Sunday, January 22, 2012


A Life of Bright Ideas: A Novel

My Review:

"It's weird, though, how I never noticed until a few minutes ago, that this isn't one thick root, like I thought it was.  Look.  It's made up of many roots entwined together."  (Kring, p. 385)

That quote captures the powerful relationships at work in Kring's newest novel, A LIFE OF BRIGHT IDEAS.  Readers who fell in love with Winnalee and Button will be thrilled to revisit their friendship 9 years after they last parted in THE BOOK OF BRIGHT IDEAS.  Many things have changed in both Winnalee and Button's life, but the bonds of friendship are strong as ever.  I was so encouraged by Kring's portrait of strong female characters and the struggles real women face; love, body image, loss, motherhood and forgiveness.  I have to say that the 6 year wait to be back in Dauber was worth it.  Kring has a talent that cannot easily be described.  Her dialogue is rich; mixing humor and depth perfectly.  She weaves a story that compels a reader to keep turning pages.  Kring makes us feel the story in our hearts, because she feels it in hers.  I am so happy to have spent time back in Dauber with the girls and to see how everything turned out.  What a gift, a masterpiece, Kring gave to her faithful fans.   I highly recommend A LIFE OF BRIGHT IDEAS!!!! 

Book Description

February 7, 2012

A secret tore best friends Evelyn “Button” Peters and Winnalee Malone apart. Now, nearly a decade later, a secret brings them back together.

Nine years ago Button and Winnalee began recording observations in their Book of Bright Ideas, a tome they believed would solve the mystery of how to live a mistake-free life. Now it’s 1970, a time of peace, love, war, and personal heartbreak. Button’s mother is dead and her grieving father has all but abandoned his children. Quiet, thoughtful Button has traded college for a sewing job in her mother’s bridal shop to help her Aunt Verdella raise her whirlwind six-year-old brother. In Button’s free time, she writes letters to the boy she loved from afar through high school, hoping he will come to love her as more than a friend.

Then, like that magical Wisconsin summer of ’61, Button is greeted with the wild, gusty arrival of Winnalee. Now a beautiful flower child, Winnalee is everything Button is not. She’s been to Woodstock and enjoys “free love,” but their steadfast bond of friendship is tested as Button begins to notice the cracks in Winnalee’s carefree façade. And then Winnalee’s mother arrives with a surprise that Button never sees coming, and the fiery determination to put things right in both families once and for all.

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The Book of Bright Ideas


Book Description

May 30, 2006

Wisconsin, 1961. Evelyn “Button” Peters is nine the summer Winnalee and her fiery-spirited older sister, Freeda, blow into her small town–and from the moment she sees them, Button knows this will be a summer unlike any other.

Much to her mother’s dismay, Button is fascinated by the Malone sisters, especially Winnalee, a feisty scrap of a thing who carries around a shiny silver urn containing her mother’s ashes and a tome she calls “The Book of Bright Ideas.” It is here, Winnalee tells Button, that she records everything she learns: her answers to the mysteries of life. But sometimes those mysteries conceal a truth better left buried. And when a devastating secret is suddenly revealed, dividing loyalties and uprooting lives, no one–from Winnalee and her sister to Button and her family–will ever be the same.

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