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Shelter Me

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,814 ratings  ·  758 reviews
In the tradition of Marisa de los Santos and Anne Tyler comes a moving debut about a young mother's year of heartbreak, loss, and forgiveness...and help that arrives from unexpected sources

Four months after her husband's death, Janie LaMarche remains undone by grief and anger. Her mourning is disrupted, however, by the unexpected arrival of a builder with a contract to add
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Avon Books (first published December 30th 2008)
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Community Reviews

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This book is so amazing, especially since the author, Juliette Fay, admits she's never been widowed and that this book stemmed from her obsessive fear of losing her husband at a young age. In my case, this book was like looking in a mirror. There were times when I had to put it down and walk away as my sobbing disrupted my young daughter's play. Fay really reaches into that deep, dark place we widows walk daily in her beautiful yet flawed character. The young widow's attitudes, anger, restentmen ...more
Story about a woman who lost her husband in a bicycle accident, and how she must learn to carry on, with her young son and baby daughter. Of course she's mad, and doesn't want to get up in the morning, that's expected. This is about her friendships and how they eventually bring her out of the worst of the grieving period.

I didn't like this nearly as well as the others who have already reviewed it. Seemed like so much of it was drivel, not important to the story. Just boring parts. Maybe it was j
Mar 29, 2009 Staci rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Staci by: Target Book Club and Heather
Shelves: 2009-reads
From my blog:

This is a new author to me and one that I will definitely be reading more of in the future. This book was truly a great read. I enjoyed how the author went between entries of Janie's journal and then back to the story. I loved Janie's character and even loved her when she would get pissed off and throw a fit. She misses her husband so much that she is drowning in the day-to-day monotony of life. With the help of her cousin and aunt, plus a few other c
I absolutely loved this book.
This is a story about a young widow left to raise two young children after the tragic death of her husband. He leaves behind a request to have a porch built on their house, a porch that will provide shelter for his family. There have been some discussions about the cover of the book. When I look at the cover I see a mother and her child wrapped in a patchwork quilt. Each patch represents an event, a memory, and a person that has provided some sort of assistance to Ja
I will admit that I began reading this book assuming I wouldn't like it. Fay is one of my mother's good friends, and it's hard to imagine someone you know having the creativity and intelligence to publish a full-length novel, let alone a GOOD full-length novel. This book is also a genre I would not normally pick up/enjoy.

But read it I did, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I couldn't put the book down once I started- I had to find out what happened to the characters whom I quickly grew to
Apr 19, 2009 Juliette rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Okay, I'm listing my own book -- how weird is that. However I did read it ... way too many times!
Warning: there are some minor spoilers.
2.5 stars. Mom of two young kids deals with her newly widowed status. Takes place in Massachusetts, with scenes on the Cape, a hallmark of women’s fiction. You have to have a beach house somewhere, right? There are some lovely, real, and raw scenes and it’s easy to root for the main character. She is winsome and flawed and completely believable. I enjoyed her relationship with her Aunt Jude (side note: there are a lot of names starting with J in this book).
I hesitate to given this three stars without explaining that I think that three stars is a decent rating. The main character is a young woman with two children widowed suddently. The novel takes you through the first year following her husband's accident and all of her emotional adjustment and angst. I found myself somewhat annoyed with her at times because of her insular approach to things, not realizing how her behavior and emotions might be affecting those around her simply trying to understa ...more
Miko Lee

A widow with two small children learns about herself, her family and rediscovers love. At first I groaned another book that I picked up focused on a woman whose husband died, then as I got in to it I began to like the character. She is a Catholic woman who is really prickly, begins to fall in love with her priest and then falls for the guy who was predictable from the beginning – the carpenter (another bibilical reference!) who keeps adding work on the construction project to be near her. That w
This is the perfect 'take me away' book! Fay's easy to read prose allows the reader to immediately identify with her main character. Without spoiling the plot, this tale of a grieving single mom, will make even the greatest cynic into a romantic. I loved the characters, setting, and recipes! (A book with food--Yum!)
A tragic bike accident leaves a family of four struggling to adjust to life as a family of three. A young mother of two: a toddler and an infant, navigates her new life with the help of eccentric characters and friends.

This book, much unlike the others I have read lately, is not a thrilling, page turner. Instead, it moved slowly. Almost too slowly at times. I nearly put this book back on the shelf a number of times but chose to plod through it and am glad I did. While I think chunks of this 415
Jane Stewart
Depressing and unpleasant. I don’t like the subject. It’s grief and an unlikeable heroine.

This is women’s fiction with some romance at the end. Janie’s husband died in a bicycle accident. The story takes place during the subsequent year.

It’s hard to like a book when you do not like the main character Janie. She is antagonistic, snide, snotty, insufferably irritable, sarcastic, angry, hurting others, and disrespectful to others. One character said to her “You snarl and snipe a
I was really taken away by this story and in particular this author's writing style. The thing is it's not an unusual story line, however, the way the author presents it is what makes this book just so very enjoyable. About half way through I started worrying that it would be over. I didn't want the story to end! Lots of humor and wit in every page too. I would say run out to your library or to Target and buy this book!!
What started out as just another "chick-lit" novel became, for me, a truly enjoyable read with characters I really cared about. Sprinkled throughout this tale of love and loss (or more accurately loss and love) are words of wisdom, some humor and a great deal of realism.

This is Juliette Fay's first novel - I hope it will not be her last. I will certainly look for her in the future.
Juliette Fay's writing is wonderful. She can paint detailed scenes with her words. Unfortunately she wasted a lot of this book painting dull, mundane scenes. I skipped pages after pages of details about the sandwiches the protagonist made for lunch, what she packed for the Cape, what she chose at a bakery, etc. Too bad.
Heather Anastasiu
Oh dear, well this book was very good, wasn't it? Slower moving than a lot of the other books I read, but quite excellent. Strong characterization, a story of grief that's believable and so moving, at turns romantic, sad, funny. The poetic moments only happen occasionally, but when they do, they really stick. Janie is so great at breaking through other people's BS and just being like, cut the crap. Or maybe it's the grief that helps do that, combined with Janie's personality. Anyway, a really st ...more
Tania Martins
Foi uma batalha difícil este livro, ao inicio custou imenso a entrar na história mas do meio até ao fim do livro leu-se muito bem, a história de uma mulher de 40 anos que fica viúva (da forma mais estapafúrdia possível) e que tem de tomar conta de dois filhos pequenos (o miúdo era mesmo fofo e tinha umas tiradas muito giras) e lidar com a depressão causada pela súbita morte de um marido que amava profundamente, no meio de tudo isto tem de lidar com a tia que a ajuda, com a mãe com a qual tem uma ...more

What a wonderful little find this was.

Janey is a newly-widowed mother of 38. Her husband died in a motorcycle accident that likely wouldn't have been fatal but for his own carelessness. Janey's grief and anger - released on everyone except her infant daughter and toddler son - have just about consumed her when she finds out about her husband's last gift: a new porch.

She doesn't want this conspicuous reminder of the presence he had in her life and the absence she now has to face. And she especial
I can't say enough how enjoyable I found the experience of reading this book. From the very first page, I felt like I was a part of Janie's life and felt a strong kinship with her pain and heavy grief. Although I am not a mother, nor am I married, the writing style allowed me to empathise with Janie's struggles, rather than to pity her and to admire the strength it took her just to get out of bed in the morning. It made me wonder how I would react if I found someone that I was committed to lovin ...more
Mar 03, 2010 Robin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I read this book in less than 24 hours. It wasn't necessarily because it was such an amazing book but it was more because I have always wondered what I would do if my husband were to unexpectedly die. What decisions would I make? How would I respond? I was sucked into Janie's life as she dealt with this life altering event. I admired her commitment to her children as she slogged through the first year following her husband's death. I really enjoyed her Aunt Jude and her lessons in serving and se ...more
Steph Hundt
My sister told me to read this book after she finished it so I was quite sure I would love it. She knows exactly the kind of book I like. The last book she told me to read was The Help so she doesn't throw these recommendations around lightly!
I started this novel and fell headfirst into it within the first chapter! The characters are vivid, real, and flawed. Janie is a 38 year old mother with 2 young children in the grips of sorrow after the loss of her husband Robby in a freak bike accident.
Perhaps I should wait a day or two to write my thoughts about this book, since I just now finished reading it. I have been engrossed in it for the last two days. But my stack of books is tall, and I shouldn't wait lest I forget anything. I think I'll just make a list and see where it takes me.

1. I love the wonderful images Ms. Fay presents with her words.

2. I really, really dislike the foul language. When someone uses words as deftly and compellingly as this author, why would they resort to th
You wouldn't think a book about a 38-year-old new widow with two small children could be hilarious, hopeful, and uplifting, but "Shelter Me" does just that. Then there are scenes that are so heart-breakingly full of raw grief or sweet poignancy, that your eyes tear up. I think it's this rollercoaster of emotions that makes Janie LaMarche's first year of being a widow, putting the pieces of her life back together, feel so realistic and satisfying.

Janie LaMarche is such a delightful protagonist. I
So far, not liking it. The characters are sweet, but there are tons of tiny descriptive things in the book that are just not right for me. So not right, that they arrest me in the middle of sentences to re-write them. So not right, that she drops useful details so late in the story that you have already developed a different image in your mind in order to fill in what she has left blank.

Some examples:

She describes her baby as sleeping with her arms over her head as if she were "preparing to di
I'm really torn on this book. I really liked the style of writing, and it was nice to read a "modern" story since it seems like the last books I've been reading have all been in the future, the past, or in fantasy land. I read this book as a recommendation from a blogger, so I really didn't expect anything bad in this book. But once again - the language is horrible. And some of it is really unbelievable - like a priest using the Lord's name in vain and swearing - I'm sorry, but I just don't see ...more
Perhaps everyone that is married or in a long term relationship wonders how they would react if their significant other was prematurely lost to them due to an accident , I know that I have . This book is one woman's journey through that first year post-accident. It might not be how everyone would react or respond, but it rings true for this character. I did not agree with all of her choices yet I empathized with her during each one of them. Ms. Fay made me believe and care about Janie . What mor ...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
This is a moving story about a young mother's first year of widowhood. Her family is driving her crazy trying to "help", the local priest is perhaps TOO helpful, and topping it all off, a contractor shows up at her door to build a surprise porch her husband had commissioned months earlier. Through the day to day chaos and the challenges to face all of those "firsts" without her husband, a new life and perhaps a new love begin to form. Though often funny, this book does deal with the more serious ...more
I read this book in 4 days! It took me a couple of chapters to warm up to the characters (starting a new book is kinda like going on a blind date, you're never quite sure who's going to show up) but after I settled into the story I couldn't put the book down. It was heartfelt, well-written, brought you to tears but was peppered with enough smart, sarcastic humor to make it a thoroughly enjoyable read. I didn't want to say goodbye to these characters. I will highly recommend this book to anyone w ...more
Here's the thing: if you spend your life thinking the worst thing that could ever happen to you is to lose your amazing life partner, this book paints a picture of after the unimaginable.

But the first half of the book is awful. Way too long and way too weird because of Janie's almost hook-up with a priest. I was really afraid it would be one of those "I hate everyone in the book" books. But then it wasn't. It was more "you have to hate her before you can love her" kind of book.

And some decent
I listened to the audiobook and found this story engaging. The main character (Janie) is a woman in a difficult situation, showing how imperfectly people handle grief and stress. I understood her anger and frustration. I felt for her struggles to raise two little ones while dealing with her emotions.
I didn't get the whole Father Jake thing. I wish the author had left that part out completely---it didn't add anything to the story. A lot of trimming could have been done to make this a better book.
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Juliette is the author of SHELTER ME (HarperCollins 2009) a 2009 Massachusetts Book Award “Book of the Year,” and DEEP DOWN TRUE (Viking Penguin 2011) which was shortlisted for the Women's Fiction Award of the American Library Association.

Her latest, THE SHORTEST WAY HOME, was chosen for Library Journal's Best of 2012: Women's Fiction.

Juliette received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and
More about Juliette Fay...
Deep Down True The Shortest Way Home

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“Loneliness is painful. But suffering is not wrong in and of itself. It's part of the human experience, and in a way brings us closer to all people.” 15 likes
“The Magi in my life have always surprised me. They have often been people I initially felt I had nothing in common with. Sometimes I didn't even like them. But they came bearing gifts. Of wisdom, or acceptance. One or two came to give me a kick in the pants...and some left as suddenly as they came. They returned to their respective homelands or continued on their own journeys. I miss some of them... But we all have to find our way toward what ever miracle awaits us. And to perform miracles, when it is in our power to do so. Maybe the most important question is: how do I serve the Magi for others? How generously do I give my gifts - and not just to the obvious recipients in my life? How far out of my way do go to recognize and pay homage to miracles? Not very far some days. But on good days, just far enough. ” 9 likes
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