Joan Diver will be at the South End library on Tuesday, January 15 at 6:30 PM to talk about her debut memoir, When Spirit Calls: A Healing Odyssey. Diver and her husband, Colin, lived on West Newton Street in Boston in the 1970s and 1980s when gentrification and the busing crisis made a roller-coaster out of the daily lives of many Bostonians. Struggling to raise their family in the South End, the Divers finally moved with their children to suburban Newton in 1989 to provide a better education for their children than seemed possible in Boston at the time. “You’ve heard the expression, ‘A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged,’ ” Colin Diver said in an interview with Yvonne Abraham in the Boston Globe in 2014. “I guess I was thinking, ‘A suburbanite is an urbanite who has had his kid’s reading scores decline.’ ”
The Divers agreed to be one of the three families profiled by J. Anthony Lukas for what became his Pulitzer-prize winning book, Common Ground, which chronicled the heart-wrenching changes resulting from court-ordered busing. After they left the South End, Joan Diver became the executive director of Boston’s Hyams Foundation. Colin Diver was appointed dean of Penn Law School in Philadelphia and, subsequently, president of Reed College, in Portland, OR.. The Colins returned to Boston in 2012 when he retired and currently live in the Back Bay.
When Spirit Calls: A Story of Awakening, Healing and Hope is Diver’s debut memoir. It describes her voyage from nationally recognized foundation executive and social-justice advocate to spiritual healer through times of family crisis, confrontation with the challenges of urban life, dealing with the intense physical pain resulting from back injuries and her spiritual awakening after exploring healing traditions in East and West.
The event is free. Seating is limited.