Summary and book reviews of Open House by Elizabeth Berg

Open House

By Elizabeth Berg

Open House
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  • Hardcover: Jul 2000,
    256 pages.
    Paperback: May 2001,
    272 pages.

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About this Book

Book Summary

In this superb novel by the beloved author of Talk Before Sleep, The Pull of the Moon, and Until the Real Thing Comes Along, a woman re-creates her life after divorce by opening up her house and her heart.

Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem is money. To meet her mortgage payments, Sam decides to take in boarders. The first is an older woman who offers sage advice and sorely needed comfort; the second, a maladjusted student, is not quite so helpful. A new friend, King, an untraditional man, suggests that Samantha get out, get going, get work. But her real work is this: In order to emerge from grief and the past, she has to learn how to make her own happiness. In order to really see people, she has to look within her heart. And in order to know who she is, she has to remember--and reclaim--the person she used to be, long before she became someone else in an effort to save her marriage. Open House is a love story about what can blossom between a man and a woman, and within a woman herself.

Prologue

You know before you know, of course. You are bending over the dryer, pulling out the still-warm sheets, and the knowledge walks up your backbone. You stare at the man you love and you are staring at nothing: he is gone before he is gone.

The last time I tried to talk to David was a couple of weeks ago. We were in the family room--David in his leather recliner, me stretched out on the sofa. Travis was asleep--he'd had his eleventh birthday party that afternoon, the usual free-for-all, and had fallen into bed exhausted. The television was on, but neither of us was watching it--David was reading the newspaper and I was rehearsing.

Finally, "David?" I said.

He looked up.

I said, "You know, you're right in saying we have some serious problems. But there are so many reasons to try to work things out." I hoped my voice was pleasant and light. I hoped my hair wasn't sticking up or that my nose didn't look too big and that I didn't look fat when I ...

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About This Book

In this superb novel by the beloved author of Talk Before Sleep, The Pull of the Moon, and Until the Real Thing Comes Along, a woman re-creates her life after divorce by opening up her house and her heart.

Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem is money. To meet her mortgage payments, Sam decides to take in boarders. The first is an older woman who offers sage advice and sorely needed comfort; the second, a maladjusted student, is not quite so helpful. A new friend, King, an untraditional man, ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

The eighth effortless novel from soft-pedaling specialist Berg is an emotional slurpee/comedy featuring the newly separated mother of a near-teenaged son who finds the man of her dreams in spite of herself .... Skillfully crafted, with a fluidity and snap that will delight Berg's fans but, when all is said and done, a distressingly familiar story.

Library Journal

Berg writes with clarity, accurately capturing the aftermath of an adjustment of the heart. Her characters are true to life, with diverse and complex emotional reactions to real-life situations.

Publishers Weekly

Berg once again refreshes a well-worn plot with knowing domestic detail, an understanding of familiar--sometimes conflicting--female emotions and an infectious sentimental optimism.

Reader Reviews
Becca

Beauty andGrace
I have read Open House only once, and I can not find words that express quite what I feel about this novel. Here are some though. Hearfelt. Breathtaking. truthful. This book is so powerful and real that I would recommend it to anyone, young, old, ...   Read More

Kat

I am a senior in High School and I choose to read Open House on a whim for an assignment over two months. I picked the book at first because the prolouge seemed readable. Little did I know that I would finish the book in three days!(I still had to go...   Read More

Veronica

I thought this book was quite boring. Girl marries...girl gets dumped...guy wants to reconcile...girl refuses. Nothing new here. I was unimpressed.

Kim in CT

I loved this book and could not put it down. Open House is the first Berg novel that I have read, and I will be going to the library today to pick up another one by her. I enjoyed that Berg wrote in the first-person present and could feel in my ...   Read More

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