“There is a glass ceiling for women, Jack,” I stared at my painting in the dim light next to the washer and dryer. “And it’s made out of the people we love.” (p. 161)
Sixty-four year old Anne Koroda Duppstadt is the narrator for most of this novel, which tells of her life as an angry artist’s daughter, a retiring husband’s wife, and a bereft daughter’s mother. While wanting to be the best she can in each of these roles, she struggles against a bitter animosity toward her famous father for the way he so cruelly treated her as a child. She also seeks to develop her own skills as an artist, which her father consistently undermined.
As a daughter, wife and mother myself, I have often examined these roles in my own life. Where can the line be drawn between serving others and oneself? We don’t want to be selfish, nor do we want to be trodden upon…
Author Jean Davies Okimoto does a masterful job of showing us the heart of a woman who cares deeply for her family, while at the same time wanting to develop her own skills and courage. Confidence is difficult for her to attain, especially when her father and first husband belittled her efforts, or sought domination through their own anger conveniently labeled as an “artistic temperament”.
Yet her journey shows us how necessary it is to not be intimidated, but to confront our feelings and those who have helped form them, in order to avoid resentment. In order to forgive. In order to heal.
Jean Davies Okimoto is the recipient of the American Library Association “Best Books for Young Adults” Award, the International Reading Association’s Reader’s Choice Award, the IRA/CBC Young Adults’ Choice Award, the Parents’ Choice Award, the Washington Governor’s Award, the 1993 Maxwell Medallion for Best Children’s Book of the Year, and two of her books have been recognized as Smithsonian Notable Books. In 2007 she received the Green Earth Book Award from the Newton Marasco Foundation and in 2008 the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature honor book, a national award given by the Santa Monica Public Library.
In connection with her non-fiction title, Boomerang Kids: How to Live with Adult Children who Return Home, she has appeared on the Today Show, the CBS Morning Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and CNN. Her publishers include Atlantic Monthly Press, Putnam, Little, Brown & Co., Dell, Scholastic, HarperCollins, and the Simul Press in Japan which has published Japanese editions of her novels My Mother Is Not Married To My Father and It’s Just Too Much. Her short stories have also appeared in four Delacourte anthologies, Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults. Shelley Duvall produced an animated version of Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat for the series “Bedtime Stories” which was narrated by John Candy and appeared on HBO and Showtime.
Jean Davies Okimoto’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, June 1st: Book Club Classics
Wednesday, June 2nd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, June 7th: Lit and Life
Wednesday, June 9th: Rundpinne
Thursday, June 10th: Reading, ‘Riting, and Retirement
Monday, June 14th: Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, June 16th: Crazy for Books
Thursday, June 17th: Luxury Reading
Monday, June 21st: Erasing the Bored
Wednesday, June 23rd: Mooncat Farms Meanderings
Thursday, June 24th: carp(e) libris reviews
Monday, June 28th: Feminist Review