Wednesday, June 23, 2010

TLC Book Tours: The Love Ceiling Book Review and GIVEAWAY

I'd like to welcome all of you who are stopping by MoonCat Farms for the first time via the TLC Book Tour.  I hope you'll enjoy this review and will stay and get to know us a bit.  Thank you as usual of course to our regular visitors and friends!

I was thrilled to be included as one of the tour hosts for the lovely author, Jean Davies Okimoto and her book: The Love Ceiling

From the publisher:

After the death of her Japanese American mother, sixty-four year old Anne Kuroda Duppstaad finds the courage to confront the toxic legacy of her father, a famous artist and cruel narcissist, and begins pursuing her life-long dream to become an artist in her own right.

The Love Ceiling draws readers into the soul of a universal theme for women:  the pull between family and creative self-expression.  It is the story of a woman, a daughter, a wife, a mother and a grandmother, and a journey into creativity.

I wasn't sure what to expect with the publicists touting the book as a "coming of age novel for readers over 50...60...70...80...90...!"  I'm in my early 40s and I could see bits of myself in both the main character (64 yr old Annie) and her daughter Cass who is 32.  I would definitely change that blurb to include the 30 and 40 somethings as this book really does cover issues facing women in each of those decades as well as the older generations.  I've read several other glowing reviews of the book with many of the women even younger than I feeling the same way - "It's For Us Too!"

One of my favorite spots in the book is something that I took to heart: 

Ninety year old Martha Jane is setting up her easel and clips a small card to the top.  The card is hand lettered, in spidery script:

"Use the talent you possess,
For the forest would be silent
If no birds sang but the best."

She notices Annie watching and explains, "It's like a Bible verse for me.  I want to remind myself of this each day before I begin, otherwise, one can lose faith - even at my age.  I certainly won't be Grandma Moses, but I can't let that stop me, now can I?"

The author flawlessly weaves such tender and important moments into the story.   She introduces us to some lovely characters who we were left wanting more of (such as Martha Jane and their artist-turned mentor Fred).  But she also balances this out with the true-to-life, not-so-nice people who populate all of our lives. 

The relationship between Annie and her dying mother as well as the relationship with her abusive father really highlight the influences parents can have on their children's adult life.  This plays out as well when we start seeing things from daughter Cass's perspective and the relationship she has with her own parents, Annie and Jack.  It's interesting and dismaying when both Jack and Cass dismiss Annie's part-time job as something small and frivolous. 

The initial idea of the book comes from the author's personal experience with an older aunt who was an accomplished painter.  When Ms. Okimoto visited her, expecting to see a bright, lovely studio - she was dismayed to find that her aunt was painting in a dimly-lit basement.  The title comes from the main character's weary reply to a question from her husband:

'"There's a glass ceiling for women, Jack," I stared at my painting in the dim light next to the washer and dryer. "And it's made out of the people we love.""

I think so many women will end up doing as I did and reading this book in one day.  I became so enamoured of Annie and her story that I only surfaced for drink and restroom breaks and went back to catch up with her immediately.  If I were to have to find something negative or possibly less-than-glowing, it would be that I was left wanting more.  Of course this would actually seem a positive to me as it shows that the author has woven a fine story that you want to continue being a part of. 

There is a reader's guide at the end of the book that I think would be great for book clubs.  A lot of different discussions could be sparked by various points in this book.  The author has been involved in chats with book clubs across the country and can be contacted via her website.

Read more about the author Jean Davies Okimoto and be sure to check out the other great reviews The Love Ceiling has been receiving on the Jean Davies Okimoto’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, June 1st: Book Club Classics

Wednesday, June 2nd: Patricia's Wisdom

Thursday, June 3rd: Dolce Bellezza

Monday, June 7th: Lit and Life

Wednesday, June 9th: Rundpinne

Monday, June 14th: Joyfully Retired

Thursday, June 17th: Luxury Reading

Monday, June 21st: Erasing the Bored

Wednesday, June 23rd: MoonCat Farms Meanderings

Thursday, June 24th: carpe libris reviews

Monday, June 28th: Feminist Review

Wednesday, June 30th: Crazy For Books

Jean Davies Okimoto has graciously offered a copy of The Love Ceiling to one lucky MoonCat Farms reader.  I will announce the winner on June 30th.  Please leave a comment letting us all know what the last book is that you read.  PLEASE BE SURE TO LEAVE A WAY FOR ME TO CONTACT YOU.  You can gain extra entries by blogging about, tweeting, and/or posting about this review and drawing on Facebook.  Just be sure to let me know what you've done to get the extra entries!  If you don't want to wait for the drawing, The Love Ceiling can be purchased on-line.  It would make a thoughtful gift for the women in your life. 

Thank you so much to Endicott & Hugh Books, Jean Davies Okimoto, Lisa and Jennifer for this great opportunity and lovely book. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review and received no monetary compensation. The author has provided a copy of the book for the giveaway.


  1. Jules, I'm just thrilled that you enjoyed the book and I love that hand lettered card that Martha clipped to her easel so much so that I'm printing it out right now to pin to the bathroom mirror for my kids to see each day! It's so inspirational and so true.

    Thank you so much for being on the tour. The time and effort you put into reading and reviewing the book is greatly appreciated.

  2. This sounds like it would be a good choice for my book club. COunt me in!

  3. I loved that saying also!! Makes you stop and think about how we view our lives and our accomplishments or seeming lack of them. Wonderful to think the heroine of this novel is not afraid to try and turn her life around at the "young" age of 64. Never to late for any of us to persue our dreams. I just finished reading "Catching Fire" and am anxiously waiting for the last of that trilogy. ValerieM (

  4. thanks for the giveaway. the last book i read was the newest book in the vampire academy series

  5. Thank you for your review as a woman in her 30's I may not have wanted to read this but since you included it I'm more apt to read it.

  6. This sounds like a great pick for my book club. The last one we read was 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'by Khaled Hosseini. It was excellent! Thanks for the giveaway, Ruthie

  7. The last book I have read is GIADA AT HOME by Giada De Laurentis. Love her pasta recipes and found several I am going to try out on my picky eaters.

  8. After reading your review, I got all curious to know more about ths author and this story! Count me in! :o)

    Kisses from Nydia.

  9. just finished reading a christina dodd romance novel. And, no I am no ashamed to admit that in a public forum :) aleksa91 hotmail

  10. Romance is good for the soul! Never be ashamed of reading it or needing it :) Good luck in the drawing ladies.

  11. The last book I read was The Color of Light by Karen White, wonderful book I enjoyed reading it.
    Theresa N

  12. This one is probably closed, but I'd love to read this book.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com


Thank you for taking the time out of your day to come by MoonCat Farms. We welcome your comments and look forward to hearing what you think. (Please note that we do have comment moderation on so that we will be sure to never miss a comment from one of our valued readers.) If you're entering one of our giveaways, PLEASE be sure to leave a way for us to contact you if you're the winner.