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The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by…

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. (2012)

by Nichole Bernier

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1813165,444 (3.75)4



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Loved the ability to know Elizabeth through her journals and see Kate's reflection of her own behavior through those pages. Great exploration of marriage, family, the power and pull of satisfying work. Loved the writing. ( )
  Lcwilson45 | May 31, 2014 |
After the death of her friend Elizabeth, Kate is given her journals to decide what to do with them. As Kate reads the journals she realises she didn't really know Elizabeth at all. ( )
  RefPenny | Jan 6, 2014 |
This book is, in part, about the differences between who we are and how others see us. Kate knew Elizabeth as a devoted wife and mother, a friend that she met in a suburban Connecticut play group. But when Elizabeth dies in a plane crash, she leaves her journals to Kate. During a vacation at the beach, Kate starts reading and learns how little she knew about Elizabeth. As Kate struggles with her own insecurities and questions (Has her marriage gotten stale? Should she go back to work? Can she keep her family safe in a post-9/11 world?), she learns that Elizabeth wasn't as polished and secure as she appeared.

I listened to this book on audio, and it worked well in that format. At times, I felt like the themes of this book(Do we really know each other? Can we ever find a balance between work and motherhood?) overshadowed the story, but these are the questions that I struggle with as well, and Bernier doesn't propose easier answers. I appreciated that. ( )
  porch_reader | Nov 21, 2013 |
I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. The premises sounded captivating: A woman leaves her journals to her best friend instead of her husband and children. What secrets are there that she would never want them to know?

Sadly, the book was a complete bore. Yes, things were revealed, but I honestly didn't feel any type of connection with anyone and even after pages and pages of information, I really got nothing out of it.

I imagine this would be an ok book for a book club as everyone could sit and debate the issues brought up, but why bother? Life is to short to read and discuss mediocre books.

Sorry - I can't recommend this one. ( )
  tweezle | Oct 16, 2013 |
What happens to your journals, the place you share your secret life, if you die suddenly? After Elizabeth’s unexpected death, Kate inherits a trunk of her close friend’s journals and brings them on vacation to read. This is the summer after 9/11, a time of intense re-examination of both national and personal safety. As Kate discovers Elizabeth’s secrets, she questions both their friendship and her own choices and yearnings. This book is tender and compelling. And it made me wonder what I should do with the dozen dusty journals in the bottom of my closet.
( )
  EllenMeeropol | Apr 7, 2013 |
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Somehow I should have been able to say how strong and resilient you were, what a patient and abiding and bonding force, the softness that proved in the long run stronger than what it seemed to yield to.... You are at once a lasting presence and an unhealed wound.

Wallace Stegner, "Letter, Much Too Late"
To Tom,
so generous with works in progress,
and to all unfinished women,
gone too soon
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The George Washington Bridge had never been anything but strong and beautiful, its arches monumental, cables thin and high.
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Inheriting her best friend's diaries after a tragic accident, Kate learns unknown aspects of her late friend's life, from her deeply troubled childhood to her feelings of powerlessness as a wife and parent.

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