Summary and book reviews of Never Change by Elizabeth Berg

Never Change

by Elizabeth Berg

Never Change
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  • First Published:
    May 2001, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2002, 224 pages

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Book Summary

With effortless warmth, and loving respect for characters that defies easy sentiment, Never Change melds the emotional depth and gentle intensity of poetry with the rich satisfactions of finely wrought fiction.



You know people like me. I'm the one who sat in a folding chair out in the hall selling tickets to the prom but never going, the one everybody liked but no one wanted to be with.

A self-anointed spinster at fifty-one, Myra Lipinsky has endured the isolation of her middle life by doting on her dog, Frank, and immersing herself in her career as a visiting nurse. Myra considers herself reasonably content, telling herself, It's enough, work and Frank. And it has been enough -- until Chip Reardon, the too-good-to-be-true golden boy she adored from afar, is assigned to be her new patient. Choosing to forgo invasive treatment for an incurable illness, Chip has returned from Manhattan to the New England home of his childhood to spend what time he has left. Now, Myra and Chip find themselves engaged in a poignant redefinition of roles, and a complicated dance of memory, ambivalence, and longing.

From the author whose work The New Yorker calls "strong" and "timeless" comes a wry and beautifully distilled portrait of one woman's resilience in the face of loneliness, and of a union that transcends life's most unexpected and challenging circumstances. With effortless warmth, and loving respect for characters that defies easy sentiment, Never Change melds the emotional depth and gentle intensity of poetry with the rich satisfactions of finely wrought fiction.

Chapter One

You know people like me. I'm the one who sat on a folding chair out in the hall with a cigar box on my lap, selling tickets to the prom, but never going -- even though in the late sixties only nerds went to proms. But I would have gone. I would have happily gone; I would have been so happy. I wanted the phone call with the rough voice asking "Would you...?" I wanted to finger row after row of pastel dresses in silks and chiffons -- their sweetheart necks, their wide ribbon ties. I wanted to have some shoes dyed; I thought it was a miracle they could do it. I wanted to put a wrist corsage in my refrigerator, lock the bathroom door, and bathe in perfumed water with rollers in my hair and the transistor at the edge of the sink blaring "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch." I wanted to allow an hour for the application of all my new Maybelline, suffer the flash-bulbs of my parents' eager camera, stay out all night, and eat breakfast before I came home, bleary-eyed and in the know.

I ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Another bedside drama from prolific bestseller Berg ..... Berg wastes her considerable writing talent on a contrived, familiar story, and a likable but implausible protagonist. Still, who can argue with success?

Library Journal

Berg seems to have bounced back. Her previous novel, Until the Real Thing Comes Along was a fun read, but there was no substance beneath the diversion. With Never Change, Berg gets closer to the power and depth of her early novel Talk Before Sleep.

Reader Reviews

Lindaintexas

I have just finished "Never Change". I cannot remember a book that brought me to the deepest parts of the human experience as effectively as this one. Elizabeth Berg knows what the greater truths of life are. She walks in the path of the...   Read More

Alana Mcdonnas

i am still only in high school but the librarian in my school recommended this to me as she had already read it and enjoyed it. i found this book was funny in some parts but in other parts it had me in tears.

Myra - who is the main charecter - is 51 ...   Read More

Melanie Nordquist

I absolutely loved this book. Every sentance painted mental pictures for me. The language is nothing short of beautiful, the emotions brought about by the writing charmed and entrigued me. Some of the references to childhood experiences brought ...   Read More

Tim

It is funny how a person can write what "you" feel...and so on the dot too. Everything from Myra getting excited with the phone call with Chip all the way to Myra wanting to die with Chip. A beautiful story told with a unique touch of ...   Read More

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