Saturday, June 2, 2012
The New Year's Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
I recently read The New Year's Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. It has been a while since I have gotten around to an Elm Creek Quilts novel, but as soon as I began this one, I was reminded how much I love them. In this book, Sylvia is finally completing a New Year's Resolution quilt that she began years ago. While she sews, she reminisces about past New Year's traditions and resolutions she has made beginning with her very first, somewhat disastrous resolutions as a child. One tradition she recalls is that of her grandmother's: beginning the new year with a clean home. Her grandmother tells her, "The purpose was to begin the New Year with a fresh, clean slate, with all the problems, mistakes, and strife of the old year forgotten." That sounds like a wonderful tradition and one I would like to adopt. At the very least, it is nice to begin a year with a clean home and if all the other new beginnings and forgivnesses can come with that, all the better.
The book also details Sylvia's attempts at resolving a family conflict. Having lost some of her own family to bitterness and pride, she is determined to do what she can to help others learn from her mistakes. "Anger and misunderstanding could destroy a family from the inside out, as conflict forced everyone to take sides. Even refusing to favor one side over the other would be seen as taking a position, until even the unwilling were drawn into the conflict." I can appreciate Sylvia's desire to help others resolve their own conflicts.
This book is as entertaining as all of the Elm Creek Quilt novels, but it is also instructive. Family is important. Don't let your disagreements go on too long. Do not become too fond of your grudges. We don't have to wait until January 1st to begin anew. Today is as good as any day.