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Review: Count The Ways

Count The Ways

Count The Ways
By Joyce Maynard
William Morrow, 9780062398277, July 13, 2021, 464pp.

The Short of It:

An amazingly heartfelt story about a family.

The Rest of It:

The easiest way to describe Maynard’s newest story is to say that it’s a story about life. The life that you and I know,  have lived or are currently living. As I was reading it, I could relate to different parts of the story as well as different characters as they were walking through it.

At a young age, Eleanor scrimped and saved to buy a farm and the small but lovely house that came along with it. Having some success writing children’s books, she built a small, humble home for herself and when she falls in love with Cam, he immediately becomes her future. The talk of kids and family and raising them on the farm is all that matters to them and so they waste no time. Three children later, Eleanor’s writing career is somewhat on pause due to raising her young children, Eleanor and Cam struggle to make ends meet. Cam? Not concerned. He has what he wants. He’s creating his burl bowls in his workshop and he’s surrounded by his family.

Although the bowls he creates are beautiful, they don’t sell and with Eleanor’s writing career on hold, she slowly begins to resent Cam’s easy going attitude about making, or not making a living. He is the fun parent. Always stepping in to whisk the kids away to the waterfall, or play with them all day long while Eleanor sits in the house trying to come up with new story ideas. During these times, the cracks begin to show. The cracks in their marriage. All is not gold. Is it ever?

This is such a reflective type of read. Eleanor feels every bit of her age as her children grow. The hours spent feeding them, changing their diapers, tending to their every need. It all leaves a mark. At the same time though, it’s exactly what she wanted from life. A home. A family. A loving man to call her husband. As the home life she creates begins to unravel around her, she wonders why she never wanted more for herself.

I loved this story. There is so much to ponder. Especially for me, as my own kids leave this nest we’ve created. I’d turn a page and read something that I’d have to sit with for a little while before moving forward. I’d go to bed thinking about this family, about missed opportunities and about friends and the idea of home and what it means to each of us. This family will stay with  me for a very long time.

Simply put, get yourself a copy. It doesn’t matter if you are married, single, have had kids or not. There is something here for everyone. Highly recommend.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Whatnot – 07/28/21

Cotton candy sky.It has been a little humid and cloudy where I am but not bad at all. There’s even been rain in some places, just not by me. The clouds make for a spectacular sunset though. 

How have you been? I opened up my work inbox this week to a “return to work” memo. I was offered hybrid flexibility but it’s the week that I am moving my daughter to Missouri, which I guess they forgot about so I will ponder that scenario and try to figure out a schedule that works best all around. I have so many feelings about it. They announced the other day that the state of California will require state workers to be vaccinated and since I work for a State university that means us. As you know, I got the jab so I am good but I would say about 25% of staff have not. I have no idea about the students. It would be nice to see people but the commute is such a nightmare. Since the shutdown, they put in an Amazon fulfillment center along my route home so there is even more traffic now. I will start queuing up my podcasts in preparation.  

Reading has been going really well. Count The Ways, which I will have reviewed by this Friday was just too good. I know I keep talking about it but it was THE book of the summer for me. It’s not even what I would call a summer read. It’s just really good storytelling and I want everyone to read it. I am now reading The Paper Palace which is the current Reese pick. It’s pulling me in but it started off a little on the crude side. Not a big deal but I actually checked my Kindle copy to make sure I was in fact reading the right book. 

My son is still living between two locations in Kansas because the house he is supposed to be in, still needs some work but it’s coming along. His apartment is about a 1/4 of a mile away, so not far. He picks up a rental car today. He’s been without a rental because we had to wait for the dealer to officially submit his repair claim and that has finally been done. 

Want to see the space he will be transforming into a community arts center? This is in St. John, Kansas. This is their “downtown”.

Kansas

There will be contractors to manage the actual renovation but he is there to re-imagine how the space will be used and come up with ideas for community gatherings. As you can imagine, he has plenty to do. 

You all had such good suggestions for my daughter’s room sorting. She wanted to do it on her own and for the most part, did. She didn’t tackle her closet filled with dolls and tea sets but I suppose I can do that later. I do like a good organization project. 

I’ve not been watching anything besides the Olympics here and there. Instead, I hole up on my living room couch, under a blanket with the AC cranked, tucked into whatever book I am reading at the moment. Before the pandemic I never spent any time there but it’s become my little reading nest. The Pup joins me there too. 

I hope you are all doing well and reading something great. If so, let me know.