- Paperback: 399 pages
- Publisher: She Writes Press (October 3, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1631523082
- ISBN-13: 978-1631523083
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This Is How It Begins: A Novel Paperback – October 3, 2017
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"... Dempsey's fine first novel [is] notable for the evenhanded way it addresses hot-button issues. The result is a timely and memorable story." --BOOKLIST
"A gripping and sensitive portrait of ordinary people wrestling with ideological passions." --KIRKUS
"Dempsey's fine debut, set in 2009, explores how hate, fear, and intolerance cast a lifelong shadow. Current events have only made this gripping story more relevant." --LIBRARY JOURNAL
"... a thought-provoking and timely novel." --THE ADVOCATE
" ... [Dempsey's] talent is evident ... a fast-paced, entertaining read." --MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM
"... timely, suspenseful and powerful exploration of the ... conflict between religious freedom and civil rights ... a provocative hit." --KENNEBEC JOURNAL
"... [the novel] is nothing if not timely ... an enticing read." --MAINE WOMEN MAGAZINE
"... a page-turner ... a perfect book club choice for these contentious times." --HUNGRY FOR GOOD BOOKS
" ... a writer worth watching, a novel worth reading." --B. Lynn Goodwin, STORY CIRCLE BOOK REVIEWS
"A remarkable novel ... an essential story for our time." --MATTHEW GOODMAN, New York Times bestselling author of Eighty Days
"A spellbinding novel ... a moving adventure ..." --DR. EVA FOGELMAN, Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust
"A riveting story ... this striking debut is essential reading for our times." --JUDITH FRANK, Lambda Literary Award Finalist for All I Love and Know
"... a prescient road map for our times." --MARY RECHNER, author of Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women
"... a compelling story that seems to rise out of ... current national headlines." --FRANK O. SMITH, Bellwether Prize finalist for Dream Singer
About the Author
Winner of the 2017 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, and named by "Poets & Writers" magazine as one of "5 more over 50" writers to watch, Joan Dempsey is the author of the novel, This Is How It Begins, which won a bronze medal for literary fiction in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), and has been shortlisted for the 2018 Lambda Literary Award, the 2017 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award and the 2018 Sarton Women's Book Award. Joan received her MFA degree and teaching certificate in creative writing fromAntioch University, Los Angeles.
She was the recipient of a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation for her work on This Is How It Begins, a grant that took her to Warsaw for a month, and to Washington, D.C. for ten days to study in the archives at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Her writing has been published in "The Adirondack Review," "Alligator Juniper," "Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora", and "Plenitude Magazine," and aired on National Public Radio.
She lives inNew Gloucester, Maine with her partner and their family of animals. Learn more at thisishowitbeginsnovel.com.
Top customer reviews
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Art professor Ludka Zeilonka had survived Nazi Poland while saving Jewish children and hiding drawings documenting the occupation. She immigrated to America with her husband Izaac, who became the first Jewish attorney-general in Massachusetts. Their son Lolek is the state's most powerful senator, and his son Tommy is a well-liked high school English Teacher, married to lawyer Richard.
Tommy, along with thirteen other teachers, were all fired on the same day. The one thing they have in common is their sexual orientation. Tommy and his family become the target of hate crimes of increasing violence.
Influential Pastor Royce has an agenda and political ambitions. He is supported by radio host Warren Merck in a campaign to restore America to its Christian roots. They are behind the mass firing of teachers. Politically savvy, their defense is that Christian students feel marginalized and pressured against expressing their beliefs while being forced to accept the 'homosexual agenda' promoted by the fired teachers.
Merck is appalled by the rising violence, Tommy beaten in front of his house and his grandparent's home set on fire.
Ludka and Izaac return to their hometown in Poland, an emotional journey into a past they have tried to forget. Lukda finds the Jewish boy her family had protected and learns his devastating secret.
Ludka suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome. What is happening to Tommy is too much like what she experienced in Poland, too much like how the Holocaust began.
The topic of the novel, sadly, is more relevant today than ever: How can conflicting belief systems learn to live together? What does it mean to be protected under the law?
This is an amazing novel.
When I preordered this book, I didn’t read what it was about...It was the TITLE that grabbed me! And it was written by my Facebook friend, Joan Dempsey from my home state of Maine. Joan also works with writers to edit and promote their books.
I think of this book in 3 stages. The basis for the book sets it off showing a family and some distinctive features that flow from their heritage, war, and personal choices. Then the adversarial controversy that opens the reader’s eyes and minds about what the church “judges” and public “concerns” about sexuality. Throughout the book, we see the grandmother nurturing her “stolen” paintings. As an art professor, she travels back to Poland where she relives the horrific events of her memories. I never knew that people could have such strong feelings that unfold in these scenarios as I have always only been concerned with my being free to believe, speak and live my life without condescension. THIS IS HOW IT ALL BEGINS was written over the last 10 years but it really applies to today’s culture. It is literally happening in American culture as we see our rights being reversed by the US government today. Addressing the concerns of today and seeing that history repeats itself, this book brings all that to the surface. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in 2 sessions. Everyone should be aware and reading THIS IS HOW IT ALL BEGINS is a key to open people’s minds to awareness.
Most recent customer reviews
Personally, at times, I felt that it did not grab my attention.Read more
This is How it Begins by Joan Dempsey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
March 15, 2017
Ludka is a little old lady in a cozy, charming,...Read more