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The Art of Mending


The Art of Mending
Elizabeth Berg
237 pages

First sentence: It is a photograph of a staircase that I took with my Brownie camera over forty years ago.

Reflections:  Laura Bartone, a 50-something married mother of two, returns to her hometown for an annual family gathering with her parents, brother, and sister.  When Laura's younger sister Caroline asks for a meeting with Laura and their brother Steve, the reunion begins to take on a different tone from past events.  Caroline surfaces emotional events from their childhood, which differ greatly from Laura and Steve's experiences.  

The Art of Mending explores family relationships; specifically, how children's views of past events affect their journey to adulthood, and the nature of adult parent-child relationships.  Its title is a metaphor for healing, taken from a passage discussing the domestic pleasures of ironing and mending:
...there's an art to mending: If you're careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is testimony to its worth (p. 14)

Berg writes lovely descriptive prose.  Yet while this book held promise, it did not live up to my expectations.  The characters lacked depth, and none were particularly likeable.  The plot was formulaic and predictable.  Worst of all, this book was manipulative, blatantly tugging at the reader's heartstrings.  I can do without that ...  ( )

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 15th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
I left you a comment on this book over at Unread Authors :) Wendy
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )