Open House , by Elizabeth Berg

Site main index :
Book Reviews - All Categories
 >> Fiction  >> Open House by Elizabeth Berg

Please select an edition to check the price at Amazon.com :
Open House , by Elizabeth Berg

Hardcover
256 pages
Paperback
256 pages
Audio Book on Tape
Unabridged, 5 cassette tapes, 6.5 hours
Audio Book on CD
Unabridged, 6 audio CDs, 6.5 hours
Hardcover - LARGE PRINT EDITION
Buy the e-book
for Microsoft Reader
for Windows
Free download of the
Microsoft Reader
for Windows
Buy the e-book
for Adobe Acrobat Reader
for Windows
Free download of the
Adobe Acrobat Reader
for Windows
Read the e-book FAQ

Reviewed by Nancy Lepore for
crimsonbird.com

Open House by Elizabeth Berg

            Samantha has to reinvent her life for herself and for her 11-year-old son after a "surprise" divorce. The way she does this is by opening her house to take in boarders. At first she does this purely for monetary reasons, but through her boarders she learns a lot about herself and her life, and what ultimately makes her a happier woman. I enjoyed this book because it reinforces the notion that we are all responsible for our own happiness -- no one else can do it for us. Samantha, full of doubts and uncertainty about her abilities, is true to life. At the end, she bring about her own happiness and becomes a stronger person in the process. This book is well-written, and I look forward to reading Elizabeth Berg's other books.


  Browse ALL Oprah's Book Club Selections  

Book Description
From the Publisher

          In this superb novel by the beloved author of Talk Before Sleep, The Pull of the Moon, and Until the Real Thing Comes Along, a woman re-creates her life after divorce by opening up her house and her heart.

          Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem is money. To meet her mortgage payments, Sam decides to take in boarders. The first is an older woman who offers sage advice and sorely needed comfort; the second, a maladjusted student, is not quite so helpful. A new friend, King, an untraditional man, suggests that Samantha get out, get going, get work. But her real work is this: In order to emerge from grief and the past, she has to learn how to make her own happiness. In order to really see people, she has to look within her heart. And in order to know who she is, she has to remember--and reclaim--the person she used to be, long before she became someone else in an effort to save her marriage.

          Open House is a love story about what can blossom between a man and a woman, and within a woman herself.

Book Review
reprinted with the permission of Amazon.com

          Oprah Book Club Selection, August 2000 : The narrator of Elizabeth Berg's Open House calls divorce "a series of internal earthquakes ... one after the other." She ought to know. Samantha is abandoned by her husband in the opening pages of this three-handkerchief special, and the resultant tremors keep her off-balance for most of the novel. There are practical problems aplenty, of course, including a shortage of money and an 11-year-old son to raise. But Sam's sense of emotional bereavement is far worse, despite the fact that her husband had been giving her the conjugal cold shoulder for years:

I miss David so much, yes I do, I miss the presence of another person in my bed at night, even if he doesn't touch me; the reliability of someone else being there in the morning, even if they only shave and stare straight ahead into the mirror while you lean against the bathroom doorjamb with your cup of coffee, chatting hopefully.

          The loneliness in her "as constant and as irrefutable" as circulating blood, Sam begins to rebuild her life. She finds herself a job and takes in a couple of boarders to help meet her mortgage payments. (One of them, a depressed student named Lavender Blue, informs her that "life was nothing but one major disappointment after the other"--the sort of homily that Sam is understandably reluctant to hear these days.) She also starts dating, with disastrous results. Yet this comically kvetching heroine does manage to find love in the ruins, and by the time Open House winds down, it's hard not to believe that she's much better off. Throughout, Berg alternates her snappy and sappy registers like a real pro. And the conclusion, which most readers will be able to spot a mile off, seems just right -- the light at the end of the post-matrimonial tunnel.

-- Anita Urquhart

Amazon.com links for all editions

Site main index :
Book Reviews - All Categories
 >> Fiction  >> Open House by Elizabeth Berg
Book Stores & Book Reviews Magazines VHS Video & DVD Music CDs Consumer Electronics Cameras & Photo Supplies Software Toys & Games Jewelry Stores Kitchen Appliances, Cookware, Dinnerware, Utensils Lawn - Gardening - Patio Tools & Hardware MORE ... (site main index)