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Thursday, July 12, 2012

We End In Joy by Angela Fordice Jordan

We End in Joy by Angela Fordice Jordan is a beautifully written and poignant collection of family memories.  It's a story of childhood, grief, healing, and finally joy.  This is a lovely book which is well-worth reading.

Angela Fordice Jordan is the daughter of Kirk Fordice, the first Republican governor of Mississippi since Reconstruction.  She writes about her rather conflicted relationship with this complicated man.  He was a strange mixture.  He loved nature but he also liked hunting.  He also scared the children by playing with rattlesnakes and other dangerous snakes in the yard.  However, he passed on to Angela his love of nature and animals, even though she couldn't understand the hunting.

He also took some pleasure in Kennedy's assassination, according to the book.  Jordan found this difficult to forgive, understandably.

I did think that she was a bit nasty about her father at times but the book also describes the many qualities which she loved in him.  I felt that Jordan wrote the book as a form of catharsis so this is why she wrote so much about her father.  This annoyed me at times but I found it helpful at the end.

Jordan also had a conflicted relationship with her mother.  She was a strong, well-groomed Southern lady - the kind of woman who stood by her man 'through thick and thin'.  She certainly kept her dignity and managed to forgive Fordice for his affair and subsequent marriage.

Jordan writes about her teenage rebellion and her struggle to please her mother.  Every daughter can identify with these stories in the book.

Much of We End in Joy is about Jordan's parents when they were dying and her attempts to overcome her grief.  This was highly emotional and very moving but it was also extremely miserable at times, so be warned. I found it a bit close to home but it also helped me.  I especially liked Jordan's story of travelling on a pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland where she experienced a wonderful coincidence and some healing of her sadness.

It is not all miserable though.  There are some hilarious anecdotes about Fordice's time as Governor.  I loved the one where Jordan annoyed George W. Bush and his wife.  (I liked it because it's funny - not for any political reasons!)

The major flaw in the book was the lack of photos.  I would have liked to see some photos.

We End in Joy will be launched in September.


Karen Jones Gowen said...

I do love a good memoir.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review - you must have read an advanced readers copy - there are photos in the final book which is coming off the presses now.