Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: The Underside of Joy

Review: The Underside of Joy by Sere' Prince Halverson

IN A GLANCE: The Underside of Joy was a joy to read. It felt very real reading this book. The Underside of Joy is a very authentic book.

Title: The Underside of Joy
Author: Sere' Prince Halverson
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Date Published:  January 12th 2012
Pages:  307 pages
Format: Hardcover
ISBN:  0525952594
Buy This: Amazon * Barnes and Noble  

Set against the backdrop of redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Seré Prince Halverson's compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.

To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. Yet one summer day Joe breaks his own rule--never turn your back on the ocean--and a sleeper wave strikes him down, drowning not only the man but his many secrets.

For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known and has believed that their biological mother, Paige, abandoned them. But when Paige shows up at the funeral, intent on reclaiming the children, Ella soon realizes there may be more to Paige and Joe's story. "Ella's the best thing that's happened to this family," say her Italian-American in-laws, for generations the proprietors of a local market. But their devotion quickly falters when the custody fight between mother and stepmother urgently and powerfully collides with Ella's quest for truth.

The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of stepmotherhood pitting good Ella against evil Paige, but an exploration of the complex relationship of two mothers. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars--both physical and emotional--to the families' deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during World War II and postpartum psychosis.

Weaving a rich fictional tapestry abundantly alive with the natural beauty of the novel's setting, Halverson is a captivating guide through the flora and fauna of human emotions.


First off I'm going to start off by saying, I am not a step mom so really I have no clue how that life would be or how it would feel to have the real mother of the the kids, that I had come to love, try to rip them away from me.  But my mom is a step mom and I have heard the stories.  That being said, I really enjoyed this book, but without knowing how that feels I myself didn't really connect with the character.

I really liked the story line though, the plot was great as well.  But, I think a lot of situations in the book could have been handled a lot better by Ella, but like I said before I'm not a step mom so really I have no idea how I would act.  I do know that if someone tried to take my kids away, I'm a momma bear, I'd probably rip them a new one. 

I think The Underside of Joy is a great start to Sere' Prince Halverson's Career.  I loved the cover as well, its so cleanly designed and beautiful!  I want to say one more thing and then I will get on with my rating, I think the writing could have been a bit better and some loose ends in the story could have been tied up a bit better to but as I said I still think this is a great start to Sere' Prince Halverson's Career!


Plot: 20/20
Creativity: 17/20
Writing: 15/20
Characters: 15/20
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 10/10

85 out of 100 = 3 1/2 Puppy's

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