ExLibris_Kate's Reviews > The Underside of Joy

The Underside of Joy by Seré Prince Halverson
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's review
Jan 02, 2012

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Read from January 11 to 13, 2012

The Underside Of Joy had a lot of sadness and frustration in it. Ella met Joe right after her own marriage fell apart in the aftermath of fertility problems. Almost immediately they fell int the rhythm of a family and never spoke of Joe's ex-wife, Paige. It is after Joe's sudden death that the family Ella worked so hard to create starts to fall apart. Joe's death is heartbreaking enough, but the descriptions of telling the children, of meeting Paige for the first time and the uncertainty of the future was deeply emotional and sad. You really felt Ella's confusion and desperation to try to keep her family together. It was so gut wrenching at times that I had to take a break because I found the book to be so emotionally stressful.

I was a bit frustrated with the character development in this story. I felt as if the author wanted us to feel for Paige, but she didn't really give me a reason to sympathize with her until the very end. It was a very difficult situation for everyone and I kind of wished I had gotten more from Paige's side of things. Both women struggled with issues that afflicted millions of families and it seemed odd that the reader only really gets to know one of them. In the end it was a story about two women, each with their own painful pasts, and their own ideas of what is best for two kids. It explores the complicated situation and feelings that arise when someone dies and leaves more questions that answers. Overall, despite some unevenness in character development, it was an interesting and emotional read.


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