Review: The Underside of Joy

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This month I’m participating in the BlogHer Book Club and the selection was The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson.  As I’ve shared a few times on here I am an avid reader.  That being said this is not the type of book I normally pick up.  I like sticking to old favorites like historical fiction, world literature and some political novels.  There was however something about the preview of this book that made me intrigued.  Of course initially I’m sure it was the mother angle.  Second, the loss of a love.  Though I can’t fathom losing someone so close to me (like a husband) the emotional connection Ella is described as having with Joe (the two main characters) really hit home. So when the advance copy of the book showed up I was excited to dig in and see where the story took me.

In one evening I read half of the book, promising myself just one more chapter but as each unfolded I kept making and breaking the promise.  Then I got to the hard part.  I don’t want to give it away because I want you to read this book, but it involves the custody of Joe’s two children.  I put it down.  I left it on my nightstand for weeks.  I don’t think I wanted to wade into those waters.  However, I had to finish it so I dutifully picked it back up this weekend and fought my way through the rest.  It was emotionally crushing to me and I cried through many pages.  When I was finished with the book there was still a heavy weight on my chest.

I can say aside from the apparent questions that are raised in this book there was another theme that stuck out to me.  Having married into another culture and living in a certain way I felt that many of the struggles Ella goes through can be correlated to raising children between two cultures. Both parents have a strong sense of the proper protocol for child-rearing and also have bias’ to the right and wrong things that should be done.  Fighting, quarreling, and even removal of the child from the “harmful” practices of the other culture can occur.  Then, more often than not something happens to trigger a wake-up call.  Both parties come to realize that really no one is right and the only one losing in the bickering is the child.  They overcome the prejudices and bias to make a better choice that will have a positive affect on their child.

I don’t want to give away the plot or the entire story because this really is a good read. If you’re a mom (or just a person with feelings!), if you like books set in fantastic places, or you’re a foodie like me, you’ll find something in this book that you can relate to.  Pick up this book – you can get it for your Kindle right now!  Then come and join me on the BlogHer discussion board where there will be great discussions going all month about this book.  You can also find an excerpt from the book and an interview with the author here.  I’ll see you there (remember my handle is marocmama – watch for me!)

I was compensated for participating in this review and received and advance copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are all my own.  As always I strive to be open and transparent with my readers and do not endorse books or products I do not believe in. 

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Amanda MouttakiReview: The Underside of Joy

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