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Jim and Louella's Homemade Heart-fix Remedy Hardcover – August 13, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (August 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385503776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385503778
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,893,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an unusual testament to the undying power of love, Berry (Redemption Song; The Haunting of Hip-Hop) builds her third novel around the sexual reawakening of a middle-aged couple. When Jim, in his early 60s, and Louella, in her late 50s, begin to experience a downturn in their love life, Louella is visited by dreams of ancestors bearing advice on how to rekindle the flames. A marathon-length spell of torrid sex ensues and is followed by even more miraculous developments: Jim and Louella learn to read minds, becoming privy to the secret pain, frustration and vanity of the inhabitants of their small country town. Their strange transformation leads them on a magic-realist journey into the heart of their community, allowing them to stoke long-dead or dwindling sexual fires, end jealousies and destroy ancient fears. Berry's lack of pretension and focus on the humorous side of redemption make her daring premise work. Communicating a belief that all people are inherently good and that negativity is but a manifestation of buried pain the novel works both as an entertaining narrative and a parable of love. The informal "remedies" include a focus on the individual ("Everybody gotta do what works for them"), homespun metaphors ("sadness and pain can creep on you like a weed takes over a yard") and moments of revelation that stress admitting flaws in oneself and then eliminating them ("Lord, help my brother here to be strong, and then Lord, show him where he's wrong"). Extremely sexually explicit at turns, the novel is perhaps not for the prudish; but the book, for all its sexual content, isn't really about sex: it's about how cultivating a spiritual life improves not only sexual experience, but all aspects of human existence. (Aug. 13)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Jim and Louella Parsons live in a small Georgia town where everyone knows each other's business. After 26 years of marriage, husband and wife are so comfortable with one another that they are having difficulty keeping the fire in their love life. Louella calls on her ancestors Aunt T, Grandma, and Sadie for love guidance, and is instructed to follow a five-day regimen that sparks three days of lovemaking. Jim and Louella emerge with an awesome discovery--they can intuit the troubles of their neighbors and even help others with their love issues. They become more than just the talk of the town as folks from all over begin to seek their counsel. Eventually the couple learns their gift has descended to them through Jim's family and that this type of heart fixing has been going on for centuries. Berry has written another thought-provoking and entertaining novel about love and the power of the heart. Lillian Lewis
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

I had to purchase this book for school.
The depth and human-ness of this story, told with such a fresh and bold voice, truly captivated me.
Jennifer S. Willis
I don't think I'vc ever laughed so hard while reading a book!
B. Ruiz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Brown Girl VINE VOICE on September 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jim and Louella's Homemade Heart-Fix Remedy: A Novel is a delightful, anecdotic little book that is a welcomed break from the drama-filled fiction of late. The central characters, Jim and Louella, are a middle-aged, devoted Christian couple that discover a "gift of hearing" while rekindling their love life (which is rather steamy for an older couple). Jim and Louella, believing that all gifts from God should be shared, begin offering advice to their friends and neighbors on matters of the heart. Rumors of the "love couple" travel fast and their home is quickly overrun by the lovesick townsfolk in search of counsel. Much to their surprise they find some very lonely, neglected, and abused souls in their midst and quickly learn that despite their best intentions the outcome is not always what is expected.
Told largely in Louella's point of view, the reader will enjoy her sense of humor, her witty retorts, and her self-proclaimed "country" ways. The book has a wonderful cast of supporting characters that symbolically represent the good, the bad, the lost, and confused. Berry delivers a powerful message at the end, which we have come to expect as demonstrated in earlier works such as Redemption Song and The Haunting of Hip Hop. Her fans will not be disappointed because she is still on target with her keen storytelling ability and lyrical writing style. This little book is a keeper!
APOOO Bookclub
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "thebooknymph" on November 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book very much. It is the story of Jim and Louella Johnson, an over-the-hill black couple who are having trouble in the love department. Louella conjures up her dead female relatives to ask their advice...the dead women appear to her in a dream and offer her some very savy sex tips on how to add a spark to Louella and Jim's love life. She follows their directions, and Boy-Howdy, things do start to perk up around the Johnson household.
The story, to this point is very sweet, heart tugging and completely believable... but things get a little weird when both Jim and Louella realize that because of all their lovemaking, they now have the "gift" of reading people's minds. Between the two of them, they are privy to the secrets in the "downstairs" of the souls of everyone in town. To make things stranger still, Jim's long lost brother shows up, to explain how the "gift" is a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation, and that Louella has received the gift because of her loving relationship with Jim.
Armed with the "gift" the couple decides that they should help people find love. The walking wounded they try to teach to "walk in love" include a farmer with a hygiene problem who's wife doesn't want him any more, a dysfunctional librarian who distrusts people, a prostitute dying of cancer, and a crossing guard who molests children. All this mind-reading and reaching-out makes the Johnsons suspect among their neighbors and not everyone is happy with their do-gooding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By thesavvybamalady VINE VOICE on August 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know how she does it, but Dr. Berry takes a story about ordinary people and try to teach us a lesson in the midst of it. I got this book yesterday, and I wish I could better describe it, but I will try. You have this middle age couple that was in a love rut, well the wife, Louella dreams up her dead female relatives one night, who tell her what to do in the love department, and chile, some of those love scenes in that book would probably rival some of Zane's stuff(which is racy)yet,to keep to the story, the couple gets out of the love rut, and come find out,they have the gift of knowing what is in people's minds, so much so, that they help, as well as frighten some of the townspeople into doing what is right.There were times that I had to put the book down and think on some of the things that was said because although it was fiction, it was if it was talking to me. At any rate, GET THIS BOOK!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There are only a few things better than reading a book that is entertaining and has lessons to live by; this book was just that. Bertice Berry has simple, thought-provoking sayings throughout her book that take you back to the times spent down south on the porch listening to your elders, with their wisdom and all. She also reminds us in a funny and enjoyable way that our sex lives do not have to be routine or nonexistent because of age or familiarity with our spouse/mate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes we don't recognize that the wisdom of our elders --- living or dead ---often holds the answers to our biggest problems.
Louella Parsons had certainly forgotten this, but very early on in JIM AND LOUELLA'S HOMEMADE HEART-FIX REMEDY, Louella is reminded. In an enchanting and enchanted dream, Louella is visited by her grandmother, her mother and her aunt, all voices of tried and true, down-home, country wisdom, tweaked with a dash of surprising spice. Louella explains to her predecessors her simple, familiar plight: married for twenty-six years to Jim, they have become complacent and their romance routine. Her female ancestors give her very powerful advice, promising her rejuvenation of body and soul if she can adhere to the basic rules they lay before her.
To put the spark back in the bedroom --- and, actually, every room in the house! ---they must spend three days limiting their sexual activities as dictated by Louella's long-dead kin. While taking advice from the dead and buried may seem bizarre, in REMEDY it's absolutely charming-and successful!
Written in a folksy, comforting and accessible style, the advice to Jim and Louella goes something like this --- on day one, they can talk about intimacy, but they cannot act. On the second day, they can touch, but they cannot taste. On the final day they are limited to tasting, but nothing else. These scenes are tantalizing, teasing, and enough to jumpstart anyone's libido. Berry builds a loving, sexual tension of great power, until, finally, on the fourth day, Louella and Jim can't keep their hands off each other.
But they don't just recapture their love life-they reinvent it.
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