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Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg

Talk Before Sleep (1997)

by Elizabeth Berg

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1,209299,942 (3.81)19
  1. 00
    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although Talk Before Sleep focuses on the strong bond between two lifelong friends, rather than the brief but emotionally intense relationship between a hired caregiver and her charge, both moving, character-driven novels confront the issue of mortality head-on, without sentimentality.… (more)

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Ann is processing the impending death of her friend Ruth's death from breast cancer. A small and mighty circle of woman friends helps Ruth work through the stages associated with the grief of dying. Written in Berg's usual down-home style wherein beauty is observed and life's frailties are examined and over come, some of this rang true, yet other parts of the book seemed forced.

I liked the book though, and could relate to much of it because I lost a female friend to ovarian cancer. Ann's husband and daughter are very patient with her while she spends most of her time helping Ruth. With the exception of a few squabbles, the group of friends hold tight to the mission of working together for the best interests of Ruth. ( )
  Whisper1 | Sep 15, 2016 |
I was disappointed in this book. It was very redundant and just overly long. It was pretty difficult to even like Ruth, the terminal patient. Ann, the faithful friend, was rather unbelievable and her too close friendship with Ruth, plus the presence of the obviously gender-confused L.T. made one wonder if the too close friendship was going to turn sexual at some point. Ann's husband was absolutely unreal in his patience with having his wife gone to stay with Ruth for days at a time and also leaving their young daughter at the drop of a hat to be with her dying friend. I guess the book said a lot about the value of friends but it sure didn't say much about the importance of family and the responsibilities that go with having a family.
I gave this book 3 stars which to me means OK because I did finish it but I certainly couldn't recommend it. ( )
  bibliophileofalls | Jul 2, 2016 |
This story of a woman dying with breast cancer is sad, but I found it also enriching, even nurturing. There is love shown in different ways--gifts of life given and received in spite of flaws as death comes closer.

The story comes in short scenes. The dialog and descriptions got my attention. I felt like I was watching the characters while invisible in the room.

I saw many books by Berg at the library and am eager to see what else she has done. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Feb 24, 2016 |
If you're looking to spend an afternoon cuddled up with a book and a cup of tea you really can't go wrong with Elizabeth Berg. Her books are quick reads with uncomplicated themes and she's a compelling storyteller. Talk Before Sleep is no different although I think a little shorter than most. The characters are well-drawn and mostly likeable. I wish I had such an assortment of friends! This is fine chick lit. ( )
  Penske | Oct 2, 2015 |
This book broke my heart. ( )
  madcatter | Sep 14, 2015 |
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For women with cancer who have found their fire, and for those who are still searching
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This morning before I came to Ruth's house, I made yet another casserole for my husband and my daughter.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345491254, Paperback)

"Until that moment, I hadn't realized how much I'd been needing to meet someone I might be able to say everything to."

They met at a party.  It was hate at first sight.  Ruth was far too beautiful, too flamboyant.  Not at all Ann's kind of person.  Until a chance encounter in the bathroom led to an alliance of souls.  Soon they were sharing hankies during the late showing of "Sophie's Choice," wolfing down sundaes sodden with whipped cream, telling truths of marriage, mortality, and love, secure in a kind of intimacy no man could ever know.  Only best friends understand devil's food cake for breakfast when nothing else will do.  After years of shared secrets, guilty pleasures, family life and divorce, they face a crisis that redefines the meaning of friendship and unconditional love.

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:05 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

What do women talk about when they know they don't have forever? They talk about what they have always talked about, only they go deeper and are more honest; with outrageous humor they try to mitigate pain. Intimate and uncensored sharing, the kind of connection women prize, is at the heart of this deeply moving novel about the grit and power of female friends. Ann and Ruth have always talked as only great friends can - honestly, and about everything: husbands and marriages, sex lives and children, their work, their hopes, their disappointments, and their dreams. For Ann, cautious and conventional, her closeness to the outspoken and eccentric Ruth brings about discovery and liberation, a chance to say whatever she wants, and, most important, under the insistent tutelage of Ruth, to become herself. Over the years, the women have shared recipes, quilting patterns, child care, delicate and dangerous secrets. Each rests secure in the knowledge that they will be friends forever. Then Ruth is diagnosed with cancer, and everything changes; the women begin to share something more profound than either of them might have predicted...… (more)

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