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Joy School

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In this exquisite new novel by bestselling writer Elizabeth Berg, a young woman falls in love -- and learns how sorrow can lead to an understanding of joy.

Katie, the narrator, 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.

Beautifully written in Berg's irresistible voice, Joy School portrays the soaring happiness of real love, the deep despair one can feel when it goes unrequited, and the stubbornness of hope that will not let us let go. Here also is recognition that love can come in many forms and offer many different things. Joy School illuminates, too, how the things that hurt the most can sometimes teach us the lessons that really matter.

About Durable Goods, Elizabeth Berg's first novel, Andre Dubus said, "Elizabeth Berg writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, loneliness, love and hope. And the transcendence that redeems." The same will be said of Joy School, Elizabeth Berg's most luminous novel to date.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 03, 1997 – "This place and I do not get along," says 12-year-old army brat Katie, the narrator of Berg's (Talk Before Sleep) painfully accurate tale of first love in the days of princess phones and circle pins. After moving to Missouri from Texas with her stern father (her beloved mother is dead), bright, sensitive Katie has trouble fitting in. The few friends she does make include an antisocial rich girl and a beautiful shoplifter, fellow outsiders who can't quite quench her loneliness. Far more satisfying is the companionship she finds in Jimmy, a 23-year-old married gas station manager with a heart of gold. As Katie is enveloped by her yearning for Jimmy, her romantic preadolescent fantasies convey all the hope and exquisite vulnerability of first love. Katie's matter-of-fact narration is wonderfully touching, escorting the reader into a world where young girls treat the dos and don'ts of Glamour magazine with the hushed respect due the Ten Commandments. Whether chronicling the fun way to bake peanut butter cookies or her heroine's budding passion for literature, Berg sensitively mines the loneliness and bewilderment inherent in being young, insecure and desperate for connection. 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. Major ad/promo; author tour.

Customer Reviews

Great book!

Character in other novels, too.

Joy School
View In iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 25, 1997
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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