All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

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Happy reading!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Last Time I Saw You, by Elizabeth Berg

The Last Time I Saw You, by Elizabeth Berg, chronicles the return of a senior class to its 40th high school reunion. Berg does an exceptional job describing how their lives have changed:  how some have emerged like a butterfly from a chrysalis, how others have seen their lives take unexpected turns, and how each is affected by the passing years.

Divorcee Dorothy Shauman struggles to recover her youthful appearance for the event, to gain the affections of the popular Pete Decker. Lester Hessenpfeffer, widower and veterinarian, has no desire to attend the reunion, but agrees at the urging of his office staffer who hopes he would find a companion. Mary Alice Mayhew wants to attend the reunion, against the advice of friends who feel she was unfairly treated in high school. Berg successfully introduces classmates into the mix of characters who faithfully capture the diversity of any high school class.

The action develops as characters prepare for the big weekend event and culminates in the event itself—a registration and box lunch, the dinner-dance, and brunch the following morning. Characters share lovely pieces of advice, artfully woven into the story, such as, “We lose something here, we get something there. The trick is to stop looking in the old place to find the new thing,” and “That’s what you need to do in your marriage. You need to give what you want,” and “Sometimes you just have to step back and get out of your own way, and things start coming to you.”

Berg is an excellent storyteller, and The Last Time I Saw You is an engaging and entertaining story. The characters are likeable, and she even imbues the ones a reader might expect to dislike with redeeming traits and qualities. A good book to read after the invitation to your next high school reunion arrives, The Last Time I Saw You was published by Ballantine Books in paperback in 2010 and by Random House in hardcover.

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