From a bracing new voice comes this life-affirming memoir of a daughter making and remaking her life in her mother’s image.
Sifting gingerly through memories of her late mother, brilliant newcomer Sarah McColl has penned an indelible tribute to the joy and pain of loving well. Even as her own marriage splinters, McColl drops everything when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, returning to the family farmhouse and laboring over elaborate meals in the hopes of nourishing her back to health. In a series of vibrant vignettes―lipstick applied, novels read, imperfect cakes baked―McColl reveals a woman of endless charm and infinite love for her unruly brood of children.
Mining the dual losses of both her young marriage and her beloved mother, McColl confronts her identity as a woman, walking lightly in the footsteps of the woman who came before her and clinging fast to the joy she left behind. With candor reminiscent of classics like C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, Joy Enough offers a story that blooms with life.
Praise for JOY ENOUGH:
“The Best New Books to Read This Week”—Hello Giggles
“Most Anticipated Books of 2019”—BookRiot
Best Books of the Month: Memoir/Biography—Amazon
“Written with enough beauty to stop clocks ticking and heart’s beating… McColl’s resonant first book is resplendent with love, and the hope she finds in discovering that her unfathomable grief also carved a space for more profound joy.”—Annie Bostrom, Booklist (starred review)
“In this compact memoir, newcomer McColl details her memories of the most amazing person she’s ever known—her mother. The author spent a year and a half caring for her dying mother even as her own young marriage fell apart. […] It is only by wading knee-deep in grief that she learns how to start living again.”—The Library Journal
“The true star of Joy Enough is McColl’s charming mother, who with a kind of dignity and poise that stands at equal remove from the starlet and the soccer mom comes to represent a kind of woman, a type of feminism, that is quickly shrinking in society’s rearview mirror. Her death looms as large as the end of an epoc.” – The Brooklyn Rail
“Joy Enough is so compelling that I stayed up most of the night while traveling by train in a sleeper car. Sarah McColl’s exquisite memoir is the perfect balm for anyone who has experienced the sharp sting of loneliness or inhabited the liminal space between grief and happiness.”—Michele Filgate, writer and contributing editor at LitHub
“Sarah McColl’s Joy Enough resonates with the immediacy of a love letter and the dark wonder of a dream. A tender, candid, force field of an elegy, compressed and expansive at once.”—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship
“What if the greatest love you ever had was your mother? In sensuous and elliptical prose, Sarah McColl takes us into the small spaces that contain a life, revealing both the emptiness left by the loss of her mother and the joy that endures. I was intoxicated by this book from start to finish. McColl has a superfan now.”—Sarah Hepola, author of Blackout
“In beautiful, spare prose, Sarah McColl offers an elegant and deeply-felt meditation on loss that is steeped in the pleasures of this life: in good bread and soft sweaters, friendship, flirtation, and especially love.”
—Kirstin Valdez-Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas
“How can a memoirist take as her subject such a dark night of the soul―a simultaneous divorce and the death of a beloved mother―and forge such greedy, life-affirming grace? Sarah McColl’s dense and lyrical narrative vignettes are rich with insight and enlivened with humor. Joy Enough will fill every reader with joy.” —Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs
“Joy Enough is a diamond in book form, a beauty forged by the weight of loss and learning. It stunned me with its taut clarity, with the way it probes – quietly, gently, unflinchingly – the parts of life that a lot of us don’t like to look at: death, divorce, the pleasures and pitfalls of the body. This may be Sarah McColl’s debut, but it’s a towering achievement by any standard. McColl has a rare talent, and it shines.”—Molly Wizenberg, author of A Homemade Life and Delancey
“Beautifully tender; a deceptively delicate slow-burn story of grief and love and the desire to hold close those we love.”—Sophie Mackintosh. Booker Longlisted author of The Water Cure
“Some books are so profound they need to be shared immediately. Others are so sacred, you can’t bear to loan them out. Joy Enough is both―so consider buying two copies.”—Piper Weiss, author of You All Grow Up and Leave Me
“Oh, my heart. Joy Enough is a stunningly beautiful and meditative map of loss―a mother, a marriage, an idea of what life is supposed to be. In prose both poetic and laser-focused, Sarah McColl gives us the seemingly small and gut-punch memories that make up the truth about living through loss and living through love: a garden, a grocery list; a regret, a realization; that thing he said that we wish we could forget and that thing she said that we’ll carry with us for the rest of our goddamn lives. I will carry this book with me for the rest of my goddamn life: a manual, a friend, an inspiration.”—Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life
More from Sarah McColl:
“The Perverse Pleasure of Grief” – Modern Loss
“A Life of Contentment and Joy Doesn’t Mean Avoiding Experiences with Loss and Grief” – Interview with Gretchen Rubin