4 reviews

The View from Mount Joy: A Novel
by Lorna Landvik

Published: 2007-09-04
Hardcover : 368 pages
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11 clubs reading this now
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Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 4 members
From the author of ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS The View from Mount Joy, Lorna Landvik’s delightfully quirky and intensely moving new novel, is about a man, a supermarket, the roads not taken, and the great, unexpected pleasures found in living a good life.

When hunky teenage ...
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From the author of ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS The View from Mount Joy, Lorna Landvik’s delightfully quirky and intensely moving new novel, is about a man, a supermarket, the roads not taken, and the great, unexpected pleasures found in living a good life.

When hunky teenage hockey player Joe Andreson and his widowed mother move to Minneapolis, Joe falls under the seductive spell of Kristi Casey, Ole Bull High’s libidinous head cheerleader, the kind of girl a guy can’t say no to, even when saying yes guarantees trouble. Joe balances Kristi’s lustful manipulation with the down-to-earth companionship of his smart, platonic girlfriend, Darva. But it is Kristi who will prove to be a temptation (and torment) throughout Joe’s life.

Years later, having once dreamed of a career in pro hockey or as a globetrotting journalist, Joe can’t believe that life has deposited him in the aisles of Haugland Foods. But he soon learns that being a grocer is like being the mayor of a small town: His constituents confide astonishing things and always appreciate the value of a hard-to-pass-up special, a free toy for a well-behaved youngster, a pie for the best rendition of “Alfie,” or simply Joe’s generous dispensing of the milk of human kindness. For Joe, everyday life is its own roller-coaster ride, and all he wants to do is hold on tight.

The path Kristi has charged down, on the other hand, is as wild as Joe’s is tame–or at least that’s how it appears to the outside world. But who has really risked more? Who has lived more? And who is truly happy? As Joe discovers–in this dramatic, heartbreaking, and hilarious novel–sometimes people are lucky enough to be standing in the one place where the view of the world is breathtaking, if only they’ll open their eyes to all there is to see.

The View from Mount Joy is truly glorious: a warm, wonderful picture of life as seen from the deepest places in the heart.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


Chapter One

Standing at the urinal, I read the first graffiti to mar the freshly scrubbed wall of the school bathroom: Viet Nam sucks and Kristi Casey is a stone fox. In the fall of 1971, I was a senior new to Ole Bull High, and while I had formed judgments as to the former (I agreed, the war did suck), I had no idea who Kristi Casey was and whether or not she was a fox, stone or not. When I met her it only took a nanosecond to realize: Man, is she ever. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

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Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

a note from Lorna to book clubs:

Hello Everyone - how's The View From Mount Joy where you're from?

This is one of my wilder books - although how can you not get a little wild when you write about cheerleaders? (No, I was never one myself, although I did try out to be our high school mascot, the Teddie Bear. It's not that I was infused with team spirit - I just wanted to wear that furry bear costume and make people laugh.)

The book begins as our narrator (and hero) Joe Andreson and his mother have moved down to Minneapolis from a small town in Northern Minnesota. He joins the Class of '72 at Ole Bull High School and two of the girls he meets - Kristi Casey, the cheerleading captain who assumes the earth's orbit is for her benefit, and Darva Pratt, who cares more about art and politics than her ranking on the popularity chart - will impact the rest of his life.

We follow Joe's story as he graduates high school and college and tumbles into a life that includes an unchosen, yet ultimately satisfying career, unexpected fatherhood, an evangelical super-star, guitar-playing, love and loss, and grocery store bargain days.

I hope The View From Mount Joy will make you laugh and cry, and finally, will make you wonder at all the wild and crazy heart and beauty in this world of ours.

-Lorna Landvik

BEHIND THE WRITING of VIEW FROM MOUNT JOY I'm embarrassed to say this; but I can't recall the exact time and place Joe, Kristi and Darva of THE VIEW FROM MOUNT JOY came into my head. Usually a book begins for me with the appearance of the main characters in my head and usually, I can remember where I was or what I was doing when they made their appearance. Not so for t his book. If I were a more careful chronicler, if I kept a journal or if I had a better memory (really, my powers of recall couldn't activate a night light) I could tell you this, but the genesis for this book will just have to go mysteriously unexplained. __

Although...the story does start as Joe's about to begin his senior year and his story mirrors mine in that we're the same age. I've said before I don't like to write about my real life (it's always more fun for me to make it up) but I did enjoy writing about the early seventies and its shag haircuts (you bet I had one), platform shoes, music (ahh...slow dancing to "Stairway to Heaven" and "Color My World") and its general still-sorta-hippie-ish aura. I also enjoyed taking Joe through the years up to the present, and having him confront the big questions that we all ask ourselves and stumble toward answering. __

I love Joe - he's a good man and I'm especially partial to good men. He's not afraid to show his emotions, a quality I find most good men have. It wasn't hard to write as a male (I hope I've succeeded) - I'm of the belief that men and women are more alike than they are different. Kristi too was a lot of fun to write - man, is she diabolical! - but underneath her narcissism and ruthlessness, I think you'll find...more narcissism and ruthlessness. Just kidding - you don't act (entirely) like her without being motivated by pain and hurt. __

A male reporter who interviewed me said he thought the book was about loyalty and although I never set out with 'themes' in mind, I agree with him in that Joe is certainly loyal - to family and friends and the sense of what is right. _

I think the world's in a lot of trouble right now and I also think it's people like Joe - those who love with open hearts and try to help others - who will make it better.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "A multi-faceted book great for discussion!"by lois h. (see profile) 01/25/08

This is, at first blush, a "fluff book" - however, that being said, not only is it an easy-breezy read, it's got some miraculous depth - a few laugh-out-loud spots and many whooshing-to-the-... (read more)

  "a delightful read"by Lindsey S. (see profile) 10/30/09

  "The View From Mount Joy"by Mary L. (see profile) 09/25/09

  "The View From Mount Joy"by Nancy S. (see profile) 09/25/09

The characters are interesting and there are surprises that happen for you as the reader...it is Lorna Landvik's ususal serving of quircky, lovable characters.

  "The View from Mount Joy"by Sara S. (see profile) 07/20/09

  "Easy read but little lacking..."by Carolyn M. (see profile) 07/20/09

I felt this was an easy summer read, but a little lacking in the plot line. It sort of rambled on and wasn't really sure what the point was. It was okay, but not Lorna's best. It's a light summer read,... (read more)

  "The View from Mount Joy"by Marilyn C. (see profile) 07/20/09

Many in my group found this a fun and good summer time read and others found it pointless. They found no plot or point to the book. So our group was divided on liking it and not even fin... (read more)

  "The View From Mount Joy"by Jen C. (see profile) 04/28/09

I think over all the groups rating of the book ranged from Average Read to Something they would recommend. I not sure the book evoke alot of discussion.

  "Not for the more reserved book club"by Joanne L. (see profile) 04/09/09

Although I enjoyed this book, the average rating from my book club was a 2. This book was basically divided into 2 parts, with the second half much more enjoyable. If you don't mind some inappropriate... (read more)

  "Our least favorite of Lorna's books so far"by Donna C. (see profile) 04/02/09

This book was a real disappointment. I felt like Lorna let down her readers in a big way. This book could have been alot better without the shock value sex and language she used.

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