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Publisher's Summary

At an intimate, festive dinner party in Seattle, six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer. Wineglass in hand, Kate strikes a bargain with them. To celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her: white-water rafting. But if she goes, all of them will also do something they always swore they'd never do-and Kate is going to choose their adventures.

Shimmering with warmth, wit, and insight, Joy for Beginners is a celebration of life: unexpected, lyrical, and deeply satisfying.

©2011 Erica Bauermeister (P)2011 Penguin Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

“A joy to read. Bauermeister gives us characters who revel in the best of what life has to offer - loving relationships, fine food, good books, and travel - and she writes with keen observance and wry wit...Readers will be inspired to leap into their own lives with renewed gusto.” (Stephanie Kallos, author of Sing Them Home)

“Sensual...evocative.... A book designed to fill you up and make you hungry for life.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Bauermeister has created a cast of textured and nuanced characters who individually and as a group speak to what makes women interesting and enigmatic. Her prose is velvety smooth, revealing life at once mournful and auspicious. Joyful, indeed.” (Library Journal, starred review) 

What listeners say about Joy for Beginners

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great listen

This was a great listen, well worth a credit. I had read Erica Bauermeister's previous book about a cooking class and enjoyed it so was looking forward to listening to this. It did not disappoint. I enjoyed how each chapter focused on one character and their challenge and how they met it. It made me think about what we might be missing out on life because we might be afraid to try something new.

The story struck the right tone between not too heavy and not too light. I had a few driveway moments where I sat in the car for a few minutes longer after arriving home to hear what happened next.

The narration was generally good, but the male characters, the few that there were, all kind of sounded the same.

All in all a fun, engaging story that also makes you think a little bit about what joy you might be missing out on.

4 people found this helpful

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Good friends

Would you listen to Joy for Beginners again? Why?

I really enjoyed this book. It is a great reminder of the importance of good friends.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I really enjoyed all of the characters. They were all so different in their outlook on life and its issues.

What does Cassandra Campbell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Hearing this story read made it seem like a conversation with friends.

If you could rename Joy for Beginners, what would you call it?

I think this is a great, innovative title.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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You're here, be here!

What a beautiful story...set of stories, actually...all bundled together to make a lovely epic of love, friendship, courage (big and small) and the daring willingness to try adventures great and small. I'd recommend this book for anyone needing a sense of joy!

1 person found this helpful

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The authors lack of research it distracting

The authors lack of knowledge and the fact that she did not do research on certain subjects within the book was distracting. A prime example is it’s clear the author has never been white water rafting. If she had, she would know that everyone in the boat cannot be out of the boat in the river at the same time or no one would get back into the boat. She would know that it is not possible to Pee off the side of a boat by hanging one’s rear over the side. The sides of the inflatable raft are too wide and the river too unpredictable oh, your feet would have to be off the ground and he would have to be hanging by the ropes, and the guide would never allow that for liability sake if not your own personal safety. She would know that you can’t get off the boat unless you are in absolute still waters or the rocks will take you. And she would know that regardless of how strong you are, you cannot get back into the boat by yourself and it only takes one person to get you back into the boat by using your personal flotation device not pulling on arms because the weight of the water beneath you will pull you down. As a writer myself, I am surprised that any author would write about something she doesn’t know without researching it. All she would’ve had to do was go on one rafting trip anywhere in the United States, because everything I’ve just said was covered in the initial safety briefing every rafter hast to take regardless of the river.

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Not My Cup of Tea

struggled to finish. ugh. storyline was weak but all the mini stories were left hanging. not sure where joy comes into it. meh.

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Not my favorite

I found this audiobook very difficult to follow. I liked the author’s other books much better.

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honest

This book was such a lesson i reality and learning to feel life and reach out for it under the weight of pending dark circumstances . The importance of the female bond as only we know it.To truly open up and feel everything beautiful and painful while we still have time.

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Loved this heart warming story!

Erica writes with such elegant, beautiful description. Absolutely loved this story of adventure, women loving each other, truly seeing one another and growing stronger because of their tight bonds of friendship.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable.

Fast read. I related to Kate especially. Fun. Would recommend to all my women friends.

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    5 out of 5 stars

So glad to have met diverse and interesting women

Would you consider the audio edition of Joy for Beginners to be better than the print version?

As I have not read it but only listened so I can not compare. Audio is wonderful at brining the the characters alive--Erica Baurmeister's books are great to listen to as they flow in a very conversational manner. I have always enjoyed being dread to.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the idea of Kate giving each of her friends a challenge after her own challenge.If I knew her, I wonder what challenge she would have given me.

Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

As always excellent --of course she reads several authors works that I enjoy--Adriana Trigiani and Jodi Picoult--to name two.

If you could take any character from Joy for Beginners out to dinner, who would it be and why?

They are all invited to my house for dinner I would like to know them and I have very good friends I would like them to know; which is why I will be recommending the book to my friends.

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed Erica Bauermeister's previous books as well as JOY FOR BEGINNERS. She has a wonderful talent to create original well rounded interesting characters, wich put into realistic life situations with surroundings and environments that are articulately described. Her books flow well. I am amazed at the knowledge she has in so many diverse subjects in this case bread making, throwing pottery, tattoos, and the Colorado river. A very rewarding read.