Please join Erica Bauermeister, author of Joy For Beginners, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

In Joy For Beginners, the main character, Kate, meets up with friends after recovering from cancer and finds she is in need of an adventure. Kate and her friends – Caroline, Marion and Daria (sisters), Sara, Ava and Hadley – each tell their own perspective throughout the book. From these separate chapters, the reader gets a glimpse into the lives of the women. They all agree to go on a white water rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, and the book describes the fears and joys they discover on the trip.

Each woman’s story is poignantly told. There are quite a few heartfelt moments as they share their joys and sorrows without apology for the raw feelings the emotions bring up. The courage of the women never wavers, as they manage their houses and families, break off on their own to explore a vacation in a foreign land or allow new expressions to flow through their veins. The women push past their collective fears to live their lives in a full and robust way, including the famous rafting trip, which is described in detail near the last third of Joy For Beginners.

By the end, Kate comes to terms with her feelings over her past illness and with accepting her body after the cancer. As she shows others her scars, she allows the fears to leave her and a new acceptance to take the place of pain and fear. I recommend Joy For Beginners to anyone interested in survivor stories and stories of women who can find courage after an illness.

Rating: 5/5

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

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Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Putnam Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.