Once Upon a Time, There Was You: Book summary and reviews of Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg

Once Upon a Time, There Was You

A Novel

By Elizabeth Berg

Once Upon a Time, There Was You
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2011,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed that they were about to make a mistake. Years later, divorced, dating other people, and living in different parts of the country, they seem to have nothing in common - nothing except the most important person in each of their lives: Sadie, their spirited eighteen-year-old  daughter. Feeling smothered by Irene and distanced from John, Sadie is growing more and more attached to her new boyfriend, Ron.

When tragedy strikes, Irene and John come together to support the daughter they love so dearly. What takes longer is to remember how they really feel about each other.

Elizabeth Berg has once again created characters who embody the many shades of the human spirit. Reading Berg’s fiction allows us to reflect on our deepest emotions, and her gifts as a writer make Once Upon a Time, There Was You a wonderful novel about the power of love, the unshakeable bonds of family, and the beauty of second chances.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Berg delights in the eccentricities that shape complex personalities and excels in decoding the chemistry and paradoxes of relationships." - Booklist

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Louise J
Great Read!
John and Irene’s marriage only lasted eight short years. They divorced when their daughter, Sadie, was 8-years-old. Irene moved away making her the prime caregiver to Sadie and John visited when he could and had Sadie every August.

Their marriage and relationship was tenuous at best. In my opinion, it failed because of Irene. She is an odd character who is deeply lonely and neither she nor John had much in common other than their beloved Sadie.

When something terrible happens to Sadie, they come together and realize that in all these years they’ve never really figured each other out or even really knew how they felt about each other.

I loved the story but found Irene a very odd person, her own worst enemy at times. She wasn’t ever happy, thought differently and perceived things differently than most people, but isn’t that what makes each of us unique? Although the story involved John, Sadie, Irene and a few friends, I felt the story focused more on Irene than anyone. At times while reading I just felt like I wanted to yell at Irene: “Okay, okay just shut-up will ya!!! Geez!!” Her incessant chatter and what I call whining was weighing heavily on my nerves. I kept thinking “why?” are John and Sadie trying so hard with Irene, she “kept herself” miserable and couldn’t seem to pull herself out of this narcissistic, lonely, complaining place she was in. The story was well-written and any author who can evoke such involvement and emotion in me definitely gets my thumbs up!!

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Author Information

Elizabeth Berg Author Biography

Photo © 2003 Joyce Ravid

Elizabeth Berg was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 2, 1948.

Before Berg became a writer, she was a registered nurse for ten years, and that was her "school" for writing—taking care of patients taught her a lot about human nature, about hope and fear and love and loss and regret and triumph and especially about relationships--all things that she tends to focus on in her work. She worked as a waitress, and she sang in a rock band. One day, she entered a writing contest for a magazine and won. She wrote for magazines for ten years, then moved into novels and has not stopped since. She usually writes a book a year. Berg has won a number of awards.

She was married for over twenty years and is now divorced. Berg has two daughters and three grandchildren. She currently lives in ...

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