Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

First line: Dorothy Shauman Ledbetter Shauman is standing in front of the bathroom mirror in her black half-slip and black push-up bra, auditioning a look.

From the inside cover: From the beloved bestselling author of Home Safe and The Year of Pleasures comes a wonderful new novel about women and men reconnecting with one another - and themselves - at their fortieth high school reunion.

To each of the men and women in The Last Time I Saw You, this reunion means something different - a last opportunity to say something long left unsaid, an escape from the bleaker realities of everyday life, a means to save a marriage on the rocks, or simply an opportunity to bond with a slightly estranged daughter, if only over what her mother should wear.

As the onetime classmates meet up over the course of a weekend, they discover things that will irrevocably affect the rest of their lives. For newly divorced Dorothy Shauman, the reunion brings with it the possibility of finally attracting the attention of the class heartthrob, Pete Decker. For the ever self-reliant, ever left-out Mary Alice Mayhew, it's a chance to reexamine a painful past. For Lester Hessenpfeffer, a veterinarian and widower, it is the hope of talking shop with a fellow vet - or at least that's what he tells himself. For Candy Armstrong, the class beauty, it's the hope of finding friendship before it is too late.

As Dorothy, Mary Alice, Lester, Candy, and the other classmates converge for the reunion dinner, four decades melt away: desires and personalities from their youth reemerge, and new discoveries are made. For so much has happened to them all. And so much can still happen.

In this beautiful novel, Elizabeth Berg deftly weaves together stories of roads taken and not taken, choices made and opportunities missed, and the possibilities of second chances.

My thoughts: This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Berg and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a tale of a group of fifty-somethings who are getting ready to attend their fortieth class reunion. This is the last reunion (it's never explained why it's the last) but it motivates many of the class members to attend that might not have otherwise. We are introduced to a wide cast of characters from the jocks to the nerds and find out what they were like in high school and who they have become as adults. I loved the way the story is told from the points of view of five different characters - Dorothy, Mary Alice, Lester, Candy and Pete - and I loved the way you get different perspectives on the same situation. I found myself rooting for these people as if I knew them. Each of these characters has his or her own reasons for wanting to attend the reunion, and his or her own expectations and hopes for what the reunion could possibly mean for the future. While I have not attended any of my high school reunions, I get the feeling that Elizabeth Berg nailed what it would be like, especially attending the later ones. This was definitely a fun, light, quick read and I look forward to reading more from Elizabeth Berg.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)
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2 comments

  1. I have read Berg before and I really enjoy her. Say When is one of my favorites by her....

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  2. @Julie P I will have to check that one out when I head to the library this week...thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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