Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Heart With Joy

Heart with Joy
Steve Cushman
Canterbury House Publishing

Heart With Joy is a coming of age novel about a young man named Julian Hale. In this novel the reader is presented with a young man who is different from most of his male friends. He enjoys spending time with his mom and cooking, he is helpful to neighbor, “Old Lady Peters”, and isn’t interested in dating a different girl every night. Julian is a shy and quiet boy who is confronted with the time in his life where he will transition into manhood. When Julian’s mom leaves home to care for her parents’ hotel in Florida, Julian is left alone with his dad, whom he has rarely seen or talked to. Over the course of this separation Julian meets key people who will shape and mold his life. He learns about love, purpose and true joy. Julian forms a relationship with his dad brought about by his moms’ departure. He learns that you never truly know a person until you spend time with them. It is a coming of age novel with a focus on filling your heart with one thing that gives you true joy and letting life happen around it, living a more purposeful life.

Heart With Joy was an easy and quick read. The book is written in a journalistic style in that it has fifty-two chapters and is 182 pages. This initially was a lot of chapters for me considering the length of the book. Mentally it threw me off that I was reading chapter five and still had 47 chapters left. Once I got into the novel this small issued disappeared. The story flowed easily and each chapter was short, preparing for the next. I enjoyed reading about a young man with a great character. He was respectful and honest. The novel was more about him learning to find something meaningful to him in life, something that would always give him joy no matter what else was happening. Julian learns about himself, about others and about love. He builds a relationship with his father that previously did not exist, realizing his assumptions and thoughts about his father were incorrect and based on judgment without knowledge. Julian learns important life lessons from his neighbor Mrs. Peters. His summer changes his life and Julian is left to choose what direction he wants his life to follow.

This novel was very uplifting and wholesome. It gives the reader a sense of pride to watch Julian grow into his own. It leaves the reader with reflection and thought about their own life and what makes them joyful or happy. The novel doesn’t end with every situation being happy, fixed or figured out. It ends with Julian’s self discovery and positive assurance about who he is and what makes him happy. Although it was short for me, this book is a wonderful young adult read. I would recommend it for readers age 12 and up. The novel is also a wonderful laid back afternoon read for adults.

Reviewed for Book Pleasures

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