On the Shelf: The Last Time I Saw You

If you’ve read my blogs, you know how much I’ve enjoyed reading really good books written by first-time-published authors. I also love “visiting” with “old friends” like Elizabeth Berg.
I was introduced to Berg by Oprah (not personally – oh how I wish!) and by a good friend, who thought I’d really enjoy Berg’s Oprah book club selection, Open House. I’ve been a fan of Berg’s ever since, not only because she’s a wonderful writer, but also because she dares to write about women (and men) of a certain age, providing those of us who have been reading books for the past 55 years a refreshing alternative to chick lit and paranormals.
Berg’s latest offering, The Last Time I Saw You, is the story of five former classmates reconnecting with one another at their fortieth high school reunion. Heartthrob Pete, always-on-the-sidelines Mary Alice, newly divorced Dorothy, widower Lester and class beauty Candy discover things about themselves and each other that will change their lives forever.
Berg has mastered the fine art of characterization, breathing life into everyone you meet on the pages of her books, no matter how small a part they play in her stories.  She is also a wise and witty writer, as evidenced by the following bit of advice Dorothy offers her soon-to-be-married daughter Hilly:
“That’s what you need to do in your marriage. You need to give what you want. And don’t expect so much. That only sets you up for disappointment. If you expect anything, expect that marriage will be hard, that it will be work. And expect that the pleasures will be erratic and often small, but they’ll turn out to mean more than you know.” 
I highly recommend The Last Time I Saw You to anyone in the mood for a really good book that will make you laugh, make you cry and make you think about all sorts of things – roads taken and not taken; choices made and opportunities missed; and the possibilities of second chances.