From Publishers Weekly
In this collection of mostly uplifting stories, Berg (Dream When You're Feeling Blue
) explores the everyday challenges that women face. Whether teenaged or octogenarian, Berg's heroines brave the emotional landmines underlying domestic scenes (from holiday dinner parties to visiting family), navigate the slippery slope of constant dieting and address the process of aging. The title story features an unnamed, insouciant narrator who flees from a Weight Watchers meeting and allows herself to indulge her most fattening food cravings. In Full Count, an introspective army brat begins to decipher what she looks like to others. The wistful and nostalgic Rain features a woman reminiscing about a good friend who dropped his successful corporate life to live closer to nature. Berg's men are surprisingly supportive and well behaved; it is often the women in these stories who manipulate and mistreat their partners. The protagonist of Truth or Dare, for example, struggles to accept that her ex-husband moved on after she left him. Berg has a knack for sentimental but authentic stories about women who find affirmation in true-to-life situations, and if her endings are slightly predictable, it's in a good way, like comfort food that never disappoints. (Apr.)
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Food is the source of both solace and misery for Berg’s smart, ticked-off, secretly dreamy yet demonstrably pragmatic women. Most are past 50 and less than happy with their altered bodies. They dutifully attend deadly Weight Watchers meetings, cheat wildly on their diets, then try, once again, to stay away from brownies and fast food. The binge story, “The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted,” is matched by “The Day I Ate Nothing I Remotely Wanted,” and clearly the insatiable appetite for rich and comforting foods stems from a deeper hunger for enveloping and sustaining love. This is adored author Berg’s second story collection, separated from the first, Ordinary Life (2002), by seven novels, and once again she makes striking use of the shorter form. Her stories are deliciously piquant and deceptively blithe, just as the respectable appearances of her women characters conceal fierce inner lives. Berg zeros in on the routine unfairness women face, and the anguish and irony of age and family relationships, as her bawdy, scheming, outspoken, and loyal women persevere, often finding the humorous side of difficult predicaments. --Donna Seaman
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