The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

April 29, 2010
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The Last Time I Saw You
Elizabeth Berg

Random House
4-29-10
Hardcover/256 pages
ISBN: 978-1400068647
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"What could have been banal and boring, Berg made exciting and touching."

Going home is bitter and sweet and memorable in Berg’s latest novel.

For five people, going to their fortieth and last high school reunion is better and worse than they expected. Two losers in high school made good. The captain of the football team and all around good guy frets over his broken marriage. The homecoming queen is still beautiful, but broken, and the prim and proper virgin isn’t so prim and proper any more.

They have all come back to mend fences, see their rivals, take a chance that their crushes will give them the time of day and find out that over the years not that much has changed.

High school is never over, or at least that is the theme of Elizabeth Berg’s latest novel, The Last Time I Saw You and she sets out to prove it.

It seems that there are a lot of middle-aged writers revisiting their glory days and turning over the layers of years to find out if they are better or worse off than they were in high school. Berg does it better. She has breathed life into the lives of small town high school alumnae. Each character is carefully drawn and infused with the best and worst of humanity without being maudlin or fobbing off caricatures. I recognized several of my own classmates in The Last Time I Saw You.

What could have been banal and boring, Berg made exciting and touching. I thoroughly enjoyed the book when I was certain I would not. This is a fully realized word that has not been short cut or short changed; however, the audience who would most appreciate the subtleties and themes is over fifty.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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