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The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg
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The Art of Mending

by Elizabeth Berg

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I like the realism -- an ending that could really happen, not written for a sappy movie closing-titles theme. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
I like this book, but at the same time I was hoping for more. With the title of The Art of Mending, I guess I thought I would see more mending of relationship then just the start of or maybe the mending might happen. A lot more couldn't of been done, versus just glazing over of the complex of emotion with in a family when a hidden secret comes out. The one brother just drops out the picture, like the results will not affect him and he had no interest. Even though I enjoy the book, I did want a lot more from the story. I did listen to the audio book, and enjoyed the person reading the story. ( )
  lemonpop | Nov 22, 2017 |
An annual family reunion in St. Paul (walking distance to the Mn. State Fair). Laura arrives at Mom and Dad's with her husband and daughter to enjoy a week before school starts for Hannah. But it was going to be anything but relaxing. her younger sister, Caroline seems determined to talk about "issues" growing up. Laura ends up having time for this nonsense when her Dad dies during the visit. A great example of how kids can have a totally different experience growing up in the same family. ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 21, 2017 |
It's been a few days since I finished reading this book. I usually try to do the book review when the book is fresh in my memory but, you know, life has a way of getting out of hand at times.

I loved the writing in this book. I loved this passage from page 210:
When I was in grade school, I, along with the other girls, wrote boys' names on my notebook paper, wrote myself as Mrs. a hundred times in a dreamy script. But I did that in the same way that I wore whatever clothes were in style--I had no real belief that I would ever meet in the middle with someone. And indeed it did take a long time for me to find someone I wanted to marry. But I'm so glad I waited. What I know about Pete and me is that the flame will never go out. I do not look up from tossing the salad and think, Oh, God how the hell did I ever get here? I do not look at the back of his head and think, I don't know you at all. I wake up with my pal, and go to sleep with my lover. He still thrills me, not only sexually but because of the way he regards the life that unfolds around him. I am interested in what he says about me and the children and our respective jobs, but I am also interested in what he says about the Middle East and the migratory patterns of monarchs and the amount of nutmeg that should be grated into the mashed potatoes and the impact that being a thwarted artist had on the life of Hitler. I believe Pete is a truly honest and awake and kind individual. If we live more than once, I want to find him again.

That is so exactly how I feel about my marriage that I felt like she had been peering into my thought processes. And there were many instances of the writing being so bang on I had to stop and appreciate it instead of barging on through to get to the end.

That said, I felt let down at the end of the book. I couldn't quite believe that the emotional scene between mother and daughter could just end with brownies and a shopping trip.

In yet another one of those instances of synchronicity that seem to happen with BookCrossing, last night I attended a production of Arthur Miller's play, The Price. It is the story of two brothers who haven't spoken in 18 years because the elder pursued his dream of becoming a doctor while the younger gave up his promising scientific career to become a cop and look after his father who was ruined in the crash of 1929. When they have their encounter there are recriminations and attempted rapprochements but finally the elder stomps out. The younger one realizes that after all these years of wanting to have it out with his brother he is comfortable with the choices he made and what his brother did or does in the future doesn't matter to him. Now that seemed much more satisfying (and likely) an ending than the facile way this author chose to end this book.

However, the journey to the end was well worth it and I would be interested to read more by Elizabeth Berg. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 8, 2017 |
I thought this was one of her better novels. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
There is a field. I'll meet you there.
--Rumi

Anyone's childhood can be an act of disablement if
rehearsed and replayed and squinted at in a certain light.
--Carol Shields, from Unless

The foxes were having their pups . . . if a stranger
appeared near the pens, if anything too startling or
disruptive occurred, they might decide to kill them.
Nobody knew whether they did this out of blind irritation,
or out of roused and terrified maternal feeling.
--Alice Munro, from Lives of Girls and Women
Dedication
For those who find
forgiveness by way
of the truth
and for those
who find the truth
by way of forgiveness
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It is a photograph of a staircase that I took with my Brownie camera over forty years ago.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034548648X, Mass Market Paperback)

It begins with the sudden revelation of astonishing secrets—secrets that have shaped the personalities and fates of three siblings, and now threaten to tear them apart. In renowned author Elizabeth Berg’s moving new novel, unearthed truths force one seemingly ordinary family to reexamine their disparate lives and to ask themselves: Is it too late to mend the hurts of the past?

Laura Bartone anticipates her annual family reunion in Minnesota with a mixture of excitement and wariness. Yet this year’s gathering will prove to be much more trying than either she or her siblings imagined. As soon as she arrives, Laura realizes that something is not right with her sister. Forever wrapped up in events of long ago, Caroline is the family’s restless black sheep. When Caroline confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences in the same house. But a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness.

Readers have come to love Elizabeth Berg for the “lucent beauty of [her] prose, the verity of her insights, and the tenderness of her regard for her fellow human” (Booklist). In The Art of Mending, her most profound and emotionally satisfying novel to date, she confronts some of the deepest mysteries of life, as she explores how even the largest sins can be forgiven by the smallest gestures, and how grace can come to many through the trials of one.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Returning home for the annual family reunion, Laura Bartone and her brother, Steve, are stunned by their sister, Caroline, and her allegations of shocking behavior on the part of their mother, and are forced to come to terms with the truth and lies within their family, as well as painful cycle of denial, blame, repression, and forgiveness.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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