‘We Are All Welcome Here’ by Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg is one of my favourite writers. Her books are comfortable and she has uncanny insight into the ordinary, making  it extraordinary, and oh so recognizable. She has written about two dozen books, of which I’ve read over a dozen. I usually read one or two every year.  The books are all about different topics, but two of the types of characters she captures well are middle age women, and adolescent girls. Hmmm, might be hormonal. I also heard her speak at a conference and found her to be very articulate and wise. Her website is worth a visit. It is full of warmth and fun, and she is willing to share some of her personal life with readers as well as a list of her books. (Elizabeth Berg Website)

‘We Are All Welcome Here’ is a story of a remarkable woman who was paralyzed by polio, abandoned by her husband,  but was devoted to raising her daughter on her own, with help only from a daytime caretaker who was devoted to both of them. The woman gave birth to the child while she was in an iron lung! It is based on a true story.

One of her books is about a woman in love with a gay friend who can never return her love (Until the Real Thing Comes Along). She has a trilogy about a teenage girl( Durable Goods, Joy School, True to Form). There are some short story collections, one called The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. We can all relate to that! The Handmaid and the Carpenter is a nice retelling of the story of Mary and Joseph. Pull of the Moon is a book of diary entries by a woman in mid life crisis who leaves her husband and goes on a driving trip to sort some things out. Apparently a few men have read it to better understand their menopausal wives! But in the book we never hear from the husband.  Then in one of her short story collections, her husband Martin gets a chance to speak and we hear his side of the story. (‘Martin’s Letter to Nan’ in Ordinary Life)  That is just a taste, I can’t really recommend one of her books over another, they are all good. Take your pick and enjoy!

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