Joy Fielding

Letter from Joy

January 11, 2023

Hi, everyone.

Sorry that I’m a little late with this month’s letter, and even sorrier that I don’t have a lot to report, but I’ve spend most of the past month relaxing and just not doing much of anything.

We had a lovely holiday season - we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah - and this year it was quite different because we got to celebrate them in Florida. It’s been a very long time since we celebrated down south, but since my daughter, Annie, and her family moved to Miami in the fall, it made sense to do it there, especially since, except for a brief visit in October, we hadn't seen our home or friends there in 2 1/2 years. So, unlike much of the northeast, we didn’t have a (too) white Christmas, although it did get very cold for a couple of days. Happily, it didn’t stay cold for long, and the temperatures quickly returned to normal. It was great being back in Palm Beach. You’d never know there is still a pandemic going on. Hardly saw a mask in over a month, and I have to say that it felt wonderful. Of course we’ve had all five vaccines and continue to be reasonably careful, but it was so nice not to have to think about it. Hopefully, COVID will go the way of the seasonal flu, and we can get back to normal. It was a bit of a shock to have to don a mask again today - we’re back in Toronto for a few days of appointments - when on the subway. Looking forward to returning to Florida in a few days for another extended stay.

The other really nice thing about getting to spend time in Florida is that we get to see so much of our grandchildren again. Miami is only a little more than an hour’s drive from Palm Beach - unlike the four-hour extremely boring drive to Windsor from Toronto - so we got to see them every week. The other really nice thing is that my other daughter, Shannon, and her boyfriend, Eric, are staying with us, and it’s been wonderful. Eric is a terrific golfer - as well as a terrific cook - and we’ve been golfing 2 - 3 times a week. My husband has yet to start playing golf again after some problems with his back, but hopefully he’ll be able to join us on the course again soon. Unfortunately, my game isn’t exactly up to par - a golfer’s lame joke - because of not playing regularly for so long, but I’m seeing signs of recovery. It’s only my drives that continue to give me the most trouble. I may have to give in and take a few lessons to get back on track.

I’ve also been doing plenty of puzzles, going for long walks - so nice to do it in the sun and warmth - exercising a bit, and eating a lot. We’ve had some great meals at Divino’s, Trevini’s, Anthony’s coal-fired pizza, and The Bistro. (And did I mention that Eric is a terrific cook?) The only real disappointment we had was at Seasons 52, a beautiful restaurant that left a bad taste in our mouths. I had made a reservation the previous week, and we arrived on time. After a brief wait, we were ushered to a side room that was not only far from both the gorgeous and very large main room and the outdoor patio, but was empty and depressing as hell. As my daughter said, it looked like a card room. I told the hostess that this was unacceptable and she told me it was either that or we’d have to wait till something else became available. I told her to expect a very bad write-up online, and suddenly they miraculously found us a table in the main room! I wish I could say that the food was worth the aggravation, but sadly neither it nor the service was very good. So that’s the last time we’ll be frequenting that establishment.

I read a fabulous new novel called LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus. I haven’t enjoyed a book that much in a long time. It’s well-written, original, and laugh-out-loud funny. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s also just the right length. What’s with all these great novelists - I’m looking at you, John Irving and Fredrik Backman - suddenly producing books between 700 and 1000 pages?! Where were their editors? These books are way too long and self-indulgent. They would have been twice the books at half the length.

And speaking of books, I’m happy to say that THE HOUSEKEEPER has been doing very well, and I’m very appreciative of all the lovely comments and mail I’ve been receiving. Please, if you enjoyed the book, pass the word (but not the book!) along. I still think that word-of-mouth is what really sells a book.

I also saw a terrific movie on the plane on the way home - “Bros.” It was smart, funny, and a very touching love story between two men. It was also quite explicit in its depiction of gay life, so might not be to everyone’s taste. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it. Love is love, people are people, and what the world needs now is a whole lot more tolerance.

And that’s about all for now. Stay well, be happy, and go buy a book!