor could almost feel her heart expand in her chest. Two sensations came to her. Wild happiness at the sight of her three children, terror at the thought of what it would be to lose one of them. If it was possible to love someone any more than this, she could not imagine how."


EPIGRAPH (Ho'oponopono prayer, phrases spoken in any order, for reconciliation and forgiveness.)

I'm sorry.

   I love you.

   Thank you.

   Please forgive me.

33 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lovely story that delves into what makes us happy and what makes a life.

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    1. Exactly, too often we might, at least in our minds, disagree with the actions of another but, unless we've walked in another's shoes, it's best we remain silent.

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  2. What a great review Diane! I may get a copy of this book.

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    1. Thank you Vicki, I am pretty sure you will love this one.

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  3. I've enjoyed a few of her books and I think this sounds good. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. That sounds like a really terrific story.

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  5. Thanks for this terrific review. I have never read Joyce Maynard but I might give her a try after this.

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    1. I didn't want to give spoilers but all that happens (and there are quite a bit of things to make an impact. There were several events and that made an impact on me. How she created such memorable happenings, I dod not know,

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  6. Love that quote about her radical act! :)

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  7. It has been ages since I have read anything by Joyce Maynard. I enjoy her writing style. This sounds like a moving novel, one I would like. I am glad you liked it so much, Diane.

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  8. Hi Diane,
    I'm adding this to my list. I'm putting it on my "Holds" List at the library. Thanks!

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  9. This sounds good, Diane. Even though I've still not read one of Joyce Maynard's novels, I find her personal story fascinating. Her relationship with Salinger when he was in his fifties and she was eighteen just blows my mind.

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    1. Yes, she has an interesting background. I think I've read everything she's written and also loved her, memoir The Best of Us.

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  10. Great review, Diane. I haven't read Joyce Maynard yet, but this sounds like a great place to start.

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    1. JoAnn, I'm surprised you haven't tried this author, I definitely think you'd like her style.

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  11. I read Labor Day by this author and can totally get what you're talking about. That book in particular is about a mother and son relationship and a son's longing for a father figure in his life. Absolutely nostalgic.

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  12. Hi there Diane! Such a lovely review. I've never seen this book around before, but it does sound like an enticing read. I will keep an eye out for it!

    Elza Reads

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    1. It releases here (US) next month, not sure about releases date whare you are but, it was wonderful.

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  13. I'm so glad to see that this was a winner for you. I can't wait to read it. As always, I need to decide on audio or print, but with all those quotes, I may go with print so I can mark my favorites.

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    1. I've never listened to one of her books on audio but, I see that Maynard reads this one so I'd be hesitant. I most often find that authors don't do a good job reading what they wrote - except perhaps Bill Bryson and Trevor Noah (based on my experiences). I'd be curious though as this was such a moving, memorable story that it could feel more personal and perhaps a tad autobiographical as I know she grew up in NH but lives in CA now.

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  14. Maynard has yet to disappoint me. I have this one but will be reading it in a week or two. I love her personal reflections on Facebook too. She is quite a storyteller.

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  15. Oh good Maynard. It sounds like Eleanor has already survived tragedy early in her life ... and then something terrible happens again?? Oh no. I will put my name on the list for it. Glad you liked it.

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    1. I'm guessing at least some of this story is autobiographical. I loved every word. Hope you will try it.

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  16. I came for the beautiful cover, but you convinced me to add it to my list as well :)

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