Home Safe: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Apr 28 2009
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“Berg is a tender and enchanting storyteller who wisely celebrates the simple, sustaining elements of life… A keen and funny observer, she is the poet of kindness…This [is] an insightful, graceful, and romantic novel.”—Booklist
“Berg gracefully renders, in tragic and comic detail, the notions that every life–however blessed–has its share of awful loss, and that even crushed, defeated hearts can be revived.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Berg’s] warmth, humor, and forgiving eye for human nature, mixing wry observation with heartwarming moments, make this a pleasant read.”—Library Journal
“A charming read.”—People
“Some of the best fiction plants us in someone else's life and forces us to keep turning the pages no matter how minute the details. Elizabeth Berg, who is expert at that technique, has produced one of her most honest and intimate novels with Home Safe.''—Boston Globe
About the Author
Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels as well as two works of nonfiction. Open House was an Oprah’s Book Club selection, Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for an Abby Award. Her bestsellers also include The Year of Pleasures, The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, and Dream When You’re Feeling Blue. Berg has been honored by both the Boston Public Library and the Chicago Public Library and is a popular speaker at various venues around the country. She lives near Chicago.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Berg gets the devastation of the loss of one's partner. The realization of the codependency, the crippling lassitude that Helen feels. BUT, I did not like Helen, Tessa, or even, Midge. While the beginning of the book delved into the gut wrenching loss of Helen's life partner, it sank into banality, rushing from shallow scene to scene, losing the impact of the captivating introduction. I kept waiting for the ah ha moment, the reveal of who Dan was, yet, the book's characters remained hidden by Helen's whining. She roared with emotion out of the gate, but lost both steam and my interest as the story progressed. I would have loved to feel some triumph for Helen, but could only feel relieved when the story ended. I love Elizabeth Berg's storytelling.Read more ›
Call it 'chick-lit' if you will...although it seems more aimed at the mother of the usual chick-lit reader.
Ms Berg's writing style has a very approachable way about it. It's casual, unpretentious, she doesn't 'dress things up'...and yet there is no question about her writing abilities: she's an accomplished writer who not only wants to say something, but has something to say that's worth listening to. But in this novel (the third of hers I've read), she seems not to have been pushed at all...and therefore delivers something not so much 'flabby' as...well, 'flaccid'.
I was half-way through and I still hadn't really gotten what the thrust of the story was. It was as if she was noodling...without actually accomplishing much. The entire novel felt 'foggy'. As if it was a riff on an idea...and because she never had any great aspirations for it, the result showed these lack of aspirations. (The book really doesn't breathe well...so I'm very much using 'aspirations' in two ways.) In fact, if I didn't have the respect I do for Ms Berg's talents, and if I didn't get as much out of 'Home Safe' as I did, I'd probably lambaste this effort with terms like 'half-baked'.
As it is, the novel's merits aren't sufficient for me to encourage anyone to read it. For some, it might still satisfy. Those will more than likely be die-hard Berg fans. For everyone else, forewarned is forearmed.
Personal rating: 6.5/10
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this story, we are given a window into how the death of a spouse upon whom one depends--perhaps too much--can completely disorient one to the point where behavior appears odd even many months later. The world seems to have a time limit to its sensitivity and support, the griever has no such limits.
My only criticism here is that while the central characters were realistic, I didn't like them very much and for me that detracted from my enjoyment of the story. While I sympathized with Helen's plight, it was from afar, but perhaps there was a message there too.
As so many others, I had 'reader high hopes' - the curse of a past-excellence creating author, I'm sure. This book was as if the editor kept calling to make some money off her and this is what she came up with.
Main character Helen is irritating, and I would not even want to be her friend - I have never said that about any other work from Elizabeth Berg - I've raved. The one point I appreciated was Helen coming to the realization that her dead husband was NOT a perfect mate. So often, after the death of a loved one, we put them on a pedestal during the mourning, and that is normal, but true healing does not happen until we can acknowledge their flaws without feeling guilty about it.
'Home Safe' does not have the open-door, come on in warm feeling of most other Elizabeth Berg books. I should have read The Year of Pleasures again instead. :)