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"I've planted my feet on Fijian earth, and I intend to stay here until the last sunset. Why don't you join me? Leave behind everything that didn't work out!"
When Sina, Maya, Ingrid, and Lisbeth each receive a letter in the mail posing the same question, the answer is obvious. Their old high school friend Kat - Kat the adventurer, Kat who spread her wings and took off as soon as they graduated - has extended the invitation of a lifetime: Come live with me on my cocoa farm in Fiji. Come spend the days eating chocolate and gabbing like teenagers once again, free from men, worries, and cold. Come grow old in paradise, together, as sisters. Who could say no?
Now in their 60s, the friends have all but resigned themselves to the cards they've been dealt. There's Sina, a single mom with financial woes; gentle Maya, who feels the world slipping away from her; Ingrid, the perennial loner; Lisbeth, a woman with a seemingly picture-perfect life; and then Kat, who is recently widowed. As they adjust to their new lives together, the friends are watched over by Ateca, Kat's longtime housekeeper, who oftentimes knows the women better than they know themselves and recognizes them for what they are: like "a necklace made of shells: from the same beach but all of them different". Surrounded by an azure-blue ocean, cocoa trees, and a local culture that is fascinatingly, joyfully alien, the friends find a new purpose in starting a business making chocolate: bittersweet, succulent pieces of happiness.
A story of love, hope, and chocolate, Pieces of Happiness will reaffirm your faith in friendship, second chances, and the importance of indulging one's sweet tooth.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lili on 08-31-17
Uneven in both story and narration
Any additional comments?
I found the premise of the book quite appealing, not so much the execution. First of all it at times felt kind of jarring and disjointed. The women receive their letters to come live with their lifelong friend in Fiji, to essentially give up their current lives and spend their remaining years in "paradise". All the women are in their sixties, and this is an extraordinary chance for them to come together and reinvent their remaining years among life long friends.
The next chapter is essentially about six weeks after they arrive on the island. Hmmm. Seems like their initial reactions and adapting to this new place and life would have been interesting, but all that is skipped.
The narration is also rather jarring. Some of the characters, especially the housekeeper, are voiced beautifully. But most of the male characters sound alike, and all sound like clueless idiots, and the main female characters...they sound different, but are hard to keep straight who is who. But the worse part is the fights. Often out of the blue one woman will react to something said with extreme anger...and the narrator gets very loud and intense and it almost feels threatening to listen to, and you may find other people around you suddenly startled if they walk by the room you're in and hear what you're hearing.
At the same time there are excellent passages, some of the Fijian phrases used are beautiful, and some of the reflections on life are insightful. One of the highlights of the book is a character that has slowly progressing dementia. When the author writes how that character is experiencing her world it is both heartbreaking and brilliant. And it may give you some insight if someone you know is suffering from Alzheimer's.
So overall not a favorite book of mine, but has its moments.
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