Today I’m handing over the reins to Mandie who has a review of Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg. First things first – here’s what the book is all about and also a wonderful guest post from Patricia about some of the different paths famous authors have taken to become writers..
The Official Book Blurb
A humorous read about an incredible dog and how he found his true, yet unexpected calling.
A dog. A friendship. A purpose.
Proven to warm your heart, “Joyful Trouble” is a fast-paced, engaging and funny story.
Patricia Furstenberg paints a charming portrait of the bond between a small girl and boy and their much-loved Grandad. This book takes readers on an unbelievable journey, tackling universal themes and voicing animal rights and the importance of fighting for what is right.
When a Great Dane arrives in a Navy base nobody expects him to win everybody’s hearts, although breaking some rules along the way. But things soon turn sour as somebody threatens to put him to sleep. Who will stand up for this four-legged gentle giant?
A charming celebration of innocence.
The Long Path to Becoming a Writer
Writing is a fascinating endeavor. There is the labor of producing that finished manuscript, but there is something else to it as well, often overlooked. The path which brought an author to writing. For so many of us writing has not been the first career choice.
‘The Queen of Crime’, Agatha Christie, had first volunteered as a nurse during World War I, taking care of injured soldiers and helping medical doctors in an army hospital in Devon. She worked as a volunteer for over 3 000 hours between October and December 1914. It was the next year that she chose to specialize as a pharmacist. This job paid sixteen Pounds per annum, but it brought her a wealth of knowledge. Later, Christie used thirty different poisons in her crime novels!
Sophie Hannah, the woman who revived Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot in ‘The Monogram Murders’ and ‘Closed Casket’, had a secretarial job fresh out of university. She went through writing four poetry books and tried her hand at a few crime novels, but it took her four days in child labor before her first really big breakthrough, “Little Face, a dark psychological crime novel.
Anne Rice, gothic and Christina writer, came from a poor family. After her mother’s death, when Anne was fifteen years old, she and her sisters were placed by their father in St Joseph’s Academy, a place Rice describes as ‘something out of Jane Eyre’. Later on, struggling to make ends meet, Rice had to interrupt her studies and work as a cook, a waitress and later in insurance. Rice was 32 years old when she began working on ‘The Vampire Chronicles’.
Harper Lee studied law and was working as an airline reservation agent, writing fiction in her spare time. Lee received an unusual Christmas present from her friends in 1956, a year’s wages and a note: ‘You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.’ After many years and many drafts, ‘Go Set a Watchman’ becomes ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. It was published when Lee was 34 years old and it won her a Pulitzer Prize.
‘I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.’ (Harper Lee)
Elena Ferrante is the pseudonym of a mysterious Italian writer, author of ‘Neapolitan Novels’ which includes ‘My Brilliant Friend’ and ‘The Story of the Lost Child’ which appeared on The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2015. Over the years, much has been speculated, but not much known about the true identity of the woman behind Ferrante. Italian journalist Claudio Gatti made public in October 2016 his investigation, revealing the woman who wrote half a dozen novels under the Elena Ferante nom de plume. But perhaps the true identity of this librarian and German translator by day, novelist by night, is not all that important.
On her anonymity, Ferrante once said: ‘Once I knew that the completed book would make its way in the world without me, once I knew that nothing of the concrete, physical me would ever appear beside the volume—as if the book were a little dog and I were its master—it made me see something new about writing. I felt as though I had released the words from myself.’
Because, no matter how long or how windy the path towards writing is, once we’re on it and we know this is where we truly belong, nothing else matters but putting one foot after another, one word after another. And moving forward.
In closing, as for me, I started my career as a Dentist! Hmm, come to think of it, both Dame Christie and I started our careers as medical professionals! *smile*
Joyful Trouble is a book based on a true story of a Great Dane that served in the Navy in South Africa during WW2. The story is told by a grandfather to his two grandchildren, 5 year old Tommy and 9 year old Anna.
Throughout the book you get the sense of how proud the grandfather had been serving in the Navy and being given the responsibility of looking after Joyful Trouble once he had enlisted. You also saw the love between the grandfather and the grandchildren.
Despite this being a book for children I found myself chuckling at times reading about some of the things that the dog got up to that resulted in him effectively being adopted by the Navy (such as the seamen trying to hide him on the trains to stop him being thrown off in order to save him from being destroyed. As a big dog lover (I have 4 that are currently lounging on my sofas as I write this) it was really nice to read a story that showed how much fun and joy a dog can bring into someone’s life, even down to the toy dog that Tommy takes everywhere with him.
Overall this is a very charming book that I would recommend to any of my friends with children. I could even see a resemblance between Anna’s inquisitive questioning and my friends granddaughter. I think that it is best suited for children aged around 6 – 7, the pace and the language used is one that will keep them engaged in the story until the end.
A very enjoyable and sweet 4 stars.
Thanks to author Patricia Furstenberg for the advance copy of Joyful Trouble for review. It was released on 17th April and is available from the following retailers:
About the Author
Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. She usually writes at her kitchen table, early morning while the kettle hums or in her car, while she waits for her children to come out from school. “When I write, I write,” she usually says. When she’s not writing she likes to read, listen to music, dance and bake.
One of the characters portrayed in her children stories is Pete, the yellow toy elephant. Not many know, but Pete exists and lives in Pat’s home.
This Romanian born writer is living happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.
Patricia Furstenberg Author Page and Blog: http://alluringcreations.co.za/wp/
You can also follow Patricia on the following sites: