I have begun to count on Elizabeth Berg's books as rewarding and enjoyable reads. Years ago I was introduced to Berg through Oprah's book club and have made it a point to read everything she has published since. And Berg has done her part by continuing to churn out women's fiction books almost on a yearly basis.
Her latest book, The Last Time I Saw You, centers around a group of fifty-somethings who are getting ready to attend their fortieth class reunion. Through the lives of a few main characters Berg is able to accurately depict what life is like for most people at this point in their lives.
Mary Ann Mayhew is planning on attending her reunion, despite the fact that she was often ridiculed in high school. While at first I felt sorry for Mary Ann, I quickly changed my mind, realizing how much Mary Ann had going for her that was not appreciated by her peers. NEver married, she moved back into her parents' home after their deaths and has a close friendship with an elderly gentleman who she agrees to take with her to the reunion.
Peter, one of the high school guys that managed to often be the center of attention, attracting many girls in his youth, is hoping to attend his high school reunion with his estranged wife, Nora. Peter is trying to win back his wife after having cheated on her. Peter was likeable at times, and at others, showed his shallow character. Truly, Peter was a character still learning about himself and making changes to his life.
Candy Armstrong was the girl that many a high school boy found very attractive. While she had a promising social life in her teen years, her marriage has left her feeling very alone. Her husband is able to provide for her nicely financially, allowing her many material posessions, but he lacks any real emotional ability to be in a marriage. When Candy is diagnosed with ovarian cancer just days before her reunion, her husband's reaction seems to be one of annoyance at this inconvenience.
Lester, much like Mary Ann was often ridiculed by his peers while in high school. However, the intelligence many determined to be nerdy or uncool in their youth, allowed Lester to attend vetrinary school. After losing his wife and unborn child at an early age, Lester remains alone, not against the idea of finding companionship, but not looking for it actively, either.
Just as with many high school reunions those who attend want to look their best and impress the others who are there. While some of Berg's characters still seem stuck in the glory of their youth, others have moved on and become much more caring and mature adults. I so appreciated the way Berg was able to write about an experience that many have had and capture the feelings that these events elicit.
This is another winner by Elizabeth Berg, a great choice for book clubs and other women's fiction readers.