I loved this book. It's the first book by Elizabeth Berg that I've read and I definitely will read more. This book hit home with me because it involves siblings struggling to come to terms with the secrets and disfunctionality of their childhoods. For instance, one sister continues to live in the past, one wants to stay in the present, etc. It's a wonderful read for anyone wanting to gain more insight into the psychological aspects of family relationships.
Siblings in the same family often have completely different experiences while growing up. One child may be favored more, another might be abused. But would it be possible for one child to be abused without the other siblings knowing about it? Imagine the shock of having a sibling accuse your parents of abuse 40 years after it supposedly occured. How would you know whether to believe it or not?
Elizabeth Berg has the rare ability to paint human relationships so vividly that you feel as if you are IN the book. She brings to life characters that you can identify with... people that could be next to you at the post office, your next door neighbor, your own family. It is hard to read this book and not come away thinking about your own relationships (the good and the bad).
I haven't read anything in a long time about which I could say that I wished I could give it more than 5 stars, but this is definitely one of those times. Elizabeth Berg reminds me a little of Anne Tyler in her painstaking description of the family in this story. She doesn't make any one character totally a 'good guy' or totally a 'bad guy' like many authors do. Each character has obvious gifts and flaws in differing measures. This wound up being a very fast read, since there is no way I wanted to put it down. Now I have to start getting ALL of Berg's books.
This was definitely an interesting book, although I can't say I loved it. It did keep me reading straight through until the end, which is a sign of a good book, but it didn't leave me with that "I just read a wonderful book" feeling when I was done.
I picked up this book because of its good reviews, but I found myself disappointed at the end. I agree with the reviewer who liked the beginning and found the follow-through lacking. It has great potential at the start - an interesting notion about siblings planning to work out some old, mysterious issues - but the as the action played out, I found the story to be less dramatic, less interesting. I even found myself annoyed by the dialogue in the end - and with the subplots that don't seem to have any finalization. Don't think I can recommend this one...
A woman in my office recommended this author to me, so I ordered a copy from paperbackswap.com. I read it in one night. Elizabeth Berg is such a good writer, and so insightful that this quiet, sad, domestic novel sang. I highly recommend it.
Relationships, family dysfunction, and the drama of childhood memories shared with siblings. This is a good emotional story, everyone can relate to the characters. Makes you stop and think about your own life and family.
Dealings with siblings- and the mystery of families. Laura has to deal with a confontation from her "black sheep" sister Caroline, allegations against her mother. How can siblings grow up in the same house to have such different experiences?
Laura Bartone always anticipates her annual family reunion with the usual amount of excitement and wariness. Traveling all the way to Minnesota to see her family each year is certainly wonderful, yet Laura also can't deny that in a small portion of her heart, she secretly dreads going to the family reunion each year. Laura loves her family deeply - yet somehow, whenever she is around her sister Caroline and her brother Steve - Laura can feel the mutual tension building between them, as well as the mutual desire to get away. Yet this year's gathering will prove to be even more trying than either she or her siblings could have imagined.
It all begins when Laura receives a cryptic phone call from her younger sister Caroline. Caroline has always been regarded as the family's restless black sheep; forever wrapped up in her memories of the past, so for her to make a desperate phone call in the middle of the night is typical behavior. As much as Laura tries to be the understanding, supportive sister, she knows that Caroline has always had a dramatic flair when remembering certain events from the past, so Laura takes what she hears with a pinch of salt.
However, as soon as Laura arrives in Minnesota, she realizes that something is definitely wrong with her sister. Caroline's entire demeanor just doesn't seem right. When she eventually confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences while living in the same house. And it is the sudden revelation of such astounding secrets - secrets that have subsequently shaped the personalities and fates of all three siblings, that now threaten to tear them apart.
Yet a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness. In The Art of Mending - a novel which is her most profound and emotionally satisfying story to date - Elizabeth Berg confronts some of the deepest mysteries of life, as she explores how even the largest sins can be forgiven by the smallest gestures, and how grace can come to many through the trials of one.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion, this was a fast-paced, well-developed story; filled with vibrant and brilliantly nuanced characters that really resonated with me emotionally. I give this book a definite A+! and will be eagerly awaiting Ms. Berg's next novel with baited breath.
This is a story of grown-up siblings coming together and confronting, at one sister's insistence, the childhood in which one sister always seemed to be left out or put down. Each one has their own version of shared occasions, and it isn't easy for them to see the others' viewpoints. At some point, they realize that the shadows in their memories tell a different story than what they prefer to remember. Elizabeth Berg is a great writer, and I recommend this book.
Be aware that the main character is not the most likable person. I would hope most of us would be more caring and helpful to a sibling in distress. It takes courage for an author to create an unsympathetic main character.
But listen to this: "I think it's good to take the time to fix something rather than throw it away. It's an antidote to wastefulness and to the need for immediate gratification. ... If you're careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is a testimony to its worth."
Is that great writing, or what?
LOVED the book for its insight and beautifully drawn characters.
Easy read. Very talented writer. I couldn't make myself care much about the main character at first, but in the end I understood where the author was going and how all the characters were woven together. Recommended reading.
Elizabeth Berg is an amazing author who inspires readers as she weaves her beautiful words. Her characters in The Art of Mending truly tell a story of a "real" family, coming together in love to solve difficult problems .
Great book - unusual, but incredibly well written. The lead character vacillates from likable to frustrating. The characters are believable, some sympathetic and some just pathetic. I see a movie in this book's future, although I thought the ending was a bit abrupt for the information gleaned. I recommend reading this book.
I just loved this story. I loved the way that characters had their own foibles, the way that they did not always say the right thing at the right time, and the way that there is, finally, a sort of mending for them. I understood the characters and their actions and reactions -- this a deeply mature look at a family in trouble. It is unusual to read a Berg book that focuses so much on the dark side of humanity, but this is not to be missed.
As soon as she arrives for the annual family reunion, Laura Bartone realizes that something is terribly wrong with her sister. When Caroline confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three are forced to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness. This is another lovely novel from Elizabeth Berg in which she examines how some families grasp blindly at the ties that hold them together, and some pick them apart.
I enjoy most of Elizabeth Berg's books. This one is very good and I like the characters very much. If the characters are interesting and I want to turn continue to turn the pages to see what is going to happen next, I am satisfied with the book. I wouldn't read it again as I have a couple of her other books (Talk Before Sleep and Open House), but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
A well-written and thought-provoking offering from Berg. What do you do when your sister, the one you always avoided and thought was so strange, comes to you as an adult and claims she was emotionally abused by your mother? How to handle it, who to believe?
I enjoyed this Elizabeth Berg book and have always enjoyed her writings. The book doesn't drag you down through too much of the characters emotions. Yet you find yourself forming opinions of the main characters and wonder how you would react to the same news.
In her books, are scattered mentions of things, that remind me of my own childhood. Whether it is a toy, old TV program or event like in this case going to the state fair. And there is a comfort in knowing that someone else took note of the same inconsequential things and actually put them down on paper.
This was a very well written story that took you into the heart and soul of one family. Their issues unfold from the viewpoint of one sibling as she learns something shocking that she never knew existed.
This is the story of two women who ae best friends. One is dying of cancer the other is helping her get through it. Although not really a part of the plot, I was struck by the generousity of the husband who allowed the friend to spend so much time without complaining.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book- it is emotionally riveting but light enough that you can read it on an airplane (I did) and while watching Hannah Montana with your kids. I love the story and the twist at the end. Well worth the read!
Three siblings growing up in the same house but with different views. But a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability; and their common need for love and forgiveness.
This was a very warm, sensitive book recounting the life of a new widow and her move to a new town very soon after she loses her husband. She develops many interesting relationships as she works her way through her grief.-----------Disregard this---should be on A Year of Pleasures.