The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg was on my spring reading thing list and I finished it up over the weekend. I read it a bit slowly I think because parts of it seemed so sad to me and made me teary. Betta Nolan and her husband John live in Boston where both have successful careers, love each other deeply but live a life unto themselves. They have no children, relatives or friends. (I wonder if there are people that actually have no family) When John dies of cancer, she honors her promise to him and does exactly what he urged her to do. She sells their big Boston home, drives to the middle of the country and finds a small town in Illinois to restart her life. There she buys an old Victorian home, connects with a few people in town and tracks down her old college girlfriends that she never stayed in touch with after marriage. It’s her story of grief and trying to find pleasure and joy in simple everyday things.
There were sentences I wrote down that I wanted to think about for a while afterward……”don’t let your habits become handcuffs“. Something I need to remember; we don’t always have to do something just because that’s the way it was done before, we can try new things or have new adventures!
You think you get used to the death in the dying. But after the dying is done, you see how the end is the beginning“. I had to think about that line for a bit but it reminded me of something my MIL told Don after we lost his dad at a relatively young age…..she said, “now I have to learn to live by myself”. When one stage of life is over, whether it’s graduation, marriage, children, or death etc. and it seems to be the end of something but it can really be a beginning to something new. Sometimes I think each day is like this, we have a chance to start over again every morning.
Something else I thought the character found was that friends are important to us, necessary in our lives. She had not maintained friendships with anyone for all the time she was married but tried to rectify that when she moved. I think it’s good that we have friends that are like minded and that we cultivate those relationships. Not only do friends bring pleasure to our lives, we can learn from each other and be of help in times of need.
There were just a few things that I thought were never fully explained in the end or maybe it was to be left up to your imagination on how they worked out. The ending seemed to be just a bit rushed , maybe I wasn’t quite ready for it. But all in all it was a book I really enjoyed reading!

(note: I don’t think I was clear in the post about the book, but the book isn’t a christian fiction book….just a regular ‘ole book! I didn’t word something quite right I think and I’m sorry about that. I’m emailing a few in case they don’t see this.)

9 Responses to ““The Year of Pleasures””

  1. Tammy Says:

    Great review, Gail! This story does sound like it was sad in places, but so interesting and containing so many nuggets of truth! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Stacy Says:

    Glad you liked it 🙂 I love that book, and I really love Berg’s writing style. Something very cozy and yet very poignant at the same time.

    Great review 🙂

  3. Coach J Says:

    Well, you piqued my curiousity. Maybe I’ll pick that book up to read….

  4. Dianne Says:

    I enjoyed that book too. Berg has a unique writing style and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books soon. You’re right – I think it emphasizes the importance of maintaining female friendships throughout our life, not just for or in case we find ourselves alone some day but because they also enhance our lives right now.

  5. military mommy Says:

    Gail, thanks for your comment on my blog today. 🙂 It truly is a great video.

    Also wanted to let you know that your email isn’t shared on blogger. You may already know, so if you do sorry. 😉

    Love, Michelle

  6. amy Says:

    I love Christian Fiction and I love recommendations.Great post

  7. Debi Says:

    What a beautiful post, Gail! Geez…I got teary-eyed just reading your review. Sounds like a wonderful book to add to my “someday” list. (Now if I can just live to be 746!)

  8. Susanne Says:

    You gave me a chuckle with your “regular ‘ole book” comment. This sounds like a wonderful book maybe to add to another fall reading list for me. Great review!

  9. Emily Says:

    Thank you for your review – it makes me want to read the book! I’m so glad so many people participated in the Spring Reading Thing – I am finding SO many good books (and neat blogs, too!) through it. 🙂

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