The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee

Books that deal with heartbreak seem to be my go-to listen lately. Maybe that’s just because I know the plot will be interesting and engaging, but nevertheless, I find myself gravitating towards heart-squeezing family dramas. The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee is full of devastating consequences, yet heartwarming relationships that make you yearn for each character’s eventual happiness.

The Expatriates is the inter-woven tale of three American women living in Hong Kong. Each woman is a part of the same very small expat community. Their reasons for coming to Hong Kong as well as their personal and professional lives may be different, but the situations that they find themselves in all become intertwined rather quickly, sometimes without them even realizing it. (I was constantly reminded of the idea that we are only separated from someone else by six degrees of separation throughout this book. And also by the fact that the smallest action can change our lives so drastically.)

Mercy is a young Korean American who finds herself in Hong King after her graduation from Columbia. She has moved to Hong Kong looking for a change from the normal and the promise of a more lucrative job. Marcy is haunted by a terrible accident that happened to her recently. Hilary is a housewife whose marriage is on the rocks. She gave up the bulk of her career to follow her husband, David, to Hong Kong, so he could further his career. Hilary finds herself thinking over and over about her inability to have a child and how if she was only able to conceive, her marriage problems would evaporate. Margaret is a married mother of three who is forced to deal with a shattering loss that has destroyed her life and her family. She is having to find a new normal, something she must survive even if she isn’t quiet sure how to do so.

Mercy, Hilary, and Margaret soon find their lives to be thoroughly enmeshed together in was neither of them expected. Each woman must deal with their own separate issues and struggles, but soon they fins that there are many common threads linking them together. Consequences run rampant through their lives, dictating their decisions, their lifestyles, and their relationships. This book was very moving and I found myself listening to it obsessively to try to figure out how their lives were going to unfold.


This book is also available in the following formats:

Miss You Already

miss you alreadyCertain movies tug at your heart strings and leave you pulling for every character to get their happy ending. Miss You Already, starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette, had me rooting for their friendship to stay strong and last through whatever they faced.

Miss You Already is a very powerful story that follows two best friends, Milly and Jess, through life’s many challenges. The two have been friends since childhood and have lived through many secrets, pregnancies, boyfriends, weddings, and sharing of clothes. Inseparable for as long as they can remember, both Milly and Jess are certain their relationship can survive anything. A trip to the doctor hits Milly with life-altering news, something that sincerely tests their friendship, as well as Milly’s relationship with her husband and Jess’s relationship with her husband. Everything is flipped upside down as Milly and Jess forge out a new path through their shared lives and find that even though life throws you curveballs, true friendship will last forever.

Sugar and Spice

One of our own just had her first baby and in honor of the arrival of the newest Davenport Library patron, here is a list of some of our latest books on childbirth, babies and raising children.

dreambirthDreamBirth by Catherine Shainberg – Bringing a new life into the world is more than a biological process-it is the most profound act of creativity in the human experience.  With DreamBirth, this leading imagery expert offers practical exercises and guidance for harnessing our innate creative power throughout all four phases of childbirth-conception, pregnancy, labor, and post-partum care.

what to feed your babyWhat to Feed Your Baby by Stan Cohen – In this book, Dr. Stanley Cohen, a pediatric gastroenterologist and nutritionist with longstanding interest in infant nutrition, provides a practical and pragmatic approach to a major concern for new mothers. The author’s innovative, cost-sensitive methods can save both new and seasoned parents hundreds to thousands of dollars yearly and improve their families’ nutrition at the same time.

bumpologyBumpology by Linda Geddes – The moment she discovers she’s pregnant, every woman suddenly has a million questions about the life that’s developing inside her. In Bumpology , Geddes discusses the latest research on every topic that expectant parents encounter, from first pregnancy symptoms to pregnancy diet, the right birth plan, and a baby’s first year.

 

parenting beyondParenting Beyond Pink and Blue by Christia Brown – A guide that helps parents focus on their children’s unique strengths and inclinations rather than on gendered stereotypes to more effectively bring out the best in their individual children. When parents place less emphasis on gender, children are free to flourish in activities and ways that are authentic to them. Modern parents want to raise their children as unique individuals; Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue helps them break out of the restrictive pink or blue box.

artful parent2The Artful Parent by Jean Van’t Hul – Bring out your children’s creativity and imagination with more than 60 kids’ art activities. Art making is a wonderfully fun way for young children to tap into their imagination, deepen their creativity, and explore new materials, all while strengthening their fine motor skills and developing self-confidence.

 

Slesleepep: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Rachel Moon – Sooner or later, most parents face challenges at bedtime. From infants and toddlers, to school-age kids and adolescents, sleeptime problems can affect everyone in the family. And no matter what your child’s difficulty may be – getting to sleep, staying asleep, bed-wetting, fears or nightmares – it’s never too late to take steps to correct it.

baby bootiesBaby Booties and Slippers by Susie Johns – A new baby or toddler is the perfect excuse to get creative and what could be a more delightful gift than an adorable handmade pair of booties or slippers? This cute collection of 30 projects is packed full of gorgeous designs. From newborns to toddlers, there’s plenty here to keep those precious tiny toes warm in style, whether you want to make delicate and classic booties or funky themed slippers.

mama docMama Doc Medicine by Wendy Sue Swanson – Pediatrician, mother and blogger Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson helps decipher today’s conflicting medical opinions, offers helpful online resources, and shares what she’s learned over many years from her patients, friends and family in this enlightening guide to parenting. Using Dr. Swanson’s experience as a mother and physician, this book provides simple answers to the “how,” “what,” “why,” and “who” questions of parenting.

Good luck with your own little Storm-a-geddon Amber! You’re going to be an awesome Mom!

The Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankel

How do you define family? Is it just the people you’re related to by blood or by marriage? Or does it include the friends that stand by you through thick and thin? What about the people that leave but come back? And what about those that live on only in your memory? In a world that is constantly redefining itself, who do you call your family?

Despite their differences Janey, Jill and Katie become best friends, bound together by the common stresses of working as post-grad students in Seattle in The Atlas of Love. When Jill becomes pregnant and then is abandoned by the baby’s father, the three form a makeshift family and come together to raise Atlas themselves. Juggling teaching schedules, classes and child care at first seems just possible if everything goes smoothly, but of course, life is not smooth or predictable. Katie falls in love and decides to marry, Jill becomes depressed and begins to drift away and Janey struggles to hold everything together by herself. Then Atlas’ absent father returns and the little family is thrown into chaos. The resulting turmoil of anger, fear, concern and yes, love means that while almost everything is different, one thing stays the same – family. Family that is no longer defined by rigid rules, but is flexible enough to encompass all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, all drawn to one common goal – to love and support each other no matter what.

Narrated in Janey’s wry voice, this book moves from laugh-out-loud funny to infuriating to sweet and sad as these young women define and redefine their own improvised family.