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ISBN13: 9781400065110
ISBN10: 1400065119
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this new novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames-recently widowed, coping with loss and grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her-is beginning to depend far too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, and is meddling in her life, offering unsolicited and unwelcome advice. Helens problems are compounded by her shocking discovery that her mild-mannered and loyal husband was apparently leading a double life. The Ameses had painstakingly saved for a happy retirement, but that money disappeared in several large withdrawals made by Helens husband before he died. In order to support herself and garner a measure of much needed independence, Helen takes an unusual job that ends up offering far more than she had anticipated. And then a phone call from a stranger sets Helen on a surprising path of discovery that causes both mother and daughter to reassess what they thought they knew about each other, themselves, and what really makes a home and a family.

Review:

"Love, work and the absence of both figure prominently in Berg's latest, a rumination on loss and replenishment. Since novelist Helen's husband, Dan, died a year ago, she's been unable to write, and though her publisher and agent aren't worried, she is, particularly after a disastrous performance at a public speaking engagement leaves her wondering if her writing career will be another permanent loss. Meanwhile, daughter Tessa is getting impatient as Helen smothers her with awkward motherly affection. Tessa longs for distance and some independence, but Helen is unable to run her suburban Chicago home without continually calling on Tessa to perform the handyman chores that once belonged to Dan. And then Helen discovers Dan had withdrawn a huge chunk of their retirement money, and Helen's quest to find out what happened turns into a journey of self-discovery and hard-won healing. Berg gracefully renders, in tragic and comic detail, the notions that every life — however blessed — has its share of awful loss, and that even crushed, defeated hearts can be revived." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The bestselling author of The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted and The Year of Pleasures returns with a wonderful novel about a woman, a daughter, and a surprising change in life

Beloved author Elizabeth Berg tells the story of the recently widowed Helen Ames and of her twenty-seven-year-old daughter Tessa. Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and loyal husband had been leading a double life. The Ames's had saved money for a happy retirement, planned in minute detail, but that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals--spent by Helen's husband before he died. What could he possibly have been doing? And what is Helen to do now? Why does Helen's daughter object to her mother's applying for a job--and why doesn't Tessa meet a nice man and get married?

What Helen's husband did with all their money turns out to be provocative, revelatory--and leads Helen and her daughter to embark on new adventures, and change.

About the Author

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels as well as two works of nonfiction. Open House was an Oprahs Book Club selection, Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for an Abby Award. Her bestsellers also include The Year of Pleasures, The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, and Dream When Youre Feeling Blue. Berg has been honored by both the Boston Public Library and the Chicago Public Library and is a popular speaker at various venues around the country. She lives near Chicago.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

teelgee, September 30, 2009 (view all comments by teelgee)
I was leaning toward a 3 rating for this newest of Berg's books - it felt predictable and a bit ho hum. But it really picked up for me toward the end and turned out to be not so predictable after all.

The story centers on 59 year old Helen, a novelist who's been recently widowed. She hasn't been able to write since her husband's death; it becomes apparent that she was dependent on him for many things and she must find her way through the maze of finances, home repair and navigating around her city of Chicago. She comes to depend on her 27 year old daughter Tessa a bit too much and is also forced to let go of trying to control Tessa's life.

There are many nice moments and bits of prose in this novel. I especially liked the writings of the adult students she taught (an experiment in diversity). Berg was able to come up with consistent voices for each of the students, and these scenes showed glimpses of astonishing writing by people who wouldn't consider themselves writers or be considered writers by others.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400065110
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Berg, Elizabeth
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Parent and adult child
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Contemporary Women
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090428
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.50x6.58x1.10 in. 1.14 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women

Home Safe Used Hardcover
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Random House - English 9781400065110 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Love, work and the absence of both figure prominently in Berg's latest, a rumination on loss and replenishment. Since novelist Helen's husband, Dan, died a year ago, she's been unable to write, and though her publisher and agent aren't worried, she is, particularly after a disastrous performance at a public speaking engagement leaves her wondering if her writing career will be another permanent loss. Meanwhile, daughter Tessa is getting impatient as Helen smothers her with awkward motherly affection. Tessa longs for distance and some independence, but Helen is unable to run her suburban Chicago home without continually calling on Tessa to perform the handyman chores that once belonged to Dan. And then Helen discovers Dan had withdrawn a huge chunk of their retirement money, and Helen's quest to find out what happened turns into a journey of self-discovery and hard-won healing. Berg gracefully renders, in tragic and comic detail, the notions that every life — however blessed — has its share of awful loss, and that even crushed, defeated hearts can be revived." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The bestselling author of The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted and The Year of Pleasures returns with a wonderful novel about a woman, a daughter, and a surprising change in life

Beloved author Elizabeth Berg tells the story of the recently widowed Helen Ames and of her twenty-seven-year-old daughter Tessa. Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and loyal husband had been leading a double life. The Ames's had saved money for a happy retirement, planned in minute detail, but that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals--spent by Helen's husband before he died. What could he possibly have been doing? And what is Helen to do now? Why does Helen's daughter object to her mother's applying for a job--and why doesn't Tessa meet a nice man and get married?

What Helen's husband did with all their money turns out to be provocative, revelatory--and leads Helen and her daughter to embark on new adventures, and change.

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