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BookBrowse Reviews The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

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The Story of Arthur Truluv

A Novel

by Elizabeth Berg

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg X
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2017, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2018, 272 pages

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BookBrowse:


"A story filled with truths and packed with wisdom--one that I will re-read for I still have much to learn from it."

Elizabeth Berg's heartwarming novel scored an an impressive 4.4 average rating from the 48 members who reviewed it for First Impressions.

What it's about:
This is an incredibly sweet story about three lonely, disparate people who learn to love and support each other (Frances N). Arthur's wife Nola died recently but he still has lunch every day at her grave site. He talks to her and imagines the lives of others buried near her. Maddy Harris, a troubled teen, also spends her lunch hour at the cemetery to escape those who bully her at school. As time goes on Arthur, Maddy, and Arthur's elderly neighbor Lucille become friends and help each other conquer loneliness and rejection (Rose N). It's a paean to being weird, being old and being in love (Frances N).

Most First Impression readers felt the book was inspiring:
What a sweet uplifting story! (Carole A). It's charming; it's a book you just want to hug after reading it. I thoroughly enjoyed this "feel good" book (Janet S). The developing relationship between the three characters brings warmth, hope and joy (Mary A). Berg writes heartwarming stories and this novel does not disappoint (Beverly S). Like a good dessert, it finished too soon (Carole A).

Many commented on the quality of the author's character development:
Berg has a lovely way of depicting characters that we all feel we have or could know (Carole A). I felt for Arthur, who, like many men of his generation, did not know what to do without the love of his life. I also felt for Lucille, Arthur's neighbor, who believed she had nothing to live for until she became involved in the lives of Arthur and Maddy. Finally, I felt for Maddy, isolated at home and an outcast at school, whose life was forever changed by the kindness and love of these two old people (Sara G). The characters are so real you come to care for each one of them (Mary W).

The novel resonated with older readers and those with aging family members:
Truluv was especially eloquent to me as I'm watching my parents age and as my own true love and I are growing old together. Arthur provides a shining example of remaining young at heart and allowing that heart to be always open to new friendships and expanded families (Bonnie R). The story reminds us how valuable older people are (Mary W). Maddie's thoughts regarding the relationships she developed with Arthur and Lucille brought a smile to this older and experienced reader's face! (Celia P)

Our reviewers felt particularly gratified by the lessons they learned from the book:
I enjoyed this book very much. Not only is it a well-written and engrossing story with interesting characters, it also explores some important questions: "What gives our life meaning? How do we live a good life?" (Joan R). It's a story that is filled with truths and packed with wisdom--and a story that, in time, I will re-read for I still have much to learn from it (Karen J).

The few readers who didn't like the novel cited its light nature:
I prefer my books a bit "meatier"; this was more like Lucille's orange blossom cookies; delicious but not nutritious enough to make a meal (Bettie T). The plot is quite contrived and all the tension that might have been explored is quickly and easily brought to a not-quite-believable fairy-tale closure (Janell C). The characters were just a little too nice; it was predictable, and everything was nice and tidy at the end. The whole story was just too superficial (Jan Z).

Overall, though, most of our reviewers really connected with it:
It was a treat to read and it won't be my last book by this author (Maggie P). What a truly delightful read! (Betty T). It was thoroughly enjoyable (Donna G). The only thing bad about this book is that it ended (Cathleen K).

The Story of Arthur Truluv is recommended for a wide audience:
Occasionally a book comes along that cries to be shared with a friend (Karen J). I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading other books by Elizabeth Berg (Maxine D). This would be a good choice for readers looking for a "feel good" experience (Betty B) and would also be an excellent book group choice because there's so much to discuss about the questions it explores (Joan R). It should especially appeal to the retirement crowd (Carol S). It was reminiscent of the writing styles of Frederick Bachman and Fannie Flagg (Rose N). I will recommend this book to many of my reading friends, young and old, but especially to those who enjoyed Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove and Anne Tyler's Breathing Lessons (Gail K). Fans of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand would like this book (Mary B).

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in November 2017, and has been updated for the August 2018 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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