Book Review: Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult…

This is my 4th review of a Jodi Picoult book so you can say i like her books… a lot. i have read way more than four of her books and have liked each one. But i have only started writing reviews a few years ago.

This one took me a long time to finish because i got really emotional about the story and the characters; so much so that i had to stop a few times, take a break from it, then carry on again.

Picoult’s books are always emotionally draining to read (not a bad thing) because readers will come to care for her characters very much.

51a3hqmpafl-_sx315_bo1204203200_The gist of this story involves Paige, whose mother left her when she was five, and she always felt like she is missing something because of that. Her father tried his best but being a man from a generation which did not express themselves very much, it was hard on Paige. She leaves her hometown, hoping to get into art school in Chicago but ends up falling in love and marrying an ambitious young doctor, who seemed the perfect man. But when they have a baby, her past secrets and doubts about her self-worth and ability as a mother cause her to run as she tries to find answers in her past in order to come back a better mother/person.

This story hits close to home for me because which woman has not doubted herself when she first became a mother. i doubt myself, even now, sometimes. While Paige struggled with her doubts, i remembered how i felt when struggling with similar issues. i also got really angry at her doctor husband who seemed so absorbed in his career and his own family issues. i wished i could have gone into the book and shaken him awake, and i wished i could have said to Paige, “You are doing just fine.”.

If you are a first-time mother reading this, please know that you don’t struggle alone and that you are doing just fine.

By the time i was half-way through the book, i was begging for a quick resolution. But Picoult was not done. There was more to explore and it is worth the effort to stay with the story and worth the wait as the resolution is good.

Picoult has done well exploring the theme of motherhood, not just from Paige’s point of view but also from the viewpoint of her run-away mother and her rather famous and strong-willed mother-in-law.

i am not going to say much more about the story because i want you to enjoy it for yourself. So go read it and let me know what you think.

Here are some other reviews of Picoult’s books: 2013, 2015, 2016.

syc

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State of the Garden…

This summer has been soooo hot and dry that there has been an open fire and fireworks ban. So there were no fireworks for the 1st August celebrations of the Swiss National Day. Some people were happy about that, some not.

But what concerned me was what all that hot sunshine did to my garden. Of course, my dear friend did a great job caring for my garden while i was away but then she stopped once the husband came back and the husband forgot to water the plants (usually it’s not a problem to leave them for a week or so without watering). And this is what happened!

stateofgarden20180824aNow it’s not all about dying plants. The pear tree has done exceptionally well!!

stateofgarden20180824bi think i have managed to rescue the pumpkins but we will have to wait and see if the campanula will come back. In the meantime, i’m undecided when i should harvest the pears. They are not quite ready but the winds are knocking lots of them off the tree. We’ll see.

syc

In Singapore…

We were in Singapore for our annual visit for about 4 weeks plus, during the summer holidays; it’s the longest we have been there at a stretch since Tobias was a newborn.

It was hot and humid, as always. But it was absolutely fab to see family and friends and, of course, to eat all the yummy foods we missed.

We went a little earlier this year; a dear friend was getting married. So happy for her! It was a lovely wedding ceremony and dinner, with cute, heartwarming little touches throughout. Well done, you two!! The attention to detail was impressive! Because this friend also knew my family, she invited them too and that gave us a rare opportunity to take a very nice family portrait.

singapore20180824aThen we settled into the routine of rushing with the crowds of people on public transport on our way to meet various family and friends for laughter and food. We also got in our exercise in the forms of leisure swimming and some squash games.

singapore20180824b

singapore20180824ci am so proud that my brother did Hair for Hope, to raise funds for Children’s Cancer Foundation. He shaved his head, together with members of the 501st Legion (made up of people who enjoy dressing up as Star Wars characters and doing volunteer/charity events).

There was a sad side to our visit this year. Just before we arrived, we heard that a friend had passed away from a second stroke. Our thoughts are with his dear wife and children and family. We also visited another friend in the hospital, whom we had lost contact with for a long time; she was in the final stages of cancer. We were able to say our goodbyes before she passed away, a few days before we flew out of Singapore. Rest In Peace.

singapore20180824dLast but not least, my boy talked his grandparents into keeping hamsters for him again. This time we got 2… Meet Finn and Poe! Can you guess who they are named after?

Oh, my boy also bought his very own gaming laptop, which he saved for 2 years for! He was a very happy boy that day we bought it.

It was a slightly tiring but good trip.

syc