Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Booking Mamas' March 2016 Meeting

Summary: A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives. Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.” Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best. -- William Morrow

Last night, the Booking Mamas met to discuss THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE by Joshilyn Jackson. We had a big crowd -- there were ten of us, and it was very interesting to hear everyone's opinion of the book. Frankly, we were all over the map on this one. I have read almost all of Ms. Jackson's novels and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it was my absolute favorite. There was one member who loved it, but we had one member who didn't even finish it. I think most of the women fell somewhere between the two extremes.

One issue that a few women had with the novel were the transitions between the present and the past. (Some of us had similar issues last month with our selection!) They felt that they were a bit jarring or confusing. I did not have this problem nor did a few other women who read the book fairly quickly. It makes me wonder if those that took a week or more to read the book just kind of lost track of the story.

Another interesting tidbit from our meeting last night was the discussion about how well Ms. Jackson portrayed a mixed race character. There were more than a few complements on how authentic this character seemed, and one person even asked if the author was of mixed race because she thought it was so good.

I will review THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE in the near future and share more of my thoughts about the book!

Next month, our group decided to read AMERICA'S FIRST DAUGHTER by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. I think this book sounds fantastic, and one member who read it already loved it! Having said that, it is a chunkster of a book coming in at over 600 pages. Since the book was almost a unanimous pick, I'll be anxious to see how many of us actually finish it.

Summary: In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter. Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded. -- William Morrow

1 comment:

Kim@Time2Read said...

I need to put The Opposite of Everything on my list. I enjoyed Someone Else's Love Story and I'd probably like this one.
It will be interesting to see how many of your group actually finish America's First Daughter. I'm guessing most of my group would not finish. I have it sitting on my shelf, and I have to admit, the size is scaring me off! But the thing is, I KNOW once I commit the time to it, I'm going be glad I did!