One of the many things motherhood changes is the fact that your time is no longer your own. Sadly, days spent lounging in the sun reading a novel become a distant memory. Imagine my delight when this past weekend I was able to do just that!! It’s been over 5 and a half years since I spent daylight hours reading and I must say I have missed it. You might well be wondering what happened that I suddenly am able to indulge – well I was technically “working” you see – reading a novel to review. It was just a happy accident that the work didn’t feel like work at all! It felt like I had spent the weekend with a bunch of girlfriends on a weekend away in the country….
The Reunion by Joanne Fedler is a wonderful story about a group of women who have known each other for various lengths of time but who are all linked in some way or another. At the core of the group are 4 mothers who met at a “mom’s group” over 13 years before. Along for the weekend are some newer friends too. The group are a mix of married and divorced, childless and mom-of-many. Once I started reading I was instantly drawn to each character as if I’d known them personally. In each I could see traits I identified with. I loved getting to know them all as the story continued. During the course of a girls weekend away they talk like only a bunch of women can – topics cover marriage, sex, children, men, food, careers, but mostly motherhood. And this is the reason why I loved this book the most. Yes, it’s a fun story filled with well written characters than feel like real friends. The plot has ups and downs, parts that made me laugh and cry, but the essence of the book is more than just a novel. It has a heart! I was so moved by many parts of the book – the narrator, Jo, shares her struggles as a mom letting go of her pre-teen kids – and in doing so made me so much more aware of just how precious the short time I have with my small kids! Each time I put down the book to attend to someone’s whines or demands I did so, not with frustration of being interrupted (which would have been my usual response!) but with a renewed attention to the needs of the moment.
I felt really touched by this book and would really recommend it to all my friends (in fact, I have been already!) It will appeal to women of all ages who have kids and have struggled with all the many aspects of mothering. Whether your kids are pre-schoolers or pre-teens, adolescents or adults you will find something encouraging and entertaining in this read. Throughout the novel the author, Joanne Fedler, has weaved some wonderful truths and lovely lines that resonate far longer than the few hours it took me to plough through the pages. If, like me, you haven’t had time to think about reading for quite a while then this is a great book to start up with. It’s not too long and is a really easy, quick and fun read but with some great discussion points especially if you are part of a bookclub. I will be choosing this as my choice for our bookclub the next time I host. The bookclub I belong to all read the same book and then discuss it at the following meeting – that way we only have to get through one book a month but we still feel rather literary by discussing what we’ve read over some wine 🙂 We are currently on hiatus after a spate of new babies but when we do get together again I think this will be a wonderful read for the moms feeding and reading in the wee hours.
More about the book:
The Reunion is an insightful, funny and often biting read about the challenges women face as their bodies change, dreams fade and kids grow up. Ultimately, it explores what it means to be a good friend, a good person and a good mother, and suggests that all love is about learning to let go. It’s been a long time since Jo, Helen, Ereka and CJ became friends through a mothers’ group, and some new faces have also been invited to their reunion. Over two days of eating and drinking intimacies are shared, marriage and motherhood discussed, and friendships – both old and new – are tested. Many of the conversations in this book are adaptations of real conversations Joanne has had with her girlfriends or ones she’s overheard women having with each other in parks and hunched over shopping trolleys – examines how mothers face new challenges in their lives and change as their children grow up.
More about the author:
Joanne Fedler, is the bestselling author of Secret Mothers’ Business and When Hungry, Eat (both available on Loot). She grew up in the heart of Joburg, studied law at Wits, set up Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to end violence against women and worked on the Law Commission that drafted the Domestic Violence Act. She lived in Cape Town for three years before making the heart-wrenching decision to leave her homeland. After eleven years in Sydney with her husband and two children, she still speaks like a japie, eats biltong and boerewors and supports SA against Australia in rugby (to the extent that she supports rugby). She teaches life-writing classes and takes women on writing adventures with Women’s Own Adventure. She is also a motivational speaker and has worked to raise money for abused women, breast cancer research, postnatal depression and children with special needs. Her books have sold over 400 000 copies worldwide.
I am pleased to share with you that I have 2 copies of The Reunion to give away to my reading readers! If you would like to get your hands on a copy and indulge in some “me time” reading under the covers then please leave a comment on this post after you have “Liked” Becoming you on Facebook. Be sure to mention what other book is your most recommended read to your friends in the comment as I’m on the lookout for a few new book club choices 😉
How to enter:
1) Click this button to “Like” Becoming you on Facebook
2) Leave a comment below telling us what your favourite book to recommend (or give) to friends is….
That’s it! So easy
If you’d like an extra entry then feel free to share or tweet about this competition and leave another comment!
Entries close on Friday, 8 June 2012 and will be announced on the blog on Saturday, 9 June 2012.
Images: 1) Kathryn Rossiter 2) Joanne Fedler
Special thanks to Jacana Media for the book and my husband for entertaining the kids for a few hours 😉