Summer Read 5


Another Elizabeth Berg, you shouldn't be too surprised with that though, I'm Berg obsessing this summer.
This has been my favourite read this summer, by far.  In fact, I liked it so much that I feel like sitting down and reading it again, but then again, Berg books seem to have that effect on me.
So many parts of this wonderful novel jumped out at me and had me rereading passages or reading very slowly-which is a rarity for me.  Normally I fast forward through books, but this one is a gem.  Thank you, Kyla for forgetting you already had a copy and getting another.  You seem to have the same problem as me.

In this novel, Berg tackled parenting, relationships with your husband, loss, new love, the love of reading, the love of writing, the love of your parents, the love of your children and had me wanting more.
I could see myself in so many passages. Helen lost patience and yelled at her (her daughter), then grabbed her by the arm and spanked her...Tessa wailed at the top of her lungs, her pride hurt as much as her bottom.  Helen stood there wide-eyed, her heart pounding, wanting to weep herself, wanting to fall to her knees and beg her daughter's forgiveness.  Instead, she fled to her bedroom, closed the door, and sat at the edge of her bed, terrified at the way such strong emotion had suddenly overcome her.  Where had it come from?  It was too hard having children, she remembers thinking. 
I have so many moments when the husband is away on stints to Vancouver where I am constantly amazed at how horrible I can parent.  I break down and yell for what feels like the majority of the day.  I lose my temper more than I laugh.  It can get horrible.   This book helped me take a deep breath and look at situations in a different light.  It was like 60 year old Deena was talking to me and encouraging me.
She talked, too, about how books educate and inspire, and how they soothe souls-"like comfort food without calories," she said.  She talked about the tactile joys of reading, the feel of a page beneath one's fingers; the elegance of typeface on a page.  She talked about how people complain that they don't have time to read, and reminded them that if they gave up half an hour of television a day in favor of reading, they could finish twenty-five books a year.  "Books don't take time away from us, " she said.  "They give it back.  In this age of abstraction, of multitasking, of speed for speed's sake, they reintroduce us to the elegance- and the relief!-of real, tick-tock time."
For me, this summer has been mostly about reading and returning to that calm, relaxing feeling at night.  I enjoy the fresh air and the sunset on my deck as my imagination soars to different worlds.  It has been a great summer so far and I'm feeling very at ease and at peace.  I would think this is mostly from the time I'm giving myself to relax with a good beer book.

1 comment

  1. I totally get what you are saying about being a different parent when Dan is away. Yesterday before bed I wondered if the only tone of my voice that Calder will remember when he's older is one that is sharp or annoyed.

    This morning after reading your post, I realize that we all probably don't give ourselves nearly enough credit. And probably if we sat down and focused on the positives of the day there are way more than there are negatives (I am telling myself this anyway!).


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