Katie has relocated to Missouri with her distant, occasionally abusive father, and she feels very much alone: her much-loved mother is dead; her new school is unaccepting of her; and her only friends fall far short of being ideal companions. When she accidentally falls through the ice while skating, she meets Jimmy. He is handsome, far older than she, and married, but she is entranced. As their relationship unfolds, so too does Katie's awareness of the pain and intensity first love can bring.
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Elizabeth Berg's previous novels about the feminine experience in its various stages of girlhood, adolescence, and adulthood have won her a loyal following for their emotional accuracy and powerful voices. In Joy School, Berg's newest book, young Katie's first experience of intense romantic love--with a much older man--becomes not just a crucible for the lessons of love in its various guises, but a rite of passage.From the Publisher:
Excerpts from reviews of Elizabeth Berg's Joy School
"Elizabeth Berg conjures the ordinary and consequently outrageous life of
a twelve-year-old girl in the early '60s in Joy School...[She]
perfectly recalls the popular culture of that time...Berg has a way of
picking the choicest words for the smallest of events...As always, her
style works beautifully--deceptively simple, conversational, and hip."
"Much to the delight of Elizabeth Berg fans, Katie, the adolescent Army
brat at the center of Berg's first novel, Durable Goods, returns as the
focus of [Joy School]. In this latest work the author takes great
care in exposing the loneliness that trips up her beloved character while
also revealing the people and moments that truly do make this awkward age
a 'Joy School.'... The adolescent internal monologue offered by
Berg--with Katie second-guessing herself, fantasizing and exaggerating--is
both hilarious and breathtaking. The teacher descriptions alone...deliver
a book worth buying."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"An opalescent...tale...Berg handles Katie's mystification with sweet
aplomb, tracking surges with a meteorologist's delight.... The lesson of
Joy School is not that weeping endureth a night, but that ordinary
young humans must learn to endure themselves."
"Katie is funny, imaginative, irreverent, idiosyncratic, and deeply,
unusually charming. She works her charms upon the reader, but perhaps more
interesting, she works them upon the other characters in the
novel....Though this is a story built around the theme of first
love...Berg also manages to show how her narrator is looking for human
connection in different ways and in different places. Through all these
encounters, we see Katie trying to regain a faith that she lost upon the
death of her mother, so that Joy School is, among other things, a
meditation on the way early loss can radically shift a child's
understanding of the world."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
"Berg's characters are a treat: Vivid and quirky, they do more than fill
in the background. These are people who encourage the reader to imagine
what their own stories would be."
--St. Louis Dispatch
"Berg's stories have a way of making you remember things you never thought
you'd forget. She gives us all a voice and company through the trial we
face. Her stories are powerful, true, and speak straight to the heart
without ignoring the head."
"Katie's guileless candor delights throughout the novel....One of the best
things about this book is how funny it is. Don't read it anywhere you're
not willing to risk being caught laughing aloud."
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As she has demonstrated in previous books, Berg can conjure character with
a minimum of words and a rainbow of nuance. The reader misses Katie the
instant the book ends."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 99451751