Recommended Reads: Four best friends reunited in ‘Once Upon A Project’

once upon a projectOnce Upon A Project, by Bettye Griffin

It’s an invitation to a different kind of reunion. Its 50 years since the opening of the Chicago housing project, and one of the former residents wants to celebrate their past community. Many of the former residents come, spanning generations. This book focuses primarily on four women who grew up in the project as best friends. They halfheartedly kept in sporadic contact as busy adults, and now reunite as each is turning 50 years old. Each woman faces this milestone with different challenges on her horizon.

A clear message in this novel is that in life’s journey where you end up is not determined by where you begin. You plot your own path in life and make your way with dreams and persistence. Still, life has a way of throwing obstacles right across that path you’ve plotted. Once reunited, the four best friends feel their bond again as they help each other through decisions and circumstances they are facing.

Elyse and Franklin, her husband of 27 years, have just seen the last of their kids leave for college. They are looking forward to this chapter in their lives when they can have fun together and rekindle the couple they’ve been. Thirteen years her senior, Franklin is slowing down and has been disappointing Elyse by cancelling activities at the last minute due to fatigue. Is he losing interest and lazy, or is there something seriously wrong?

On the surface Susan appears to have an idyllic marriage and wealthy life. She has kept hidden from her friends her ordeal with breast cancer. She has survived, to find that her husband hasn’t been able to cope with what she’s gone through. Her marriage is faltering. At the reunion she sees a former flame and she starts to wonder if there’s more to life for her than this stale marriage.

Grace is a very successful and exciting executive. She travels all over the world and lives an eventful life in Chicago. Her focus is on herself, and she likes it that way. Twice divorced, is it her wild success that intimidates men and complicates her relationships? She does get lonely and doesn’t like the idea of growing old alone. Does she have to compromise her career, or her relationship aspirations?

After losing the love of her youth due to family conflicts, Pat never found another serious love in her life. She is surrounded by lots of friends and colleagues in her very full life, but she regrets what she lost. He is now married for the second time, and never to her. She is still pining for him and wishing for destiny to bring them somehow together. At the reunion, she’s also reacquainted with an old friend from her law school days. Can she let herself plot a new path? Can this opportune meeting turn into a head-over-heels romance so late in her life?

You’ll enjoy following the dramatic turns and choices these ladies make. You’ll be hoping for the best for each of them and wondering what will happen next. You’ll want to contact some of your old friends that you knew once upon a time, and you’ll remember to cherish the friends you’ve kept near.

Thereby hangs a tale . . . .

– By Wendy Kendall

wendy kendallWendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.

 

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