Forgiveness — Thanks to Jean Budge   6 comments

I owe so much to my friends. Like the most recent addition to my web site — a very moving account of forgiveness where one might think it impossible. I hope you’ll take the time to click on “my web site” and watch it. I think you’ll be glad you did if you haven’t seen it already, and even if you have, a second viewing might be worth it.

Posted October 8, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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I’ve had to remove myself as a follower of many interesting blogs because I’ve discovered real problems with e-mail when I’m away from wi-fi for a long period of time. I hate to miss you all, and it’s fine when I can check in daily, but with close to 300 e-mails a day, it doesn’t take long when I’m away for the limit to be reached and then no one can get to me.

I hope you’ll understand.




Posted September 28, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


Maybe this will whet your appetite?

Anyway, thanks to Elle for permission to reproduce this 44th review.

4.0 out of 5 stars The Meaning Of The Title Is Beautiful By Elle Amore on September 16, 2017

*** I received Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses: A Love Story in exchange for an honest review***

Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses by Mona Gustafson Affinito portrays the life of Job’s wife Dara. Her childhood, her adolescence, and adulthood. This was a refreshing look into the way women, men, and children lived during that time. I love historical fiction that can show how people lived and what it meant to them. For me, Affinito has done just that without being overbearing or condescending. Over the years I have tried to add a face and personality to what scripture says about Job’s wife. Affinito’s view of her definitely made me think of Dara’s presence in the book of Job. I also thought of how her life affected Job’s life and what his, his family and friends actions meant to her. Dara is written as a caring strong-willed woman who knew another culture and way of living before she married Job. Who she worshiped before Job finds God is another window into her life, and the culture it thrived in. It wasn’t hard for me to view modern culture and lifestyles in comparison to Dara’s. Technology, medicine, and science are the only differences. In my eyes, there are people who behave and think like all the characters in today’s society. Some light editing is needed. I didn’t find any of this story gory or sexualized. The main couples relationships are clean, for any readers who don’t read books with scenes like that.
This is the first one of Affinito’s books that I’ve read. I liked so much, without a doubt, I will read any of her other works. I recommend this anyone who enjoys historical fiction and biblical fiction.


With tact, this author did not write Dara’s full thoughts on the friends that harshly judged her husband. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. I thought all of the characters were well written and that their involvement was great. On the other hand, I would have liked to see the main character’s full opinion and view of those elders. The death of Job’s and Dara’s children is handled well, even though it’s not very detailed either. I would have liked to read more about them and the way they lived.
For a while, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Dara’s childhood friend Adah. Once they were both married, Adah treated Dara in a way that I could partially understand. The wealth and the new lifestyle that Dara had married into separated her, in some ways, from her best friend. I felt like it was too prideful for her to not except her friend. When the tragedy happened and Adah would not go to comfort her friend, I didn’t think she was a friend worth having. Yet, the way the two made up after Job died, was worth reading. Yes, Job dies in this book. However, the end of his life does not overshadow the rest of the book. It is in the beginning and the end. The rest of the story starts with Dara’s life and leads into the Book of Job’s events.
I hope this review is helpful to whoever is looking for a good read. Have a great day.




What else can one do when one lives in crazy times? Whatever possible within one’s ability to foster the good as one sees it, I guess. And keep on working at life, because it will go on.

Therefore, I want to point out an addition to my web site — some recent reviews of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” at


I’ve been feeling almost guilty lately as I enjoy other folks blogs, but don’t write anything on mine. My excuse? I’m so wrapped up in “My Father’s House.” I just have to finish at least the skeleton of the story. It will end in 1975 when my father died, and right now I’ve made it to 1955 (and over 600 pages — obviously much editing to do).

But I am moved today to reblog something I read this morning. As usual, my first reaction was, “I was teaching this stuff in the 1960s and ’70s. Will people never get it?

My next thought was “This is true not only for women and men, but for all the ‘others.’ who make up this great country of ours.”

Then I was compelled to tell at least one story of the possibility for change.

In the 70s, I taught this truth about the subtle training of boys and girls, women and men, pointing out as we did at the time that the fish are the last to be aware of the water they live in. I also served as department chair. One guy said, “There are 21 chairmen in Liberal Arts and one chairperson.” They thought they were making progress.

But I also learned that both women and men could climb their way out of the water. At meetings where I was the only woman, I witnessed what the data showed — that what women offered in a meeting was ignored. Here’s how it went. I would say something. The men would stop and listen politely as they had been taught to do when a woman is present. Then they would pick up right where they left off. One day I said, “I get the feeling that, if I were looking in a mirror, no one would look back.” Their reaction was “Huh?” I explained to them what was happening. For a period of time it was almost ludicrous how they would stop and ask my opinion, but after a series of such meetings, it began to run smoothly as they (and I) respected my opinion.

I’M THE “ONLY” AGAIN   26 comments

My brother was born 11 years before me; my sister 8 years before me. I was the baby. (And believe me, I often did let my resentment be known. Who wants to be “the baby?”)

Then they grew up and went off to college — even eventually getting married. And I became the “only.” Not a bad place to be, the youngest and the only. Just ask an Adlerian.

Now I’m the “only” again. My brother, Carl Harvey Gustafson, ended his life journey in 1998. And yesterday, after a long hard struggle between the forces of staying and those of leaving, my sister, Thelma Gustafson Wyland,  crossed the border into whatever there is beyond this life. She did fight it. For four weeks she could take no food or water and still persisted. Thanks be to God, her struggle is over.

Please don’t cry for her or for me. We are both in a good place.



What a joy to check and find this thoughtful review of figs & Pomegranates & special cheeses. Many thanks to the author.

on July 18, 2017
Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses
The novel is a rendition of the Job and his biblical trials as told from Dara’s (Mrs. Job’s) viewpoint, namely, that of a woman living in a patriarchal world. Story embarks when and Dara goes down the memory lane, enriched with the hues of love, friendship and faith.
The mystic and extramundane world of nomads created by the author is an interesting backdrop.
Dara grows up with her childhood friend Adah, living like nomads, going through all feelings different and new. Adah is constant in her life.
While Dara’s betrothal and marriage evokes plethora of emotions like, sadness, trust, joy, eagerness and pain, all developing into her love for Job; Dara’s faith for goddess Astarte becomes her Ariadne’s string. She finds her solace in hugging the firm body of Astarte.
The third-fourth of the book focuses on the Dara’s growth into a woman who confesses fully to her personality and owns it all with the faults and strengths; it’s later that it transposes to the terror of trials, anxiety of choices and consequences of decisions.
The author Mona G Affinito writes the story in a unique first person narrative, which binds you from the get go. The writing style is simple, idiomatic yet calls on something deep. Detailed, descriptive yet never monotonous monologue and immortalised biblical characters set in a olde worlde are the tools which have spun this beautiful tapestry.
Reader connects with Dara as she strives for happiness through all her travails and blights. The protagonist is raised with values and some she assimilates from her experience of being a daughter, a wife, a best friend and a mother.
The friendship and faith are her beacon and they leads her back to the light of clarity whenever she finds herself in the darkness of incertitude.
A working principle of a machine makes it easy for us to understand and marvel at it more, this is how the Addendum section at the end of the book felt. It’s just like behind the scenes of a great play, and instead of actors’ work you get a kick at the can to understand the working of Mona’s mind and the extensive research done during the writing of this book.
The first read would feel like the figs & pomegranates & special cheeses love and you would keep coming back for it’s potage love.
This bracing read is largely recommended to one but all.

“Nothing looked or felt quite the same. No one seemed to notice that I was no longer Dara. I was someone else. Yes, I knew this would happen, but now it was real, making me feel like stranger.”

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair review.

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