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Open House: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – May 1, 2001
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I miss David so much, yes I do, I miss the presence of another person in my bed at night, even if he doesn't touch me; the reliability of someone else being there in the morning, even if they only shave and stare straight ahead into the mirror while you lean against the bathroom doorjamb with your cup of coffee, chatting hopefully.The loneliness in her "as constant and as irrefutable" as circulating blood, Sam begins to rebuild her life. She finds herself a job and takes in a couple of boarders to help meet her mortgage payments. (One of them, a depressed student named Lavender Blue, informs her that "life was nothing but one major disappointment after the other"--the sort of homily that Sam is understandably reluctant to hear these days.) She also starts dating, with disastrous results. Yet this comically kvetching heroine does manage to find love in the ruins, and by the time Open House winds down, it's hard not to believe that she's much better off. Throughout, Berg alternates her snappy and sappy registers like a real pro. And the conclusion, which most readers will be able to spot a mile off, seems just right--the light at the end of the post-matrimonial tunnel. --Anita Urquhart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"THIS NOVEL MAKES FOR PLEASANT READING . . . PATTY MURPHY IS APPEALINGLY VULNERABLE. . . . NOVELIST ELIZABETH BERG HAS AN ENGAGING VOICE AND STYLE."
--Los Angeles Times
"A PERCEPTIVE COMEDY OF MODERN MANNERS . . . At the end of each undemanding day, Patty goes home to an empty apartment and listens to her biological clock ticking as ominously as Captain Hook's crocodile. . . . Patty wants a husband and a baby, and not necessarily in that order. . . . But Patty has a problem. Try as she might, there is only one man she can love--her best friend, Ethan--and try as Ethan might, he is quite firmly and intractably gay. With rueful good humor, Until the Real Thing Comes Along shows how Patty and Ethan come to terms with the impossibility of having it all."
--The Boston Globe
"BERG WRITES WITH HUMOR AND UNDERSTANDING ABOUT MATTERS OF THE HEART. . . . The author's generous view of humanity is evident in her characters, who walk right off the page they are so well and truly drawn."
--St. Louis Post Dispatch
"ENTERTAINING . . . FLAWLESS DIALOGUE . . . READING IT IS LIKE EAVESDROPPING ON AN INTIMATE FEMALE CHAT."
--New York Daily News
"COMPELLING . . . [A] WARMLY TOLD TALE."
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Top Customer Reviews
Sam deals with the end of her marriage in a scattershot way: looking for reasons, spending lots of money, trying to figure out what to do, and generally flailing about, emotionally. But the reader comes to understand why, thanks to Berg's wonderful writing. This was the reaction of a woman has no idea what will happen next, when all the things she has thought would come to pass suddenly are no longer a part of her future.
The reader observes Sam as she takes in boarders to help pay the mortgage, has a succession of temp jobs, and begins dating again. At the same time, Sam is going through the grief process, trying to heal herself emotionally in order to get herself to a better place.
I found Berg's humor much more apparent in this book than in any of her others. I laughed out loud when Sam sat down at her sewing machine and sewed up the fly on every one of her husband's boxer shorts! Her characterizations -- of her son, her mother, and the boarders -- were excellent.
Had I not read any other Berg books, I probably would have given this a "5" but I don't think it was quite as good, nor as moving, as "Talk Before Sleep" or "Pull of the Moon".
Berg's strong point is making you care for her characters, as much as she can from how little she gives you. Sam seems to be a bit needy, pathetic and lost at the beginning, but soon learns and finds strength and resilience where she least expects it. She has her son, growing older and away from her; her best friend, so close at heart but so far away; her new friend, King, who we all have to adore; her new housemates, who open her up to the world. Reading through their lives for a short time is interesting and enjoyable.
That said, I don't see why this was picked as an Oprah Book Club selection. I'm glad to see Elizabeth Berg getting more attention, since her past works certainly deserve it. But this novel is sparse and light; it is not one of her best. It is worth a read, but not the accolades. While I sped through it quickly and couldn't put it down for a few hours, once it was through it didn't linger much in my mind. Read this, and then go read more of her older novels. Many of them are much better.
PS. I'll never think of Martha Stewart in the same way ever again! Thank you Elizabeth Berg.
There simply wasn't anything to hang onto in this book. I found the characters fragmented and fractured. I wanted to like Sam. I wanted to take her into my heart as kin. But the harder I tried the more she annoyed me. From beginning to end I saw someone who was clueless, selfish and immature. It was especially difficult having been in a simular situation myself.
If Sam had been reading this book she would have given up half-way through. I stuck it out to the end...hoping for some glimmer of reality...emotion or attachment to something or someone.
It never showed up. Skip this one inspite of it being an Oprah selection. And if you do read it, don't judge all of Elizabeth Berg's work by this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a choice from my book club, and I'd never heard of the book or the author. Thus, my expectations were low, and I'm happy to admit, wrong.. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Terryl Paiste
It was just a soap opera... Made for TV and not worth the time to read it. The writing was ok but the story was nothing.Published 5 months ago by Mary Troiano
This is my first Elizabeth Berg book which was recommended by a writer friend. I love how Berg spins a yarn. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ms. Carole L. Sustak
I loved this book. I had received it years ago as part of a book swap, but never read it and I don't think that I would have fully appreciated it had I read it before I went... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was another pleasant surprise for me. I found this book in a Little Free Library kiosk. It was the only one that looked as if it might be readable. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Carolyn Dargevics
Easy read. Middle aged couple go through separation and probable divorce and outlines the stages one goes through. Characters are developed nicely especially the main character. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lorrie