Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

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My thoughts:

Living paycheck to paycheck comes with ongoing pressures and struggles, but in Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond introduces us to the poorest of the poor, people lacking basic needs, food, clothing and shelter.  The downward spiral is devastating and our system offers little hope for getting ahead.  Simply stated, when tenants miss work to take care of their children, their pay is docked, and then, unable to afford food and ultimately rent, they get evicted.  From homeless shelters to other dilapidated hovels or trailor parks where the landlord refuses to put money into repairs because tenants are not paying the rent, these people, highest percentage of them black women with children, are constantly struggling as they are thrown out on the streets.

In order to write this book, the author immersed himself into the life of poverty as a tenant in Milwaukee where he studies the trends eviction play in our society. There are many contributors, government subsidized housing, food stamps, shelters, employement opportunities, education, drugs and crime, that all play a part in the successes and failures of the evicted.

When speaking about the tenants:

“Rent was their biggest expense by far, and they wanted a decent and functional home in return.  They wanted things to be fixed when they broke.  But if Sherenna wasn’t going to repair her own property, neither were they.  The house failed the tenants and the tenants failed the house.”

In regard to the nearly hopeless situation for moms with kids searching for housing:

“In 1980…1 in 4 rental units was available to families without restrictions (extra deposit and monthly surcharges per child).  Eight years later Congress finally outlawed housing discrimination against children and families, but…the practice remained widespread.  Families with children were turned away in as many as 7 in 10 housing searches.”

Bravo to Matthew Desmond for tackling this topic with tons of research.  This extraordinarily brutal and honest book is winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and is a must read in order to understand eviction, the toll it takes on tenants in the downward spiral of poverty, the landlords’ exploitation of the poor, and an economic system that is in desperate need of repair.  Desperation leads to drastic measures for both renters and landlords and our system has not done enough to provide realistic options to protect and nurture human life.

 

Summary as seen on Goodreads:
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

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About the author:

Matthew Desmond is an American sociologist and urban ethnographer. He is currently the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and Co-Director of the Justice and Poverty Project. The author of several books, including the award-winning book, On the Fireline, and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Desmond was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” grant in 2015 for his work on poverty in America.

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The Salt House: A Novel by Lisa Duffy

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My Review:

In The Salt House, author Lisa Duffy masterfully takes us deep into the layers of emotions of the Kelly family as they work through feelings of guilt, responsibility and pain following a tragic family loss.  After losing their baby, Hope is paralyzed with her grief; she is having trouble moving forward and is unable to return to work.  She refuses to scatter the ashes and has been reluctant to continue with the renovation of The Salt House, the home the family loves and plans to move in to.  Jack, a lobster fisherman, throws himself into his work on the boat, is rarely home with the family and is neglecting his health.  Overcome with guilt, combined with  the sorrow of losing a child, and the stress it put on the marriage, the Kelly family’s world starts to cave in.  The daughters, Jess and Kat, are living and dealing with the loss of their baby sister in their own ways while baring the brunt of parental stress and disagreements at the same time they are trying to grow up.  So well written from each person’s point of view, the characters dig deep to expose their pain, past and current, and their journey together sets an example for how families can rescue each other from debilitating hurt and grief by facing it head on with truth and honesty.  I felt emotionally overwhelmed and shed many tears while I read The Salt House, a sign of a great book that really touched me, and when it ended I had feelings of renewal and hope for the future.  At under 300 pages, this is a great book to pick up this summer…I loved it!

As seen in Goodreads:

In the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, this gorgeously written, heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut set during a Maine summer traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy.

In the coastal town of Alden, Maine, Hope and Jack Kelly have settled down to a life of wedded bliss. They have a beautiful family, a growing lobster business, and the Salt House—the dilapidated oceanfront cottage they’re renovating into their dream home. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter doesn’t wake up from her afternoon nap, taking her last breath without making a sound.

A year later, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Hope spends hours staring at her daughter’s ashes, unable to let go. Jack works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid his crumbling marriage. Their daughters, Jess and Kat, struggle to come to terms with the loss of their younger sister while watching their parents fall apart.

When Jack’s old rival, Ryland Finn, threatens his fishing territory, he ignites emotions that propel the Kelly family toward circumstances that will either tear them apart—or be the path to their family’s future.

Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope.

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Lisa Duffy is the author of The Salt House, her debut novel. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and can be found in The Drum Literary Magazine, So to Speak, Breakwater Review, Let the Bucket Down, and elsewhere. Lisa is the founding editor of ROAR, a literary magazine supporting women in the arts. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children.

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The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn

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My Review:

Suburban young couple, Lucy and Owen are looking to feel energized and happy in their relationship, to bring back the butterflies, so their exciting but not so well thought out solution was The Arrangement.  An open marriage for six months.  Break all the rules. Do what you want. With whomever you want. No discussing anything with each other.  They wrote out a handful of rules and agreed to follow them.  This could be just what they need, right?

The freedom is refreshing.  No trapped feeling.  A reason to get dolled up.  A feeling of less responsibility.  So Owen gets caught up with Izzy, a crazy woman who’s husband cheated on her.  She regularly seduces him and then asks him to do annoying chores around her house and although the sex is good, he starts to wish he never agreed to get involved with her or the Arrangement.  On the other hand, Lucy finds Ben, a nice guy who she schedules a weekly rendezvous with and starts to develop feelings for.  Thinking of Ben when she is not with him is nice, positive, and happy…the feeling of falling for someone. Then when she can’t make it to see him one day she has this burning desire to talk on the phone and realizes this may not just be a sexual fling.  With a child in the mix and the lies told to cover up what was agreed to be kept secret, Lucy and Owen’s relationship complications multiply, and here you have the experiment called The Arrangement!

Sarah Dunn gives us an extremely humorous and well written tale of a typical young couple in the suburbs trying to reignite the lost passion with an unconventional Arrangement… a little sexy, a little daring, a little disastrous and a hilarious and accurate depiction of marriage, family and community.   So enjoyable and quick – you should not miss it!

As seen in Goodreaads:

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”

 

Sarah Dunn (born 1970) is an American author and television writer. She is known for her novels ‘The Big Love’ and ‘Secrets to Happiness’, and the ABC sitcom American Housewife, starring Katy Mixon.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Dunn spent several years working service jobs in Philadelphia, PA, the experience of which informed her first book, ‘The Official Slacker Handbook’. Shortly afterward, she moved to Los Angeles, CA, where she wrote for television series including Murphy Brown, Veronica’s Closet, Spin City, and Bunheads. With Spin City co-creator Bill Lawrence, Dunn penned Michael J. Fox‘s final episode of the series.

Dunn is also a novelist whose works include The Big Love (2005), Secrets to Happiness  (2009), and The Arrangement (2017). Her books have been translated into 19 different languages.

Dunn is a member of the all-female television writer group “The Ladies Room”, which also includes Vanessa McCarthy, Stephanie Birkitt, and Julie Bean. The group was founded in July 2016.  Dunn is married to former New York Observer executive editor Peter Stevenson. They married in 2007.

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The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers

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My review:

Inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal in 2008, author Randy Susan Meyers takes us on an emotional journey inside a fictional Wall Street investment firm to witness how a Ponzi scheme could actually play out and the destruction of lives it could leave in its wake.  The Widow of Wall Street begins when Phoebe is visiting her incarcerated husband, Jake, in jail.  We then start at the beginning, when the couple meets as teenagers, and follow their relationship as the get married, raise children and grow a successful business and a nonprofit.  Phoebe is a hardworking mother of two and a trusting wife of her high school sweetheart.  Jake dreamed of financial success and dedicated himself to have the means to provide the conveniences and luxuries wealth brings.  Throughout his career he was focused, put in long hours and provided well for Phoebe, their children, and others close to him.  When he was charged with fraud upon the discovery of the Ponzi scheme he developed, Phoebe’s life was in shambles.  So many trusting friends and colleagues lost their fortunes, businesses lost funding and families lost their nest eggs.  Did Phoebe know what her husband was doing all those years?

I thoroughly enjoyed The Widow Of Wall Street.  With her thoughtful, well developed characters, Randy Susan Meyers recreated the tragedy of the real life scandal from the perspective of the woman behind the criminal.

I felt Phoebe’s devastation as her life crumbled; the happiness she embodied was built on lies and Jake’s crime caused her to lose her husband, her money, family, friends, home, and her identity, essentially her entire life as it once was.  She trusted him, hoped he was doing the right thing, and had been content in her life enough to choose not to inquire about things she wasn’t sure she really wanted to know about…finances and other women.  This is a cautionary tale as well as a story of love, trust, success, failure, betrayal and destruction. For some, the need for success becomes a compulsion and morality can fall by the wayside.  Relationships, emotions and commitment can cloud logic and truth and unfortunately the ripple effect is devastating.  With suspenseful storytelling and insight into the illusion of what seemed like a storybook marriage Randy Susan Meyers definitely delivered;  I highly recommend this book!

As seen on Goodreads:

What’s real in a marriage built on sand and how do you abandon a man you’ve loved since the age of fifteen?

Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

When Phoebe learns—along with the rest of the world—that her husband’s triumphs are the result of an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. Lies underpin her life and marriage. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Did she partner with her husband in hustling billions from pensioners, charities, and CEOs? Was she his accomplice in stealing from their family and neighbors?

Debate rages as to whether love and loyalty blinded her to his crimes or if she chose to live in denial. While Jake is trapped in the web of his own deceit, Phoebe is faced with an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning Jake, a man she’s known since childhood, feels cruel and impossible.

From Brooklyn to Greenwich to Manhattan, from penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, The Widow of Wall Street exposes a woman struggling to redefine her life and marriage as everything she thought she knew crumbles around her.

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As seen on Goodreads:

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, where I quickly moved from playing with dolls to incessantly reading, spending most of my time at the Kensington Branch Library. Early on I developed a penchant for books rooted in social issues, my early favorites being “Karen” and “The Family Nobody Wanted.” Shortly I moved onto Jubilee and The Diary of Anne Frank.

My dreams of justice simmered at the fantastically broadminded Camp Mikan, where I went from camper to counselor, culminating in a high point when (with the help of my strongly Brooklyn-accented singing voice), I landed the role of Adelaide in the staff production of “Guys and Dolls.”

Soon I was ready to change the world, starting with my protests at Tilden High and City College of New York, until I left to pursue the dream in Berkeley, California, where I supported myself by selling candy, nuts, and ice cream in Bartons of San Francisco. Then, world-weary at too-tender an age, I returned to New York, married, and traded demonstrations for diapers.

While raising two daughters, I tended bar, co-authored a nonfiction book on parenting, ran a summer camp, and (in my all-time favorite job, other than writing) helped resurrect and run a community center.
Once my girls left for college, I threw myself deeper into social service and education by working with batterers and victims of domestic violence. I’m certain my novels are imbued with all the above, as well as my journey from obsessing over bad boys to loving a good man.

Many things can save your life–children who warm your heart, the love of a good man, a circle of wonderful friends, and a great sister. After a tumultuous start in life, I’m lucky enough to now have all these things. I live in Boston with my husband, where I live by the words of Gustave Flaubert: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

 

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No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

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No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

My Review:

In a small town in North Carolina an African American family is reaching for the American Dream. Life is hard and full of disappointments as it seems like a black cloud is over them. Ava is desperate for a baby yet she battles infertility and secretly reaches out to an online community for support and advise. Her husband Henry is upset about the decline in the furniture industry where he works, is cheating on Ava and feels disappointed in himself. Ava’s mother Sylvia’s life is stunted; she has never gotten over losing her son Devon and is married to Don, a man she doesn’t trust. JJ Ferguson, Ava’s old boyfriend is back in town, wealthy and living large on top of the hill. He has built a house overlooking the town and is hoping to get back together with Ava as he searches for the feeling of being home.

“We all get disappointed. ….We want what’s missing. Everybody wants what’s missing. “ Wealth, trust, fidelity, love…they all are searching for something to make them feel whole yet no one is spared of life’s challenges.

As Ava, JJ, Henry and Sylvia struggle to find happiness the occasional glimmers of light are not enough to make all their dreams come true.
“They could pretend they had the power to fix their lives. The trick was making themselves believe it. That’s what joy is, isn’t it? Belief for a little while that you have the power to mend everything?”

Stephanie Powell Watts has written an impressive debut as she skillfully weaves thoughts from the characters’ pasts with current goings ons – a true glimpse into how they physically experience life while recalling old memories. She gives us a snapshot of real life where little is perfect and few are satisfied. It is reminiscent of the fact that life can be challenging and making the most out of it gives us the biggest reward.

“If you can’t get what you want, want something else. “

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to more from Stephanie Powell Watts.

Purchase a copy of No One Is Coming To Save Us on AMAZON HERE.

Click hear to listen to Stephanie Powell Watts’ NPR Interview HERE

 

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Stephanie Powell Watts won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her debut story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need (2012), also named one of 2013’s Best Summer Reads by O: The Oprah Magazine. Her short fiction has been included in two volumes of the Best New Stories from the South anthology and honored with a Pushcart Prize. Ms. Powell Watts’s stories explore the lives of African Americans in fast food and factory jobs, working door to door as Jehovah’s Witness ministers, and pressing against the boundaries of the small town, post-integration South. Her forthcoming debut novel, titled No One Is Coming to Save Us, follows the return of a successful native son to his home in North Carolina and his attempt to join the only family he ever wanted but never had. As Ms. Powell Watts describes it, “Imagine The Great Gatsby set in rural North Carolina, nine decades later, with desperate black people.” Born in the foothills of North Carolina, with a PhD from the University of Missouri and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she now lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where she is an associate professor at Lehigh University.

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Nasty Women Project: Voices from the Resistance Edited by Erin Passons

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As seen on Goodreads:

American Women. Their Stories. Their Resistance.

The despot is perched in his tower, threatening democracy with every tweet. Vultures of big business occupy his cabinet seats, while empty-headed puppets tie the Senate to a string. With a wave of a pen, they set our rights on fire.

Welcome to the new America.

And who are we? We are the women of the marginalized majority. We come from every corner of America. We are the outraged mothers. We are the unprotected daughters. We are the uninsured sick, the gay and the blamed, the cast-off patrons of the lesser paid, and the survivors of trauma taught to feel ashamed.

We are every woman you have ever met, and every woman you haven’t. Our stories are of struggle, but also of strength; of fear, but also of courage. We know despair, but we never lose hope. We are extraordinary women living in extraordinary times.

We are The Nasty Women Project.

100% proceeds from our book sales are donated to Planned Parenthood.

My Comments:

Nasty Women Project is compilation of essays written by regular, everyday women from almost every state in the US.  In an effort to be educated on the plight of women of all races, colors, creeds and sexual orientations, Erin Passons, the editor, called for submissions hoping “the darkness inspired by Trump will only bring forth more light”.  When it became a possibility that The GOP would have the opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood the idea was born: she would gather the written words of women across the country and publish them to sell, donating all the proceeds to Planned Parenthood.

Telling their stories of election night, prejudice and life experiences provides women in the United States of America the opportunity to make sense out of their fears and hopes, and reading them provides a sense of camaraderie and courage.  These powerful, well written essays show struggles and fear along with new-found strength and focus.

Elizabeth Martin of Ohio says “Since Trump’s win, we have begun to organize.  We sign petitions.  We call politicians.  We march.  We fight.  I have thousands of life preservers surrounding me, and I no longer have the fear of drowning.”

As Jennifer Tyree from Arizona says, “We must rally.  Now is the time to make history.”

Take the time to hear what the women of the United States have to say and purchase your copy of Nasty Women Project HERE.  All proceeds are donated to Planned Parenthood.

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Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu

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As seen on Goodreads:

Lucky and her husband, Krishna, are gay. They present an illusion of marital bliss to their conservative Sri Lankan–American families, while each dates on the side. It’s not ideal, but for Lucky, it seems to be working. She goes out dancing, she drinks a bit, she makes ends meet by doing digital art on commission. But when Lucky’s grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns to her childhood home and unexpectedly reconnects with her former best friend and first lover, Nisha, who is preparing for her own arranged wedding with a man she’s never met.

As the connection between the two women is rekindled, Lucky tries to save Nisha from entering a marriage based on a lie. But does Nisha really want to be saved? And after a decade’s worth of lying, can Lucky break free of her own circumstances and build a new life? Is she willing to walk away from all that she values about her parents and community to live in a new truth? As Lucky—an outsider no matter what choices she makes—is pushed to the breaking point, Marriage of a Thousand Lies offers a vivid exploration of a life lived at a complex intersection of race, sexuality, and nationality. The result is a profoundly American debut novel shot through with humor and loss, a story of love, family, and the truths that define us all.

 

My Comments:

A lovely debut, Marriage of a Thousand Lies brings to light the layers of struggles that shape our decisions on how we choose to live our lives.  Lucky and her husband Kris are both gay, in a marriage of convenience to keep Kris in the country and for Lucky to mend the relationship with her disapproving family and save face in the eyes of the Sri Lanken community.  Lucky returns home to care for her ill grandmother and is reunited with Nisha, her old friend whom she had a romantic relationship with when they were younger.  Nisha is preparing for her arranged marriage to a man, but in the weeks leading up to her wedding the suppressed love and desire of these former lovers are unleashed forcing both Nisha and Lucky to reevaluate their choices and how they want to live their lives.  Is it better to follow your heart and be shunned from your family and community or should you live a lie to be accepted?  Marriage of a Thousand Lies brings us on a journey of struggles and pressures, as Nisha and Lucky make their decisions on how to live and where to find acceptance.

Last week, on the 20th anniversary of Ellen Degeneres coming out at  gay on national tv to 42 million viewers, I reflected on how far we have come in the United States when it comes to acceptance and treating all people equally.   Yes, we have progressed in 20 years, but there are still many individuals and groups that preclude some from being considered equal and treated fairly.  It is part of the human struggle to protect and honor the past while we grow and accept change and celebrate difference moving forward.  Little by little we are finding the balance, one family and one community at a time, as brave individuals choose to live authentically and gain support from their inner circle.  I enjoyed this well written novel as it touched on the personal struggles of  each character with the added bonus of Sri Lankan traditions and customs.

Marriage of a Thousand Lies will be available June 13th.

Preorder here on AMAZON.

 

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About the author:

SJ Sindu was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Massachusetts. Her hybrid fiction and nonfiction chapbook, I Once Met You But You Were Dead, won the 2016 Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest and was published by Split Lip Press. She was a 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow and is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Florida State University. Marriage of a Thousand Lies is her first novel, and will be released by Soho Press in June 2017.

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*GIVEAWAY* The Unexpected Daughter

I am excited to give away 3 copies of The Unexpected Daughter by Sheryl Parbhoo.  Giveaway closes Friday, May 5th at 11 AM EST.

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To Enter…

1. Like the Book Nation by Jen Facebook page

2. Like the *Giveaway* post on Facebook

3. Share on Facebook OR tag a friend

Winners will be announced Friday, May 5th.
US Residents only

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The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

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As seen on Goodreads:

The New York Times bestselling author of Falling presents a warm, wise, and wonderfully vivid novel about a mother who asks her three estranged daughters to come home to help her end her life.

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.

My Comments:

So much to enjoy in Jane Green’s latest novel, The Sunshine Sisters!  Sisters Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy, have damaged relationships with each other and their actress mother Ronni, and when Ronni asks them all to come see her at once, they are not enthusiastic.  Ronni is ill and wants to make amends before she dies.  She hopes to be forgiven for her less than perfect mothering and to bring her girls together so they can get reacquainted and become a support for each other.

Jane’s characters are complex and well developed; we learn of their insecurities, coping mechanisms and emotions, and we see how it manifests in their words and behaviors.  Each daughter had to overcome obstacles in her life and I was rooting for all of them every step of the way.  In addition to the realistically flawed, likable characters, I have to make mention of the setting.  As a Westport native, it was such a pleasure for me to see my town through the eyes of the Sunshine sisters, nostalgic, accurate and oh so much fun!

Always pleasurable to read a Jane Green novel, and for me, this one was especially wonderful.  A beautiful story of a family mending fences, reevaluating priorities, repairing relationships and creating new and better ones.  The wonderful Westport, Connecticut setting with mentions of all the hot spots read like a cherished home movie for me, and shedding some tears like I did always deserves a thumbs up!

The Sunshine Sisters will be available June 6th!  Order a copy HERE for your beach bag!

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Jane Green is the author of eighteen novels, of which seventeen are New York Times Bestsellers, including her latest, Falling Previous novels have included The Beach House, Second Chance, Jemima J, and Tempting Fate.  Her cookbook, Good Taste, debuted on October 4th.

She is published in over 25 languages, and has over ten million books in print worldwide. She joined the ABC News team to write their first enhanced digital book— about the history of Royal marriages, then joined ABC News as a live correspondent covering Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.  A former journalist in the UK, she has had her own radio show on BBC Radio London, and is a regular contributor on radio and TV, including as well as regularly appearing on television shows including Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart show, and The Today Show.

Together with writing books and blogs, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including anthologies and novellas, and features for The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has taught at writers conferences, and does regular keynote speaking, and has a weekly column in The Lady magazine, England’s longest running weekly magazine.

A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, Green filled two of her books, Saving Grace and Promises to Keep, with recipes culled from her own collection. She says she only cooks food that is “incredibly easy, but has to look as if you have slaved over a hot stove for hours.” This is because she has five children, and has realised that “when you have five children, nobody ever invites you anywhere.”

She lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, gardening, filling her house with friends and herding chickens, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks. A cancer survivor – she has overcome Malignant Melanoma, she also lives with Chronic Lyme Disease, and believes gratitude and focusing on the good in life is the secret to happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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