The Underside of Joy


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But when Joe drowns off the coast, his ex-wife shows up at his funeral, intent on reclaiming the children. With wit and determination, she delves beneath the surface of her marriage, finally asking the questions she most fears, the answers jeopardizing everything and everyone she most loves. This book lets you know things are gonna go from bliss to bad pretty quick for protagonist Ella Beene. In fact Halverson lays out her premise at the top:.

And then I think Halverson does a bang up job of taking us through the proof of her theory. She explains the concept which Ella sees as relating to her children as well as to wine :. Ella deals with the loss of her picture perfect husband in all too human ways, which leads her into further darkness. Now, you two shut up! The author uses so much symbolism in her novel that it cheapens the entire point of using symbolism in the first place. She further reduces the subtlety of symbolism by having either the narrator or other characters in the novel point out symbols and explain them in great detail.

No symbol is left un-turned and un-exploited. Good chunks of the dialogue between character is forced, and it was clear that the author was trying to tell the readers something profound behind the characters who spoke as nothing more than puppet heads for what she couldn't find another way to say but contrived dialogue and monologue. I am a mother, both to biological and adoptive children. While I have never suffered this level of struggle after the birth of my children, I have been there to bear witness to some of those closest to me as they journeyed those dark places.

I have glimpsed the magnitude of the pain and the love, the fear and the hope, the selflessness and self-preservation that ripples endlessly when a mother looks within and makes the decision to entrust her children to another. I bear witness every day to children thrust into the position of making sense of the senseless, and picking up the pieces of the choices that adults have made for them. I bear witness to how people join together for the sake of children, and how they fall apart.

These things all speak to parts of us that are primal, and infinitely nuanced. And that, ultimately, pinpoints my entire disappointment with this book that a premise with such potential turned into nothing more than flat, cardboard characters puffed up with a lot of talk, who didn't exist in this story as human individuals through which a plot blossoms and makes meaning, but as chintzy props subservient a plot that already had its mind made up. Instead of book whose characters who do justice to the themes in this novel, they come off as cheap imitations of the real thing: surface and shallow, trying to make us see something that the author herself either clearly does not grasp, or is completely unable to transmit to paper.

The Underside of Joy

There is no depth of relationships, no depth of parent-child relationship, no depth of individual characters and therefore no true feeling, only lots of fancy words to lead us on a pre-chosen path of discovery that in the end discovers nothing, reveals nothing. Far from doing justice to these themes, this book makes a mockery of them. It cheapens them. I could not have been more disappointed by something that promised so much and delivered so little. Aug 18, Laurie Richards rated it it was amazing. This is a loving account of how a step-mother works through the tragic aftermath of her husband's death and the re-emergence of her step-children's mother who seeks to claim her place in the youngsters' lives.

Halverson gives us an excellent and true depiction of the warring emotions in all the family members, and the ending both satisfies and inspires. It doesn't often happen for me that my eyes tear up, but it did several times in this story, and the tears came naturally because I felt inside the story, wrapped in the setting. The writing is evocative, the story well paced, and the characters still live for me.

Sep 25, Veronica rated it it was amazing Shelves: firstreads-giveaway-books , 5-star. I won this book thorugh Goodreads. I couldn't put this book down.

What Makes Us Happy?

I thoroughly enjoyed the way the book showed that there are 2 or more sides to every story. Feb 15, Shawn rated it it was amazing. This was extremely well written, almost to a fault. I read it in nearly one sitting, having started it at 7 in the evening and pausing for a little sleep at 4am, only to awaken four hours later to finish the last few chapters. Compelling, authentic, real. There was never an exchange between characters that didn't feel true. As a Mom and a stepMom, I knew going in that I would know if the story ever deviated from genuine emotion and experience.

It really never did. The protagonist may have handle This was extremely well written, almost to a fault. The protagonist may have handled things differently than I would have, but she never displayed an emotion or thought that didn't ring true. Impressive debut. Brilliant, brilliant, near flawless writing. Dec 31, Moon Love rated it it was amazing. This is Sere Prince Halverson's debut book and simply put, it is beautiful. Ella Beane and Joe Capozzi, Jr. They met and had a whirlwind courtship and were married in a few months after meeting each other.

Ella had just left a marriage broken by her inability to carry a child to term, and Joe was dealing with the fallout of his wife Paige leaving without warning and trying to raise h This is Sere Prince Halverson's debut book and simply put, it is beautiful. Ella had just left a marriage broken by her inability to carry a child to term, and Joe was dealing with the fallout of his wife Paige leaving without warning and trying to raise his two young children.

When one day Joe breaks his own rule, to never turn your back on the ocean, Ella's world comes crashing down. With Joe gone, Ella is basically the sole care taker of the kids, but she has Joe's family, his parents and brother David, along with her friend Lucy to provide her with advice and support. She works to keep Joe's family business open and from being drowned in debt. On top of all this and her grief at losing Joe, Paige, the children's beautiful biological mother comes back into the picture and it seems she is hostile towards Ella and has a hidden agenda.

But Ella is dealing with everything and doesn't have time to let Paige's machinations get to her. Until she receives a subpoena because Paige has filed for physical custody of the kids. I've given away too much of the story, but you have to understand Ella really loves these kids. She's keeping Joe's business and his family's history going, and she's raising these children as her own. When Paige walked out on them, Annie was 3 and Zach was only a few months old. They call her Mommy. So when Ella finds something that can change the course of the custodial hearing she's torn. Does she submit the evidence or does she keep quiet.

Halverson has done an amazing job at writing this book and her characters. They're all complex, and definitely not black and white. The shades of grey make you relate and empathize to each and every character, even Paige. I was reading his book while in public and had to try really hard to keep my tears in control in different parts of the book. Halverson's descriptions are so apt, that I could picture myself on the beach, in the morgue with Ella, looking at Joe's body, the description of the Capozzi family's shop, etc. It was just evocative and stirring overall. I must say I am blown away by this book and by Sere Prince Halverson.

She has a gift for writing and I look forward to reading her future books. Aug 21, Chelo Diaz-Ludden rated it it was amazing. I just read an ARC advanced reader's copy of this book and loved every moment. When Ella loses her husband she assumes she'll raise the step-children she loves as her own. Then their 'real' mother shows up to claim them and so begins a tug of war between two women for custody of the children they both love. Just as in real life, there are no easy answers and therein lies the beauty of the book.

But it is easy to fall in love with the characters. The setting will also draw you in; northern Calif I just read an ARC advanced reader's copy of this book and loved every moment. The setting will also draw you in; northern California charms even as its 'underside' is revealed.

Read this book and be prepared for a journey into the lives of characters you'll root for, laugh and cry with, and finally, carry with you long after you close the book. Dec 02, Anita rated it it was amazing. Just a perfect book. It is beautifully written and wonderfully plotted. The characters are very real and the story moves at a rapid pace. Jan 22, Julie Kibler rated it it was amazing. Updated: Dec 3, I read this novel shortly after the hardcover released and fell in love with the story and the characters.

The paperback released last week and I wanted to add more thoughts here. As both a parent and child of blended families, I found so much to think about in the story. I was moved to joy, Loved. I was moved to joy, grief, anger, disbelief, and finally, hope and joy again while reading. There is truly no "good guy" or "bad guy"--but simply mothers who love their children and want to do best by them. Oct 30, Ellen Wiseman rated it it was amazing. From the very first page, when I read "The most genuine happiness cannot be so pure, so deep, or so blind.

Through the beautiful, tragic, emotionally-complex story of Ella Bean and her family, the author masterfully explores the true meaning of love and genuine happiness. This book packs an emotional punch that stays with you long after you've cl From the very first page, when I read "The most genuine happiness cannot be so pure, so deep, or so blind. This book packs an emotional punch that stays with you long after you've closed it.

I can't wait to read the author's next novel! Nov 03, M rated it did not like it.

The Underside of Joy

This was the underside of joy, all right. The premise of this was actually quite strong, which made the lousy execution all the more devastating. Ella Ella Beene, actually. Joe, the husband, dies one day rather suddenly, This was the underside of joy, all right. Joe, the husband, dies one day rather suddenly, and now Paige ex wife decides she does want the kids back - over three years and a new step mom later.

So on the one hand, I like the tension surrounding a mom in name only versus the one who has actually been around, and where the legal favor lies, and blah blah. On the other, this book was so poorly constructed. Ella is the narrator, and she is the worst kind - way too direct and comes across as whiny, immature, and selfish. And indeed, I found myself thinking that this custody fight had way more to do with her than the kids. Ella sounded like a petty sixth grader or, worse, like a really annoying old man - "old man humor" would pretty much sum up whatever personality Ella managed to eke out - and the story, while getting credit for showing Paige to be more complex than Ella allows, loses a lot of point for the Polyanna, forceful, juvenile resolution.

You are gripped and pulled in straight away as the tragedy unfolds and then every page is packed full of struggles, family secrets, despair, with the odd glimpse of hope but all wrapped up in that word Love. Written so beautifully with characters you will love and long for happiness to come to their door. Gorgeous children and with family relationships that will melt your heart. I believe that this is a debut novel for the Author who Wow..

I believe that this is a debut novel for the Author who has signed with Harper publishers and if this is a Debut novel I am even more impressed, I will certainly be looking out for other books by the Author as they become available. I really do recommend this book to my followers. Thank you so much to www. Feb 13, Danielle rated it really liked it Shelves: for-review , books-i-own , chicklit.

Two mothers and two children that mean the world to them both in many different ways. For Paige her life ended when she walked away from Joe and her two children only three years prior and the news of his death becomes a reason to live again and to make up for the moments missed. In the months that follow a struggle Two mothers and two children that mean the world to them both in many different ways.

In the months that follow a struggle between Ella and Paige could end in another tragedy for both of them. Is it possible to have happiness when everything seems to be so wrong? When I initially picked up The Underside of Joy by Sere Halverson I was most intrigued by how the story would play out and my prejudice against the birth mother Paige began almost before I turned the first page.

But what I learned from reading The Underside of Joy was that there is always more to the story than there appears at first glance. It was beautiful story telling and one that made me more appreciative of the fragility of the lives we live. Imagine marrying the love of your life, inheriting two beautiful children to then have it all ripped away only a couple of years later. Ella was kind and loving and perhaps a better mother than I even am, so it was unbelievably sad to see her whole life ripped away.

Her determination and devotion to her family and the life she created was something I thoroughly enjoyed. We all keep secrets, everyone does.


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The question is when does it go too far and when do those secrets do more harm than good. Would Ella revealed them, were she told by Joe, and subsequently had her deemed unfit to be a mother? The Underside of Joy by Sere Halverson is a stunning debut. There were only a few occasions near the beginning of the story that I felt were a little slow, but otherwise I was completely engulfed in the beautiful writing of Sere Halverson. Reading about the lives of these characters, their choices and the secrets they kept from one another was perfectly crafted creating a story that played out layer by layer to reach a very surprising ending.

Originally reviewed and copyrighted at my site Chick Lit Reviews and News. Feb 24, Paula Phillips rated it really liked it. They say happiness is something that you are born with , it is in your DNA. As "The Underside of Joy" teaches us that happiness is something that we experience but in a way I do believe that it is in our outlook on life and in our DNA whether we have a postive or negative outlook on life and depending what our perosnality and life outlook is , thats the measure of how much happiness one can experience.

Ella Beanne , passed through a small town called Elbow three years ago and never contemplated They say happiness is something that you are born with , it is in your DNA. Ella Beanne , passed through a small town called Elbow three years ago and never contemplated that this was the town that she was going to fall in love , create an instant family and then three years later lose everything she has ever cared for , the three things that made her experience the Joy and Blissful happiness.

Three years ago, Ella met and married Joe Capozzi. With Joe came two little children Annie- 3 years old and Zach- 6months , a product of Joe's first wife who deserted her family just before Joe found love and happiness with Ella. Now three years later , Ella's life has collapsed from the perfect family to nothingness when her husband Joe is killed in an tragic photography accident. At the funeral, Joe's ex-wife Paige turns up with one goal in mind besides money , to leave with her two children Annie and Zach.

The Underside of Joy - AbeBooks - Sere Prince Halverson:

For Ella , who has just lost their father can't bear the thought of losing the children too and what follows is a series of custody battles, court cases as all Ella is , is the Step-mother. Struggling with the grief of her lost husband, Ella must now stand strong as she is pushed to the limits and learn what is and who the best mother for Zach and Annie is.

A touching story that will have you in places tearing and other's yelling at the judges for outcomes made etc. Oct 23, Nancy rated it really liked it. This is a very well writen novel with underlying message that in order to fully feel joy, one must also know pain. It is also a beautiful tribute to a mother's love in spite of a past not conducive for love. Above all, through the journey, mothering does not have to include giving birth to love a child. The story is told through the point of view of Ella, a stepmother who stepped into theshoes and life of another wife and mother who left her own when post partum depression became too much to bea This is a very well writen novel with underlying message that in order to fully feel joy, one must also know pain.

The story is told through the point of view of Ella, a stepmother who stepped into theshoes and life of another wife and mother who left her own when post partum depression became too much to bear. Ella loves her family completely but is soon confronted hard realities when her husband dies and the children's birth mother returns and makes a compelling case for Ella to see her choices in a different light.

The author starts with Ella's semi charmed kind of life and shifts the balance of the scales subtly in order for Ella to see how Paige was wronged by her husband and may have a legitimate claim to the children she left three years ago. Beatifully executed and compelling. Heartbreaking and hopeful. Jul 04, Nancy rated it really liked it. What makes a woman a mother? Is it biology or an overwhelming love for her children? When young Ella Beene is suddenly widowed and left with two step-children, she resolves to make their lives the best she can.

But when the biological mother enters the scene, things get complicated.

Reviews for real people

She decides to live in truth for herself and the kids, and generations of secrets must come to light to make that happen. This is a book that runs the gamut of emotions; love , regret, jealousy, redemption and finall What makes a woman a mother? This is a book that runs the gamut of emotions; love , regret, jealousy, redemption and finally acceptance.

I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, it won't be published til next January. Aug 26, Ciara rated it it was ok Shelves: baby-pregnancy-infertility-parentin , read-in Jan 19, Laura Kay Bolin rated it it was amazing. View 2 comments. Dec 21, Nada rated it liked it Shelves: r-lt. The Underside of Joy is a book of a family - the one we are born with and the one we choose.

Ella Beene has stumbled into and found a loving family - Joe and his children Zach and Annie and the whole clan that surrounds them. She is a mother to Zach and Annie whose birth mother left when they were very young. However, at the beginning of the book, Joe is an accident and dies. The birth mother comes returns, and a custody battle ensues.

The custody battle is the central focus of the book. There is no right or wrong, just different perspectives. The book is also about moving on after such a devastating loss in a family. In addition, this book also highlights a piece of US history - the internment camps during World War II which affected not just our Japanese residents but also the Italian community depicted in the book.

The book was a quick and enjoyable read. The look into history was an interesting one especially since so much of other historical documentation focuses on the internment of the Japanese community.

http://creatoranswers.com/modules/williamson/ofertas-de-empleo-desde-casa.php Also interesting was the different ways family can manifest itself and how we can define a family by the bonds of love. Overall, not a favorite book but not a bad one either. Mar 06, Susan Johnson rated it liked it. Being a stepparent is not easy. Everyone watches your every move to make sure that you don't make a mistake.

Birth parents are allowed mistakes but stepparents aren't. And nobody really understands the depths of your love for these children- that there are times when you forget you didn't give birth to them. I know.

The Underside of Joy

I raised four stepkids as the primary caretaker. It just go Being a stepparent is not easy. It just goes to show people handle thing differently. The novel doesn't have a false note in it. The emotions and situations ring true. A lot of situations could have been tied up better and not left blowing in the breeze.

I live not far from Elbow and the author really knows the area.

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