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The Last Time I Saw You: A Novel Paperback – November 23, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A high school reunion and all of its attendant dramas is the backdrop of Berg's rose-tinted latest (after Home Safe). For Dorothy Shauman, her 40th reunion is the chance to finally hook up with her high school crush. She prepares weeks in advance for the big night, strange as that may seem, preening in front of the mirror. As Berg surveys the gamut of emotions felt by Dorothy and some of her classmates, she zeroes in on an array of stereotypes—the hot girls, the jocks, the in crowd, the out crowd—and considers what makes each one tick, offering the vanilla revelation that the person on the inside doesn't always match the person on the outside. It's cleanly plotted, ably written, and sure to appeal to boomers staring down the barrel of their own 40th reunions. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

For everyone who has received an invitation to their high-school reunion and broken out in a cold, clammy sweat, Berg nails the experience: the dread that morphs into downright fear; the bouts of self-doubt that coalesce into prolonged periods of self-loathing; the internal inventory that comes up short in the bragging-rights column. Of course, there’s just as much potential for life-affirming and life-altering revelations. Glory days can be relived, damaged reputations repaired, lapsed friendships restored, lost loves rekindled. As Dorothy, Pete, Mary Alice, Candy, and Lester consider returning to Clear Springs for their fortieth high-school reunion, each contemplates the chance for redemption and revenge, renewal and retribution. Ultimately, they are then surprised to discover how much they have yet to learn about human nature and their own capacity for joy and forgiveness. Luckily, the zestfully wise Berg is the perfect teacher for such tender lessons of the heart, and her sublimely authentic and winsome characters are apt students. Book groups are clamoring for upbeat yet significant works that are entertaining as well as enlightening; Berg’s latest novel satisfies and succeeds on both counts. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345517318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345517319
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By 1gr8reader on April 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this quick and easy read of 58 year-olds facing the 40 year high school reunion. I am 58 myself with a 40 year high school reunion this summer and, I have to tell 'ya, Ms. Berg absolutely nails the various predicaments, conditions, and thoughts of us boomers. If you are of this certain age, you'll laugh out loud at the references to Viagra, Spanx, and a face "looking like ice cream falling off a plate." It's been many, many books ago that I repeatedly laughed out loud. Her writing is soooo smooth. What a refreshing joy ~ just good lighthearted reading for an afternoon ~ a wonderful way to spend a few hours repeatedly identifying with these characters. A gem!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Why would anyone want to attend their fortieth high school reunion? We find out in Elizabeth Berg's bittersweet novel, "The Last Time I Saw You." The author introduces us to a diverse group of people in their late fifties who still remember what it was like to be an adolescent at Whitley High. Fifty-eight year old Dorothy Shauman is divorced and desperate to reconnect with the best-looking guy in the class, Pete Decker, "the football player, the prom king." As Dorothy gazes at herself in the mirror, she "raises her chin so her turkey neck disappears." Her imagination runs wild as she predicts how she and Pete will banter, flirt, and subsequently leave the others behind to spend some quality time together. Mary Alice Mayhew had been shunned by her high-school classmates because of her dowdiness and lack of social skills. Although she has never been married, she claims to be content with her quiet and solitary existence. "She has learned not to let hurt take up residence inside her." In spite of her self-reliant personality, Mary Alice admits that there is someone she used to know in high school whom she would not mind seeing again.

Widower and loner Lester Hessenpfeffer is devoted to the animals he cares for in his veterinary practice, and would rather not attend the reunion at all. His assistant, Jeanine, hounds him into going. Pete Decker left his wife, Nora, for a younger woman, and now regrets his rash behavior; his mistress is vapid and his wife has started dating someone else. He hopes to win her back at the get-together. Candy Sullivan, the most desirable female in the class, is miserable in her marriage to an aloof and controlling husband. She needs to get away from him while she makes some tough decisions about her future.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mo Compassion on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The last two days, the dishes have piled up, the laundry in the dryer needs to be rewashed - everything is wrinkled and I don't iron, and my coffee table is littered with chocolate Easter candy wrappers and empty coffee cups.

I blame Elizabeth Berg and her new release - The Last Time I Saw You.

What a joy to read. The characters were faulty yet lovable, the writing, as ALWAYS, was so freaking smooth and flowing.

Read the synopsis for info on what the book is about - my review is to recommend it. If you want a pleasurable read, if you want to escape for a day or two (because you won't want to put it down), go out and pick up a copy.

Just make sure your house is clean and you have plenty of food to snack on as you won't be doing much other than reading!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Babe Ruth on June 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Wow! What a disappointment this book was. Thankfully, I borrowed it from the library so I didn't pay anything for it! Actually, I listened to the CD and stuck with it since I was on a long trip and didn't have anything else available.

I have read nearly all of Ms. Berg's books, and this one was the worst by far. The characters are stodgy and predictable, as is the dialog, and it's hard to believe anyone under the age of "senior citizen" (I am 49), would find this book intriguing in any way. The characters are complete stereotypes and their interactions totally unrealistic and downright boring. To top it off, Ms. Berg's narration sounds tired and not up to the level of a professional reader. Avoid this book and stick with earlier titles like "The Art of Mending" and "Year of Pleasures" and "We Are All Welcome Here."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By nashvillegirl VINE VOICE on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was my first Elizabeth Berg book - I had heard a lot of good things about her and the plot sounded interesting, so I chose this to be the first one of hers I read.

While she is clearly a talented writer, I didn't get the sense that this was her best book. I thought the plot sounded interesting - following the thoughts and actions of several characters who are preparing for and attending a high school reunion late in life. Each character comes from a slightly different spot in the high school social hierarchy, which of course influences their thoughts and preparation for the reunion. I appreciated seeing the multiple different points of view and I could sympathize with the worries about looking older and trying to look your best when you see classmates that can remember you when you were young, as well as with the desire to show people that no matter what happened in high school, you're doing well now.

Certain characters, such as Dorothy, I found to be immature and somewhat unrealistic in parts. I found myself hoping that when I was the same age of these characters, I would not be quite as hung up on what happened in high school as they seemed to be. I understand that with the book's focus on the reunion, obviously the characters would be reliving the past and wondering what would happen when they saw old flames, but at times, I was under the impression that these people had done nothing but plan to "fix" what had happened in high school during all the years leading up to this reunion. I didn't feel like that at my 10th reunion, so it was difficult for me to believe that I would care that much for my 40th. I also found the dialogue during the scene where everyone is talking about what they had hoped to get out of the reunion somewhat unrealistic.

I would definitely read something by this author again, but I wouldn't recommend this particular book to many people.
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