When I first started CLC in 2010, I wrote a tribute to Sue Margolis because she had no online presence and wasn't available for interviews at the time. However, I loved her books so much that I wanted her to get the publicity she deserved! I got my wish to connect with Sue when she finally created an online presence about a year later. Since then, we e-mail or Facebook message each other from time to time, especially when Orange is the New Black is on! We also talk about Judaism, children, and other fun topics. I'm hoping we'll finally get to meet in person when she's next in the US to visit her family. In the meantime, I'm honored and thrilled to feature her at CLC on my birthday! Such a nice treat, and not only for me.
Sue worked as a reporter for the BBC, before leaving broadcasting to write her first novel. She lives in London with her journalist husband Jonathan. They have three grown-up children (and now grandchildren, as well). Sue’s hobbies include napping, constantly interfering in her children’s lives, not going out, eating - especially the remains of the previous night’s take-out curry straight from the fridge, and watching made-for-TV true-life movies in her PJs.
Her latest novel, Losing Me, about a woman whose life is changed by a troubled little boy, sounds like it will be a heartwarming story, making it a perfect fit for "Chick Lit Soup for the Soul" month. She's here today to share her own heartwarming story, which is about a story itself. Penguin Random House has one copy of Losing Me for a lucky US reader, but Sue is also generously sharing THREE more copies for readers in the US! (She'll also send signed bookplates to all the winners.)
Visit Sue at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sue's Chicken Soup (with matzo balls) for the Soul
Back in the early 90s, there was a book that my four year-old daughter insisted I read to her over again. It was called Ned and the Joybaloo. It’s out of print now, but I still have our battered hardcover copy. I keep it on the bottom shelf of my bookcase, along with a handful of other favourite children’s books that I’m unable to part with.
The other day a small child came to visit. She pulled all the children’s books onto the floor and spent a quiet hour enjoying them. After she’d gone, I began tidying the books away. But I couldn’t put Ned and the Joybaloo back in the bookcase without taking a few minutes to read it. I’ve kept it, not just because it was Ellie’s favourite and the illustrations are magical, but because like so many children’s books it carries a profound message for grownups.
On Fridays, Ned and the Joybaloo bounce higher and higher until ‘the ceiling opened and let in the stars’.
They make each other laugh so hard that their laughter takes them up an up ‘on past everyday night and every night dreams to the playgrounds of the Joybaloo.’ They slide in ‘slow dark mud’ and swim in ‘warm fast streams’. They lose themselves for hours in the ‘long wayward grass.’
Having squeezed the ‘last drop of mischief out of the night’ they agree to meet every Friday night, forever.
The problem for Ned is that he loves the Joybaloo and the fun they have together so much, that the wait between one Friday and the next seems interminable. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. He can’t eat, he doesn’t practice his recorder and he draws on every wall. He even puts tacks in peoples’ shoes.
Finally he gets angry with the Joybaloo. “I don’t believe you’re a real Joybaloo … If you were and you cared about me you’d come out and play every night.”
The Joybaloo says he can’t play every night because he’d get used up. But Ned doesn’t listen. He forces the Joybaloo to play every night. Slowly the Joybaloo ‘gets smaller, its colours fewer and fewer, its breath emptier and emptier.’
Then one night, Ned opens the airing cupboard door and the Joybaloo is gone.
The Joybaloo has taught Ned something that so many of us adults fail to learn - that we can’t rely on other people – husbands, wives, partners, children, friends - to make us happy. That is something we must do for ourselves. If we don’t, if we are too needy of other people, we risk destroying our most important relationships.
Ned and the Joybaloo by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura. Used copies and some new ones are available at Amazon.com
Thanks to Sue for visiting us and for sharing her book (along with Penguin Random House) with our readers.
~Introduction by Melissa Amster
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