Berg, Elizabeth. Ordinary life, stories.

AuthorBees, Janice
PositionBrief Article - Young Adult Review - Book Review

Random House. 192p. c2002. 0-8129-6813-1. $12.95. SA

This book is a collection of 14 short stories by Berg, who has a gift for writing dialogue that expresses how people communicate between the lines, and how they struggle to connect with each other. For example, in "What Stays," grown-up daughter Lizzy thinks back to her childhood and tells the tale of her mother's spiraling mental illness. Lizzy recounts her confusion about her mother's illness, and how her father struggled to protect his daughter from the truth about her loving but eccentric mother.

Berg is also especially adept at showing the differences in how men and women communicate, with her older male characters often avoiding any conversations about feelings. In this vein, another poignant story, "Martin's Letter to Nan," consists entirely of a letter written by a husband, after he's found a note from his...

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