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A compilation of short stories, all in standard Berg format.  Most of them were fine, but not outstanding.  One story was fantastic, and I’d definitely read it again: “How to Make an Apple Pie.”  If you’re an Elizabeth Berg fan, it’s worth checking this book out from the library just to read that one story.  If you’re not a fan, then check it out anyways for an example of her best and funniest writing.

Helen is an accomplished author, but when her husband dies suddenly, she finds herself unable to write.  Because she needs money, Helen agrees to teach a writing class.  Through teaching her class, Helen gains an independence she never thought she could obtain.

Although I wasn’t particularly drawn into this story, I always enjoy Berg’s books for one simple reason.  She can write about life’s little luxuries in a tangible way.  A simple pot of coffee or a Christmas cookie comes alive in Berg’s books, and every day life becomes something to celebrate.

Dream When You're Feeling Blue: A NovelI very much enjoyed Berg’s latest book. It is set in WWII America, and focuses on the lives of the 3 Heaney sisters who are living at home, and doing their part to support the war effort and the soldier whom they love. Although the girls’ focus is of course on their boyfriends on the battlefield, Berg’s story really shows the love the sisters have for each other, the strength found in family, and the beauty of self-sacrifice.

We Are All Welcome Here

18th July 2006

We Are All Welcome Here: A NovelOne feature of Berg’s writing that I really appreciate is her unique plot lines. For example, this book focuses in large part on racial tensions in Mississippi during the 60′s. Many books have been written about this topic, but Berg discusses the topic through the eyes of a 14 year old girl, who is living with her single mother, who has been paralyzed by polio. This family dynamic makes this book stand out from many others with similar themes.

I usually enjoy Berg’s books. My one criticism is that her strong female characters are usually portrayed against very weak male characters.

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