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Home Safe: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg

Home Safe: A Novel (original 1998; edition 2009)

by Elizabeth Berg

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925589,453 (3.53)70
Title:Home Safe: A Novel
Authors:Elizabeth Berg
Info:Ballantine Books (2009), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg (1998)

Recently added byprivate library, suline, kcoates729, plathgirl319, swantonlibrary, ritastrickler, DebraSandy
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» See also 70 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
A stumped writers journey of finding her place in her family after suddenly losing her husband. She is overbearing, lonely, judgemental, feels helpless yet interfering. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
A stumped writers journey of finding her place in her family after suddenly losing her husband. She is overbearing, lonely, judgemental, feels helpless yet interfering. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
Easy read. Good book. I liked the primary character Helen and found myself identifying with her as she navigated through day-to-day life. About love & loss, about letting go, about appreciation for all the big and great and wonderful things in our lives, and all the little things. ( )
  cjservis | Jan 17, 2016 |
Helen Ames has been a best-selling author for much of her life but after the sudden death of her husband, Dan, Helen finds that she is unable to write and that the constant flow of book ideas has deserted her. Dan had always taken care of everything - finances, home repairs, insurance - while Helen worked in her home office. Now Helen is stunned to realize how little she knows about taking care of anything and she has begun to rely on daughter Tessa far too much. At age 27, Tessa is desperately trying to be independent but Helen is constantly dropping in to Tessa's Chicago apartment with unwanted gits, leftovers, and pleas for assistance. One thing Helen does not have to worry about is money as Dan carefully invested so that they would have a comfortable retirement nest egg. A call from the Ames' accountant throws Helen's life into turmoil when she learns that Dan made a huge withdrawal just before his death and Helen has no idea what the money was used for. Immediately Helen has terrible thoughts about what kind of double life her husband might have been leading but a phone call from a stranger in California clears up the monetary mystery but sends Helen into deep confusion and self-doubt.

For the most part I though this book was a good one and I liked Helen but I find it hard to believe that any woman could be so clueless about everything. She does show a lot of growth throughout the story and she finds some great fulfillment in teaching a community center writing course. Although the missing money is explained I'm not sure that it is reasonable that a husband would take that much money ($850,000) out of a retirement fund when he and his wife are nearly 60 years old. What did he think they were going to live on? This was a very quick read and, while not completely satisfying, it was a good diversion for a few hours.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
I thought this book about love, loss and healing was really well done. You can see the main character struggle and flounder and ultimately come around to a kind of self acceptance and peace. Her confusion and panic attacks felt real as well as her hope at the end. It left me feeling satisfied and content. ( )
  CinderH | Sep 24, 2015 |
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If we look at the path, we do not
see the sky. We are earth people
on a spiritual journey to the stars.
Our quest, our earth walk, is to look
within, to know who we are, to see that
we are connected to all things,
that there is no separation,
only in the mind.
--Native American, source unknown
You get the hovering gray of early morning, or late afternoon-- the hours of yearning.
There's the wind and the rain

And the mercy of the fallen. . .

There's the weak and the strong

And the many stars that guide us

We have some of them inside us

--Dar Williams

"The Mercy of the Fallen"
Again the pyrocanthus berries redden in the rain, as if return were return. It is not. The familiar is not the thing it reminds of.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer.
For Jean-Isabel NcNutt
For those who have gone before us.
For Pat Raming and Marianne Raming Burke
For women with cancer
who have found their fire,
and for those who are
still searching.
For Jennifer Sarene Berg and Julie Marin Krintzman
First words
Dear Martin, I know you think I keep that green rock by my bed because I like its color.
I had been right to want to drive to the midwest, taking only the back roads.
Oftentimes on summer evenings, I would sit outside with my mother and look at the constellations.
This morning, before I came to Ruth's house, I made yet another casserole for my husband and my daughter.
You know before you know, of course. You are bending over the dryer, pulling out the still-warm sheets, and the knowledge walks up your backbone. You stare at the man you love and you are staring at nothing; he is gone before he is gone
Sex is so shaky and mysterious. I will never unravel it.
…it had put them on the fast track for being comfortable with each other. As they were, ever after. Always comfortable in a way that Dan described as home safe.
I do not believe the army is a good idea for people with regular human hearts.
Without her husband or the practice of laying out words on a page, she feels that she spends her days rattling around inside herself; that, whereas she used to be a whole and happy woman, now she is many pieces of battered self, slung together in a sack of skin.
What she feels, suddenly, is that she has come to see Dan. He is not here, but here he is.
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Book description
Contains: The day I ate whatever I wanted -- Returns and exchanges -- The party -- Over the hill and into the woods -- Full count -- Rain -- The day I ate nothing I even remotely wanted -- Mrs. Ethel Menafee and Mrs. Birdie Stoltz -- Double diet -- The only one of millions just like him -- Truth or dare -- How to make an apple pie -- Sin City.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345487559, Paperback)

In this stunning novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames–recently widowed, coping with grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her–is beginning to depend too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, meddling in her life and offering unsolicited advice. Then Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and seemingly loyal husband was apparently leading a double life. When a phone call from a stranger sets Helen on a surprising path of discovery, both mother and daughter reassess what they thought they knew about each other, themselves, and what really makes a home and a family.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Recently widowed Helen Ames and her twenty-seven-year-old daughter Tessa discover that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals from the Ames' retirement savings. What Helen's husband did with all their money turns out to be provocative, revelatory--and leads Helen and her daughter to embark on new adventures, and change.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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