Joan Koonce, an associate professor and financial planning specialist, has written Integrity in a Box of Chocolates: Consuming Life’s Hardships One Bite at a Time.
The book’s title is inspired by the quote from the novel and film Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.”
“We have no idea what pieces we will get and whether or not we will enjoy each piece,” Koonce said. “Through a collection of stories about my life, I am allowing you to see the variety of chocolates in my box and taste them with me.”
The book is a collection of stories that portray the tragic life experiences faced by a black woman growing up in rural North Carolina. It uncovers deep, lifelong scars left by poverty, molestation, discrimination, incest, abuse and alcohol and drug addiction. Despite these obstacles, Koonce attended college and received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees. Working her way through her “box,” chocolate by chocolate, gave Koonce the grit and will to survive, even in the face of extreme adversity.