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Range of Motion: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Berg
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In this exquisite, emotionally rich novel, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg offers a deeply satisfying story about the bonds of love and the balm of friendship. A young man named Jay lies in a coma after suffering a freak accident, and his wife, Lainey, is the only one who believes he will recover. She sits at his bedside, bringing him reminders of the ordinary life they shared: fragrant flowers, his children’s drawings, his own softly textured shirt. When Lainey’s faith in his recovery falters, she is sustained by two women, Alice and Evie, who teach her about the endurance of friendship—and the genuine power of hope. Filled with beautiful writing and truths about life, Range of Motion is hard to put down and impossible to forget.

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From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Readers who thought The Bridges of Madison County was a romantic book should try this story of honest and enduring love from the author of Talk Before Sleep (LJ 3/15/94). The first-person narrative describes an ordinary woman caught up in unusual circumstances. Lainey is a wife/mother/office worker whose life is suddenly changed when her husband is sent into a coma by a freak accident. The only one who believes that he will one day wake up, she visits him daily, bringing him stimulus from everyday life in an attempt to reach him. "I line up the little spice bags all across his chest. All across his University of California T-shirt are requests from the kitchen. Come back, says the curry, the oregano. And me." Lainey is sustained through her ordeal by the support of two special women: Alice, who lives next door, and Evie, the ghost of the woman who lived in Lainey's house in the Forties. A touching and enjoyable read, this novel is romantic without being a romance. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections.?Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Berg's impeccable prose gives voice to that element in our psyche that enables us to cope with the impossible. In her last novel, Talk before Sleep , the impossible was terminal cancer. Here tragedy is tinged with a painful sense of the absurd: the narrator's husband, Jay, is hit on the head by ice falling off a building, an accident that sends him into a coma. Lainey loves Jay with her whole heart and refuses even to consider the possibility that this condition could lead inexorably toward death. Lainey goes to the nursing home every day, bringing Jay flowers, his favorite clothes, and their two confused young daughters. And she talks to him, touches him, tries to draw him back to the world of the living. At home, Lainey tempers her fear with fantasies about an all-knowing "ghost woman" who encourages her to be strong. In less capable hands, this story line would be unbearably mawkish, but Berg writes on a higher plane. We can't control life, Berg tells us, but it sure helps to have faith. Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • File Size: 1225 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WL1Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,183 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I don't know how many wonderful books I've read by ElizabethBerg, and Range of Motion keeps the same great standard. It is full ofbeautiful prose, moving emotional scenes, and realistic dialogue. Itis the story of a woman whose husband is in a coma. Thoughout thenovel she must deal with the pain it is brining her to see her husbandso far away, and she also must help her two young daughters face the same feelings. The book backtracts to discuss the relationship between the woman and her husband before his accident, and the reader can see it is a rare story of true love. That makes his condition all the more sad, because for the first time in her life since she met him, she must deal with the absence of the love of her life.
An interesting subplot in the novel was that of the main character's best friend and her failing marriage. This relationship was painted in such a way that it drew much sympathy from me, and I felt that the best friend really came to life in the book.
A weird quirk in this novel was the character of a ghost, an old lady who used to own the main character's house. I realize that the ghost helped the woman cope in her lonliness, but I felt it was unrealistic. I guess the main character temporarily went crazy, and this led to hallucinations and talking to the ghost. This part was supposed to be touching, but to me it was fake. And although most of the imagery was fantastic, there were some points at which I felt it was a bit forced. I felt that the images in Berg's other novels were much more natural. These were the only problems I had with the novel, and I loved the plot and the characters.
For those who have never read a Berg novel, I recommend starting with one of her other ones, such as Durable Goods, Joy School, or What We Keep.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fast read by Elizabeth Berg. July 7, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
RANGE OF MOTION by Elizabeth Berg is the story of Lainey, whose husband Jay is in a coma due to an icicle falling on his head and knocking him out. Lainey sees the humor in all this, and at the same time tries to deal with a future that may not include the love of her life. Her emotions are up and down and she prays and hopes that he will awaken one day. She tries all sorts of things to bring him out of his coma, bringing to the hospital things from home that may stir his mind and help bring him out of the coma. She also spends a lot of time reminiscing about time spent with Jay, the romantic things, the every day things.
At the same time, Lainey notices how her two children are dealing with this tragedy. The oldest Sarah does not seem to be coping well at all, and at times refuses to even see Dad.
Lainey struggles with her emotions, and gets support from her neighbor Alice, who is going through some rough times of her own. The book gets into Alice's troubles, where she is worried that her husband is having an affair with someone at work. The conclusion to this subplot was rather interesting, and I was glad that it got resolved! (The reader was not left hanging).
I think this is my 4th book by Elizabeth Berg, and as with the others I enjoyed reading it a lot. However, I don't feel this is my favorite of her books. I was expecting something with more substance. The book was well-written as all her books are, but I felt that she could have delved more into Lainey's past with Jay and maybe got more into detail about the relationship with the two daugthers. Overall, though, this was a good read!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets under the surface of things, and sticks with you September 25, 2003
Format:Paperback
This was the first book I read by Elizabeth Berg. It was one of those happy accidents where you decide to try that book in the bargain pile by an author you don't know, and it turns out to be one of your favorites. I love the tenderness of Lainey's relationship with Jay, how she so deeply misses him, the images of how hard it is to have your partner in the terrible limbo of a coma, and how hard it must be to be the only one who believes he'll ever wake up. Lainey's internal dialogue is very interesting, how her view of the world both evolves and doesn't while she deals with her situation. And as with all of Elizabeth Berg's novels (at least the several I've read), you can't help but find cause for optimism at the end, no matter what happens.
The images that stick with you are the way she uncovers the beauty, the poetry, in the most everyday things. That's a hallmark of her writing. It tends to point out why you should tell your partner and your children why you love them, why you should remember to look at the sunset, stop to catch snowflakes on your tongue, etc.
Just read it. Especially for this book, but to some degree for all of her novels, it's hard to describe the charm of Elizabeth Berg's writing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and moving March 9, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the few books that have brought me to tears... tears rolling down my face, dripping across my nose and onto my pillow. Elizabeth Berg never handles a situation like you'd think it would (or probably should) be; she handles it in the way in which it would truly happen. What would I really think if my husband were in a coma? No really, what would I be THINKING? It's an incredibly complicated concept, even more heart-wrenching than other books about actual death that I've read. She has a wonderful, intimate way of bringing the same hurt, confusion and intensity of emotions her characters experience into the mind and heart of her readers. It's a very genuine thing that keeps me reading her stories with open ears.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very engrossing tale of two neighbors. One neighbor's ...
A very engrossing tale of two neighbors. One neighbor's husband is hospitalized in comatose condition with the probability that he won't awaken. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Nicodemus
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and hopeful
A lovely, life-affirming story. A few cliched plot lines (the next-door neighbor's marital woes) could have been left out, but the strength and determination of Lainie were... Read more
Published 23 days ago by RueRue
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved the book....it was beautiful.....elizabeth berg is poetry in motion.....god bless her for inhabiting our planet earth.....
Published 1 month ago by Dhriti Beri
4.0 out of 5 stars one day read
As always Elizabeth berg pulls at our hearts & spirits. Don't know how I missed this one in 2012. Oh yes. I was getting ready to move from il to de. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Frances Garside
5.0 out of 5 stars Will love it.
Love everything Elizabeth Berg. She is a wonderful author and I will read it, I promise. You can't go wrong.
Published 5 months ago by ldr322
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Elizabeth Berg is an excellent writer regardless of her subject. This was a very interesting plot. It was hard not to read it too fast. It's a book to be savored.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
This is an easy read book you could finish in a day or two. Not much of a plot and very predictable.
Published 11 months ago by Teapot Momma
5.0 out of 5 stars Extemely interesting.
This book was selected for our book club. It is a fascinating book and the story of how we adapt when life throws you a curve.
Published 13 months ago by CM
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this. Boook
This book has so many lessons in it. It will take me some time to process all of them. It is a beautifully told story of never giving up. It is a story that is spiritual . Read more
Published 13 months ago by crow grandma
3.0 out of 5 stars quick read
Sweet point of view on the power of connections, devotion, friendship and love. Good reminder of how hope cures all.
Published 13 months ago by Jackie Czamanske
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More About the Author

Elizabeth Berg won the NEBA Award for fiction for her body of work, and was a finalist for the ABBY for Talk Before Steep. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Ladies' Home Journal, Redbook, and the New York Times Magazine. She has also taught a writing workshop at Radcliffe College. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

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