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We Are All Welcome Here


We Are All Welcome Here Cover

ISBN13: 9780812971002
ISBN10: 0812971000
Condition: Standard
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Author Q & A

A Conversation with Elizabeth Berg

Question: You’ve said in the past that you until this book came along, you hadn’t ever considered using a reader’s idea or story for one of your novels. But this time, with Pat Raming and Marianne Raming Burke, you took a real life experience and made it your own. What was different this time? What about the Raming’s story spoke to you?

Elizabeth Berg: It wasn't the story that spoke to me, at least at first. Rather it was a photograph Marianne sent me of her mother, Pat. Something in her face was so strong. I needed to know–and tell–about her.  What I loved about the true story was Pat's refusal to let extremely difficult circumstances prevent her from having a rich and rewarding life. When I wrote the fictional book, I was interested in looking at a lot of issues. One of these was: Is it "fair" for a severely handicapped woman to try to raise an able-bodied child? Another was: What does freedom really mean?


Q: Paige and Diana may have been based on real people, but they are fictional characters. How did you balance the Raming’s story with the Dunn’s story? And how did you created such a rich, vibrant, unique mother/daughter dynamic?

EB: Oh, this is always such a hard question to answer. The short answer is, Beats me. A longer one is that as a writer you look at something real, and then you consider what might have been if.... My imagination is always straining at the leash, asking to embroider, embellish, and change the things I see.  I can't explain how it works, really, how stories and characters are created, but it is very much tied up with trusting the unconscious.  Ultimately, the less I know about what I'm doing, the better the work is.


Q: WE ARE ALL WELCOME HERE is rich with the historical detail and political upheaval of the 1960s South. How did you recreate this time period for your readers? Did you talk to people who lived there, do research, or both?

EB: I went to the library and read history. And watched documentaries. I also looked at magazines from that time.

Q: Until this book, most of your books have been set in the Midwest and the Northeast — places you have lived. But this book is so much about the South. Was it different to write about the South, and to write about Southern characters? How? Do you think you’ll return to the South for another novel?


EB: DURABLE GOODS takes place in Texas, but Texas is very different from Mississippi. I'm nuts about the south–the people, the language, the food, the land, the stories and writers that come from there–but it's hard to know whether I'll use it as a location again.

Q: Elvis has a very interesting role in this story. What made you include him, and what do you think he adds to the story?

EB:  Elvis is symbolic of a lot of things, dreams coming true being one of them. I didn't know I was going to put him in, but I was happily surprised at the way he did appear.

Q: What are you working on now? 

EB: I just finished a novel called DREAM WHEN YOU'RE FEELING BLUE.  It's about three sisters and takes place during World War 2. More research!! But it was really fun, because I love the forties: the food, the fashion, and especially the music.

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sdbenjamin, July 18, 2007 (view all comments by sdbenjamin)
We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg
Paige Dunn contracted polio while nine months pregnant and miraculously gave birth to her to her daughter , Diana ,in an iron long. With remarkable courage and an undefeatable spirit she decides to raise her daughter herself, though she can only move her head and needs assistance to breathe. With the help of an African American carer, Peacie, who has strength of character and fierce loyalty, they raise Diane well, despite poverty and the racial unrest of the time in Tupelo, Tennessee As Diana navigates her thirteenth year she must come to terms not only with her own adolescent changes, but with the prejudice against the ones she loves.
Elizabeth Berg, as always, tells the story from the hearts of the characters, with beauty and truth. With an easy attention to detail you enter the world and the era and take the journey along with Diana, and share her joys, sadness and confusion, and you won?t want to leave.
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Product Details

Berg, Elizabeth
Ballantine Books
Ellizabeth Berg
Historical - General
Mothers and daughters
Historical fiction
Domestic fiction
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
fiction;polio;mississippi;disability;mothers and daughters;race relations;novel;elvis;historical fiction;civil rights movement;african americans;disabilities;1960s;family;mother-daughter relationships;civil rights;coming of age;paralysis;iron lung
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.01x5.25x.63 in. .42 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age

We Are All Welcome Here Used Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780812971002 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The bestselling author of "The Art of Mending" and "The Year of Pleasures" follows the story of three women in 1965, Tupelo, Mississippi, each struggling against overwhelming odds for her own kind of freedom.
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