Count The Ways
By: Joyce Maynard
Narrated by: Joyce Maynard
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 07/13/21
My Rating: Currently Listening
In her most ambitious novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard returns to the themes that are the hallmarks of her most acclaimed work in a mesmerizing story of a family—from the hopeful early days of young marriage to parenthood, divorce, and the costly aftermath that ripples through all their lives
Eleanor and Cam meet at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s. She’s an artist and writer, he makes wooden bowls. Within four years they are parents to three children, two daughters and a red-headed son who fills his pockets with rocks, plays the violin and talks to God. To Eleanor, their New Hampshire farm provides everything she always wanted—summer nights watching Cam’s softball games, snow days by the fire and the annual tradition of making paper boats and cork people to launch in the brook every spring. If Eleanor and Cam don’t make love as often as they used to, they have something that matters more. Their family.
Then comes a terrible accident, caused by Cam’s negligence. Unable to forgive him, Eleanor is consumed by bitterness, losing herself in her life as a mother, while Cam finds solace with a new young partner.
Over the decades that follow, the five members of this fractured family make surprising discoveries and decisions that occasionally bring them together, and often tear them apart. Tracing the course of their lives—through the gender transition of one child and another’s choice to completely break with her mother—Joyce Maynard captures a family forced to confront essential, painful truths of its past, and find redemption in its darkest hours.
A story of holding on and learning to let go, Count the Ways is an achingly beautiful, poignant, and deeply compassionate novel of home, parenthood, love, and forgiveness.
An Amazon Best Book of July 2021: Eleanor meets Cam at a craft fair in the 1970s; they fall in love and he moves into her New Hampshire farmhouse. Soon, they are parents to three young children. Eleanor throws herself into making the best childhood for her children—the kind of childhood she didn’t have—and also financially supporting the family. In one unforgettable scene, Eleanor labors over a bûche de Noël for Christmas dinner. Cam is about to leave the house to go cross country skiing, and Eleanor is so angry at his lack of effort that she throws the elaborate cake into the trash. Count the Ways is full of the tiny ways a marriage is built and broken. And while a series of significant events eventually tears this family apart, it’s the minutiae of everyday life that cracks the foundation of Eleanor and Cam’s marriage. A sweeping epic told over decades, we see this family grow and change, although Eleanor’s maternal sacrifices consistently loom large. I haven’t stopped thinking about Count the Ways since I finished it. This is—quite simply—the best book I’ve read so far in 2021.
—Sarah Gelman, Amazon Book Review
“Joyce Maynard is the queen of the family saga, and Count the Ways is the best! Instantly addicting, the story of Eleanor, Cam, and their children pulls you in and wraps itself around you like an heirloom quilt made of familiarity, intimacy, and the orchestral complexity of loving the people closest to us. This is the novel you’ll be longing to return to at the end of every day and one you will re-read for years to come.” -- Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family
“Count the Ways is the book you will want to curl up in a chair and read from beginning to end. It’s rich and complex, beautiful and heartbreaking, just like life. Reading about this flawed and lovely family will make you want to hug your own flawed and lovely family tight. Joyce Maynard celebrates the messy, wonderful thing that is love." -- Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and The Book That Matters Most
“How did Maynard know that this is exactly the book we all need now? This exhilaratingly brilliant novel isn’t just an indelible story of the falling dominoes of a family struggling through crisis and through generations, it’s also about the times we live through. . . . This gorgeous story reminds us that love is always, always worth it.” — Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and With or Without You
“Count the Ways is an extraordinarily generous invitation into a woman’s intimate life, from the loneliness of her youth to the earned wisdom of middle age. In this richly imagined novel, Maynard never flinches as she portrays both quiet successes and heartbreaking failures at love, marriage, and motherhood. This is the work of one of our great storytellers.” - - Meredith Hall, New York Times bestselling author of Beneficence
"Sensitively plumbing the complexity of human emotions, of love and forgiveness, [Maynard] draws readers into a deep, aching attachment to her characters, creating an ultimately hopeful tale just right for this moment." -- Booklist (starred review)
"Readers will sink into Maynard’s masterful portrait of one woman’s life in this decades-spanning family saga.—Readers will sink into Maynard’s masterful portrait of one woman’s life in this decades-spanning family saga." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"The novel bites off a lot—a Brett Kavanaugh–inspired storyline, a domestic abuse situation, a trans child, Eleanor's career—and manages to resolve them all. . . Maynard creates a world rich and real enough to hold the pain she fills it with." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“My to-do list had umpteen items on it, but I let them all go to hell as I tore through Joyce Maynard’s latest page-turner. . . . To-do list? What to-do list? Under the Influence is a riveting read.” -- New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb on Under the Influence
“Joyce Maynard has, again, managed to tap flawlessly into the voice of a teenage girl: part hope, part fiction, and all heart. After Her is page-turning mystery, wrapped in a beautifully rendered story of sisterhood; and reading it is a journey through one’s own memory of what it meant to be thirteen, when the world was equally terrifying and fascinating. Books this compelling just don’t come around very often.” -- Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author on After Her
About the Author
A native of New Hampshire, Joyce Maynard began publishing her stories in magazines when she was thirteen years old. She first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life”, in 1972, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in over fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR and national magazines including Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, and many more. She is a longtime performer with The Moth.
Joyce Maynard is the author of eighteen books, including the New York Times bestselling novel, Labor Day and To Die For (both adapted for film), Under the Influence and the memoirs, At Home in the World and The Best of Us.
Her latest novel, Count the Ways —the story of a marriage and a divorce, and the children who survived it—will be published by William Morrow in June, 2021.
She is currently at work on a book about her return to Yale University two and a half years ago as an undergraduate, forty-eight years after dropping out at age 18.
Maynard is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She is the founder of Write by the Lake, a week-long workshop on the art and craft of memoir, held every year since 2001 at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Website