Author and federal government contracting officer Terren Grimble found paradise in the book that changed her life.
What book changed your life?: A Fool’s Paradise by Nancey Flowers Harris
Tell me about the book: Smart and sassy Anne-Marie Saunders has three passions: her boyfriend Donovan, her education, and a desire to travel. The problem is that she can’t have all three. Anne-Marie spent her entire life in Jamaica and is eager to depart from her native land by way of education. It will not be easy to leave her family, especially her beloved father, Trevor, who named her “Star” the day she was born. However, her greatest hold to the island may be her boyfriend Donovan Miller, a beautifully bronzed man with his Chinese mother’s eyes. Although Donovan gives Anne-Marie good love, his possessiveness shows her a different side, especially when she finds out that she is pregnant and tells him that she still wants to go to school in America.
Why did it impact you? It was a vivid and fascinating coming-of-age story that made me smile and cry. The story spoke to my mind, spirit and soul. Nancey’s descriptive writing made me feel like I was in Jamaica right there living with these memorable characters. I liked the realism and tension of the various situations and didn’t feel that she gave us drama just for the sake of it. I liked that almost every character learned something from their actions and behavior. I really connected with the reoccurring themes in the book: the search for parents’ love and acceptance, mother-daughter relationships, sibling rivalry, male/female relationships and father-son relationships. The ending was was poignant and touching. I actually felt my heart skip a beat.
I had been writing short stories since middle school but it was only a hobby that I didn’t think much about. I just enjoyed it. But reading A Fool’s Paradise made me want to be a better writer. And Nancey encouraged me to not only continue writing but take it to the next level and publish my own novel. I took her advice and a number of years later, my first novel, Love Lessons was published.
Is there anything you would like to add? I have learned that every great writer is also an avid reader. I continue to read so I will continue to grow as a writer. Books continue to change my life.