Customer Reviews for

The Art of Mending

Average Rating 3.5
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Excellent, as usual

Given the 5-star rating I awarded this book, it's obvious that I liked it, but I am also a fan of Elizabeth Berg. This book really spoke to me in odd ways. I continuously read that other fans were somewhat disappointed (some very) because the characters weren't likeab...
Given the 5-star rating I awarded this book, it's obvious that I liked it, but I am also a fan of Elizabeth Berg. This book really spoke to me in odd ways. I continuously read that other fans were somewhat disappointed (some very) because the characters weren't likeable, that the father dying during a family reunion was implausible, and that the story should have been told through the victim's viewpoint rather than that of her sister's. I disagree on all points except the last and even then, it's a weak agreement. I liked all of the characters except for the brother, as I thought he was a self-absorbed, selfish, and rude large child. My opinion on the father dying during the family reunion is that it's definitely credible even if it did make the abuse allegations a cliche (since the story implied knowledge on his part). I think although it would seem more sensible to have the point of view come directly from the victimized sister, it was probably important to have it come from the older sister. She was a quiltmaker; the theme in her quilt creations are escape. What was she trying to get away from? This book certainly contained a story I identified with; I think other people may as well, whether admittedly or not. I highly recommend this book.

posted by Anonymous on March 12, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A Let Down

I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Berg's writing; however, this book fell slightly short of my expectations. The idea behind the story was good; it just wasn't executed in a fun, page-turning way. It moved along too slow, definitely not a nailbiting, can't-wait-to-see-how-it-...
I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Berg's writing; however, this book fell slightly short of my expectations. The idea behind the story was good; it just wasn't executed in a fun, page-turning way. It moved along too slow, definitely not a nailbiting, can't-wait-to-see-how-it-ends book. I found it rather boring and the only reason I kept reading was because I always finish the book once I start.

posted by Tl44 on November 3, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2005

    Excellent, as usual

    Given the 5-star rating I awarded this book, it's obvious that I liked it, but I am also a fan of Elizabeth Berg. This book really spoke to me in odd ways. I continuously read that other fans were somewhat disappointed (some very) because the characters weren't likeable, that the father dying during a family reunion was implausible, and that the story should have been told through the victim's viewpoint rather than that of her sister's. I disagree on all points except the last and even then, it's a weak agreement. I liked all of the characters except for the brother, as I thought he was a self-absorbed, selfish, and rude large child. My opinion on the father dying during the family reunion is that it's definitely credible even if it did make the abuse allegations a cliche (since the story implied knowledge on his part). I think although it would seem more sensible to have the point of view come directly from the victimized sister, it was probably important to have it come from the older sister. She was a quiltmaker; the theme in her quilt creations are escape. What was she trying to get away from? This book certainly contained a story I identified with; I think other people may as well, whether admittedly or not. I highly recommend this book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2010

    Great read!

    I work in social services and this book gave me the opportunity, again, to think about families and mending relationships. This book would be a "good read" for all ages altho ... might be more appreciated by readers over 40.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2008

    A Let Down

    I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Berg's writing; however, this book fell slightly short of my expectations. The idea behind the story was good; it just wasn't executed in a fun, page-turning way. It moved along too slow, definitely not a nailbiting, can't-wait-to-see-how-it-ends book. I found it rather boring and the only reason I kept reading was because I always finish the book once I start.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2007

    Berg's best.

    I grew up in a family that was so much like this one that this book took my breath away. For someone who grew up as I did, Berg's characters were so accurate that I could give them names. I read one review where the reader thought the brother was shallow. I saw the depth of his pain and what he had to do to protect himself. My mother went to any length to keep her prescription drug addiction fed. Nearly every night, she would take seven to nine Noludars (sleeping pills) and then my brother and I would carry her to bed. She finally succeeded in killing herself after several tries. AND YET, we loved her. When my siblings and I gather together, we speak of her fondly. We might have shared the same experiences but our memories are vastly different. We have finally forgiven her but the trips that each of us took to get to that point differed greatly. Each person has to take these journeys alone and at their own pace. Each person has their own story. I saw hope at the end of Berg's book and I thank her.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2006

    No depth

    The adult characters had no depth, it was impossible to engage with them. The childhood memories of the older sister were a hoot. And as a quilter, I fell in love with the description of the sewing room. These little snippets were enjoyable, too bad the main story and the characters were so flat. I would not have finished it if it had not been chosen by my book club.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2004

    Poorly written

    I had never read this author's work before and after reading this book, I will never read her work again. This book could have been so much better if she had went into the life of the mother and found out why she was the way she was and the abuse should have been touched on more intensely by using flashbacks from the victim's point of view. I really think the story should have been told by the victim (Caroline) and not the sister. The only reason I kept reading this book is because I thought it was going somewhere, but when I found out it wasn't going anywhere I wished I had set it aside and read another one of the books on my list.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    Not the usual Elizabeth Berg kick and humor

    Of most of Elizabeth Berg's work, this was disappointing as it didn't have the usual kick and humor like her other novels. Book is ok, but not great. I started and finished the book in one day; proof of light reading. If you're looking for a true Elizabeth Berg book, this is not of her usual reputation with a surprise/uplifting ending. In all honesty it loses the reader in the last 30 pages.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2004

    Not enough there

    Could have been a short story. Skip the book unless you can't find anything else to read. Not her best book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2004

    An eye opener

    Now in her fifties, quilter Laura Bartone looks forward to the annual extended family gathering in Minnesota. Her husband Pete and their two children will accompany her as she gets together with her parents and her two siblings and their families. However, before they leave, her younger sister Caroline calls Laura to ask for some private time with her and their brother Steve.................................. When the siblings meet, Caroline explains that she is very depressed and considering a divorce. Laura thinks back to how as a child she used to abusively tease her sister, who always tried so hard to gain approval from their aloof mother, but failed. Caroline explains that she is getting professional help, but believes her melancholy stems from childhood abusive events that she buried. She asks her siblings if they can recall any cruelty from their parents, especially their mother towards her. At first in denial, Laura and Steve start recalling frightening horrendous incidents and other revelations surface, but whether that will help the depressed Caroline or make things worse for her and her now stunned siblings, only time will tell.................................. THE ART OF MENDING is an intriguing deep look at how adults cope or fail to muddle through childhood traumas. The story line is clearly a character study that enables the audience to see deep inside the three siblings, but is told from the lens of Caroline. Though the spouses and children seem so perfect (almost Stepford) so that they never negatively ¿impact¿ on the trio especially Caroline, fans of an insightful family drama will welcome Elizabeth berg¿s solid perceptive work...................................... Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2004

    Elizabeth Berg does it again

    Not surprisingly, Elizabeth Berg's latest novel an honest look into a family's struggle to survive. Her characters read so true you might think they live next door. We feel Laura's confusion, frustration and anger when her family's past interupts her current life. A book you hate to put down and don't really want to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    Unrealistic, stilted dialogue, poor transitions, overall a poor

    Unrealistic, stilted dialogue, poor transitions, overall a poor offering from a gifted writer. Very disappointing.

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  • Posted January 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is my first Berg book, and it will not be my last, as I rea

    This is my first Berg book, and it will not be my last, as I really enjoyed it. I will warn other readers that the book will be very upsetting for people that endured physical and/or emotional abuse as children. But then again, this book may help them resolve some of their traumatic childhood issues.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    .

    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Unable to put down

    Wonderful writing. I wish the book was a little longer but maybe a next book will finish the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    Disappointing

    Flat, no depth, no closure at the end of the story, a waste of time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2006

    Good writing

    I enjoyed her writing, but was very disappointed in the ending. It seemed like it was just time to end the book, so she did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2004

    Not her best work

    I am a true fan of Elizabeth Berg's work but have to agree with my fellow readers who thought this was more short story than full novel material. The situation, unlike her other novels, is also quite contrived -- father just happens to die while everyone is home for a family reunion -- possible but not likely. Also contrived, I thought, was the split personality mother who psychologically abused the younger daughter and not the other two siblings -- also possible but not likely. This should have been a short story in her 'Ordinary Life' collection. I hope the next one she writes is back on track with the rest of her exceptional prose. She's a master at writing about everyday people and families in everyday situations but missed the mark on this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2004

    a rewarding tale

    The Art of Mending is a passsionate journey through the land of family, love and forgiveness. Berg weaves these threads into her character's lives creating real and meaningful personal changes you can identify with. This is such a rewarding book to read. As a fan of Talk Before Sleep I was expectant, hopeful and never dissapointed in The Art of Mending. Not wanting to ruin the ending, let me simply mention that it is a beautiful and fullfiling conclusion to a wonderful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2004

    A CLEAR, RESONANT VOICE PERFORMANCE

    Joyce Bean's reading is both empathetic and understanding as she carries the reader to a family reunion, and the eventual disclosure that one of three siblings had been dreadfully abused as a child. Childhood experiences have shaped the lives of all of us, and one would expect that those growing up in the same household would have been affected very much in the same ways. Not so. Laura Bartone, now middle-aged and a mother of two is a quilt designer who is looking forward to her family's annual reunion in Minnesota. She's eager to see her brother, Steve, and her sister, Caroline. When Caroline accuses their mother of abusing her, both physically and verbally, Laura and Steve are shocked and dubious. However, it is revealed that this has, indeed, been the case. Now the question is whether or not past wrongs can be healed. As Laura says, 'There is an art to mending. If you're careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is testimony of its worth.' Once again Elizabeth Berg's writing reflects a profound understanding of the human condition, and our common need for love and forgiveness. Joyce Bean gives this moving story a clear, resonant voice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2004

    Not Her Best Work

    Berg does an amazing job at writing this book, but it does not grasp you as some of the others do. At times you feel as if the characters will never stop complaining. There was not enough of a story to make it a true masterpiece.

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