Today I’m delighted to welcome novelist Toni Jenkins. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
“My sister-in-law heard about a book in early 2008 she thought I might like and gave me a copy of Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It has become a precious companion and the book that I turn to most. It always spurs me on to make courageous decisions in my life.
It’s about an American woman in her thirties who decides her perfectly normal life is unfulfilling and leaves her husband and home to find herself abroad, travelling to Italy to find love in food, to India for enlightenment, and to Bali for love and peace. I re-read it, or at least parts of it, at least once a year. It’s one of those books where you feel as if you’re reading your own thoughts. There’s a real comfort in reading again how Elizabeth overcame her challenges. I also love the way she uses language so I get a double-whammy of the feel-good factor every time I delve back in.
I particularly enjoy the first third of the book as it’s based in Italy, my favourite country. It’s also where she’s just starting out on her journey to re-create her new life and you can feel the rawness coming through in her words. I particularly love the way she personifies Depression and Loneliness. She writes:
I say to them, “How did you find me here? Who told you I had come to Rome?”
Depression, always the wise guy, says, “What – you’re not happy to see us?”
“Go away,” I tell him.
Loneliness, the more sensitive cop, says, “I’m sorry, ma’am. But I might have to tail you the whole time you’re traveling. It’s my assignment.”
Toni Jenkins’ Bio
Toni Jenkins was born in New Zealand in 1970. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Education, she bought a one-way ticket to the UK and so began her love affair with the northern hemisphere. She has been writing all her life, beginning with poetry, short stories and quotes and later moving into novels. Toni wrote her first novel in her early thirties, with her second being penned in an Italian village during her ‘mature gap year’. The Sender is her third and the first to be published. She is currently working on two further novels – The Gift is at editing stage and Benevolence is under development.
Toni Jenkins’ books
The Sender follows the journey of a mysterious and inspiring unsigned card, linking the lives of four women from different backgrounds and cities who are all facing unique adversities. The card instructs each woman to hold it in their possession for six months before choosing another woman in need of its empowering quality to send it to, and invites them all to meet in Edinburgh two years from the date of its inception. The card seems to hold an extraordinary quality that helps the women face their challenges head-on, though none of them can imagine who the anonymous sender is or why they were the chosen ones.
‘The Sender’ by Toni Jenkins [UK: New Generation]
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book?
It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message via the contact form here.
‘Eat Pray Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert [UK: Bloomsbury]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @tonijenkinsauth love EAT PRAY LOVE by @GilbertLiz http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2Sf via @SandraDanby #amreading