This was a quick read and not a very good one. The characters are not well developed and you never really find out why certain characters are the way they are. I don't care for books that leave you guessiing at the end as this one did.
I read this in eighth grade and I have to admit to not remembering very much about it. However, what I do remember is that it is extremely subtle; while the subject matter is domestic abuse, there is very little action of that kind in the text.
This was the first book I've read by Elizabeth Berg. She is very gifted at painting visual pictures of human emotions, but I found this book vaguely depressing with very few uplifts of joy. I liked it but wished the author would have included a little more light at the end of the tunnel in growing up. I believe optimism helps us through great sorrow.
Its been a while since I have read a book by Berg, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her simple, spare storytelling.
Katie is 12 and lives with her domineering and abusive father. Her mother has recently died and her sister is 18 years old and in love with a neighborhood boy. They are Army Brats, traveling from base to base and trying to make sense of their lives.
Told from the narrative perspective of Katie, the book is sad yet hopeful.
Katie is a wonderful mix of that naiveté, hopefulness and sometimes insightful wisdom that comes from young girls on the cusp of womanhood.
With her mother gone, her sister self involved and an angry father, Katie has only her friend Cherylanne to turn to. Although a few years older and frequently holding it over Katies head, Cherylanne is a true friend, trying to help Katie maneuver through the minefield of adolescence. Also touching is the relationship of Belle, Cherylannes mother, and Katie. Set in the late 50s or early 60s it is clearly a time when abuse is never spoken of, yet Belle does what she can to make Katies life bearable.
Katie and Diane are sisters who live with their single, abusive father. When Diane, the older daughter, decides to leave permanently with her boyfriend her younger sister unexpectedly follows. This story shows both the abusive father and the girls in a light of understanding, without judgement so much as harsh fact. It is a very quick and easy read, but stays with you long after it's over.
This is the story of one year in the life of 12 year old Katie whose mother has died of cancer, father is in the military and Diana, her 18 year old sister spends all of her time with Dickie, the love of her life. Both Katie and Diana walk on egg shells at home because dad becomes physically violent when he is angered. The story is told from Katie's perceptions. When the book was over, I really wanted to know what happened to Katie after the end of the story.
Elizabeth Berg is wonderful with this super novel. This is a read you will take with you long after you are finished. I found i could'nt put the book down to fold laundry. I just wanted to stay in the place Ms. Berg had created in this novel. I loved the setting in rural Texas and everyone in the book except the father, who was very abusive to Katie as she grew up. Katie who just knew that there would come a day when her father would not be able to hit her, was creeping into my heart and i loved her so. I would read again.
"Durable Goods is a poignant and enduring novel by Elizabeth Berg- author of the New York Times bestseller Talk Before Sleep and Joy School- a masterful work that gently captures the subtle nuances of childhood's end...and the pain, sorrow and stirring hope of inevitable transformation."
Very quick to read, book 1 of what became a trilogy. The author couldn't let go of this character. I'm glad.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
"Sometimes life is so hard and then, bingo, it's like happiness is pushing at your back, waiting to come out of your front...." On the hot Texas army base she calls home, Katie spends the lazy days of her summer waiting: waiting to grow up; waiting for Dickie Mack to fall in love with her; waiting for her breasts to blossom; waiting for the beatings to stop. Since their mother died, Katie and her older sister, Diane, have been struggling to understand their distant, often violent father. Diane escapes into the arms of her boyfriend. Katie hides in her room or escapes to her best friend's house - until Katie's admiration for her strong-willed sister leads her on an adventure that transforms her life. About Durable Goods Christopher Tilghman has said, "Elizabeth Berg's prose and passion come at us with all the deceptive strength of her heroine." Written with an unerring ability to capture the sadness of growth, the pain of change, the nearly visible vibrations that connect people, this beautiful novel reminds us of how wonderful, and wounding, a deeper understanding of life can be.
As usual, a gem of a story from Elizabeth Berg. Katie is a 12-yo who has lost her mother and is left with a harsh military father, an older sister focused on escaping with her boyfriend, and a best friend next door. Katie is touching, spunky, loyal and loving despite the odds. I enjoyed the chance to get to know her.
A far too short story about a 12 yr old girl who has lost her mom to cancer and lives w/ her abusive father. Katie is a wonderful character, so up and hopeful, considering her circumstances. I wish this book had gone on and on.