Home Repair

Home Repair

3.8 47
by Liz Rosenberg
     
 

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Can lighting really strike twice? Just ask Eve, whose husband walks out on her in the middle of a garage sale.

Eve's beloved Ivan died thirteen years ago in an automobile accident. Her charming, boyish Chuck has taken a different exit out of her life: hopping into his car in the middle of a garage sale with no forewarning and

Overview

Can lighting really strike twice? Just ask Eve, whose husband walks out on her in the middle of a garage sale.

Eve's beloved Ivan died thirteen years ago in an automobile accident. Her charming, boyish Chuck has taken a different exit out of her life: hopping into his car in the middle of a garage sale with no forewarning and departing their formerly happy upstate New York home for points unknown. Now Eve's a boat adrift, subsisting on a heartbreak diet of rue, disappointment, and woe-left alone to care for Ivan's brilliant teenaged son, Marcus, and Chuck's precocious, pragmatic nine-year-old daughter, Noni, while contending with Charlotte, Eve's acerbic mother, who's come north to "help" but hinders instead.

But life ultimately must go on, with its highs and lows, its traumas and holidays, and well-meaning, if eccentric, friends. A house and a heart in disrepair are painful burdens for a passionate woman who's still in her prime. And while learning to cope with the large and small tragedies that each passing day brings, Eve might end up discovering that she's gained much more than she's lost.

A poignant, lovely, funny, and ultimately uplifting story of love, family, and survival, Liz Rosenberg's Home Repair is an unforgettable introduction to a lyrical, wise, and wonderfully vibrant new literary voice.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Rosenberg, a poet and children's book author, makes a clean break into adult fiction with the story of a middle-aged woman whose journey to independence begins at a garage sale. Forty-six-year-old Eve's garage sale takes an unexpected turn when her husband, Chuck, goes on an errand and never comes back, leaving Eve to raise teenage son Marcus and nine-year-old daughter Noni. Drawing support from her sometimes helpful mother, old friends at the university where she works and new friends-such as the man she meets in the park and a Korean graduate student and his non-English-speaking wife-Eve discovers the locals offer all she needs in her life. Rosenberg achieves remarkable emotional range-comic to tragic, dysfunction to triumph, irony to wisdom-for an engaging, often touching story of survival on a heartbreak diet. (May)

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Library Journal

Eve thought being a young widow was pain enough for one life. Now, second husband Chuck takes off during the family garage sale. Poet and children's author Rosenberg's adult debut is a tale of family and community that brilliantly illuminates its title as Eve's whole world, including her Binghamton, NY, home and university job, is in serious need of an overhaul. She tries to maintain her balance for the sake of her nearly 18-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, as well as her mother, Mrs. Dunrea, who moves from her retirement home in Tennessee to help out. Eve's mother has never been the comforting type, and her brutal commentary doesn't ameliorate Chuck's departure or Eve's "heartbreak diet." But Korean student Mia, park worker Jonah, and colleague Lev work their way under Eve's brittle veneer. Will it be in time before the roof caves in? Rosenberg's prose sings in this winning novel with a fragile heroine capable of change and a cast of unique characters, none more so than the upstate environs both Eve and the author call home. Highly recommended for general readers.
—Bette-Lee Fox

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061734564
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/28/2009
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
981,973
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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Home Repair 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
kjk212 More than 1 year ago
This gorgeous book will touch your soul, deeply. As we all watch our world falling apart, this little book shows us the courage and strength of one woman struggling to hold it all together. An absolute must-read, for all of us, right now.
RhodeIslandRed More than 1 year ago
My Book Club just finished this book and it was our best book club selection so far. Though the 10 of us never agree on anything, we did agree we loved this novel, each for different reason,. Some of us have been through these kinds of life-changing experiences. Three of us were guys, and could relate to being left suddenly in the midst of a relationship. We relished the twists and turns in the plot and the cast of characters was very appealing to all ages. (including one college age woman and one 92 year old retired schoolteacher.) Home Repair made us get to know each other better than we would have dreamed. I am buying one for my daughter, who is single but recently went through a bad break-up. Similar to Diary of Bridget Jones but with more depth and elegance. Agree with previous reader about the movie-- I'd love to see Sandra Bullock play Eve!
MargaretMary More than 1 year ago
Home Repair, Liz Rosenberg's novel, is a book I started midday, thinking I would dip into at a leisurely pace. After a couple of chapters, life beckoned and I had to put it down. That night, at 3:00 A.M., I was wide awake wondering just how all these lovable, wacky, real characters were faring. I couldn't put the book down again until all reports were in. There's such artistry here. The plot zigzags with second act surprises and laugh-out-loud dialogue. No other novel I have read in the last few years translates the absurd chaos of day-to-day living with such lyricism and freshness. Minor characters, well drawn and vivid, pile one upon another, almost like a Chinese fire drill, all good medicine in their own wacky ways. This book explores heartbreak and resilience. After her husband walks out on her at a garage sale, Eve, the main character, is left trying to figure out how to proceed. Her heart's hollowed out - not just by husbands who disappear, but by the fabric of life itself, and all the awful changes that come unbidden - but who has time? There are children to care for, co-workers with unfinished projects, strangers with odd requests ringing doorbells, dogs begging for walks. In this novel things get better, raucous even, in the process of one foot in the front of the other, just hanging in there. Rosenberg gets the push-pull just right of loving teenagers who drive you wild and mothers who forget you've grown up. By the last page, we are virtually convinced that whatever healing we might need from life's tragedies is available to us just around the corner, right where we live, perhaps in a place as unlikely as Rec Park or Emerald Gardens. You will love this book. It's tender, funny and true as the best fiction often is.
TheAlechemist More than 1 year ago
Stuck inside for 2 days and thought I'd hate it-- but I happened to have bought Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg the week before and started reading it. Could not put it down! Rain kept going, couldn't have cared less. In fact the novel takes place in one of the rainiest cities in the United States (and I bet you can't guess what it is--I never had heard of it.) Lovely writing, great cast of characters, just a pleasure from beginning to end. NOW it can stop raining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Am choosing my favorite books for summer, and this is top five. Smart, touching book about love and loss, with a nice zing of humor, and a few plot twists I won't spoil. A thoughtful novel for smart people. Not one of those novels that drags you down or makes you want to remove your own brain, celebrates daily life and how we can survive unexpected events by looking to the simple things. Ok, i am sounding cliche but the novel isn't. For the kind of reader who likes writers such as Anne Tyler, Peter Taylor, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty. There's an almost southern feel to the way Rosenberg focuses on her small upstate NY town.
EllieBanner More than 1 year ago
Read this in two sittings, laughing my head off. Not totally ha ha hee hee because it touches on the theme of heartbreak and how families and communities are the glue that hold us together. Anyone who's ever fallen apart will relate.
Mermaidelaine More than 1 year ago
Some books just are so vivid you immediately start picturing the movie version. That is how I felt about Liz Rosenberg's Home Repair. I could totally picture all of these characters and they were all so believable. I felt like I knew them all and wanted to take them home with me.
IK More than 1 year ago
by Howard Scott Review of Home Repair, by Liz Rosenberg Home Repair is such a funny title for this book. Is it a manual of how to fix pipe leaks? Is it a non-fiction saga of bringing back a collapsed edifice? Is it a novel about marital breakup and regeneration? Perhaps the title demonstrates the quirky offbeat way author Liz Rosenberg gets to her subject, which is how we get through our days and nights. Warily, but assiduously, is her answer. The plot is simply stated. Eve is left for a second time without a husband. She plods ahead, managing her two charming children, Marcus and Noni, meanwhile a world of interesting characters, Jonah, the park maintenance supervisor and landlord, Lev, the professor where she works at SUNY, Binghamton, her prickly mother, Mrs. Dunrea, and even Eve's wandering husband, Chuck, add challenges, bathos and humor to her small-town world. But it's Eve who takes center stage. What is her exact attitude? It is expressed in this maxim: life happens, cope. There is no tumultuous crying jag when her husband disappears during a family yard sale. There is no gnashing of teeth when her university boss, Frederick Cummings, makes unreasonable demands. She is not angry with her mother, who has a bad word for everybody, making life if not impossible.at least difficult. She doesn't vent furiously at fate for taking away her first husband and true love, Ivan, in an auto accident. Rather she blames herself-"if I didn't want ice cream, he would have never have gone out." That attitude informs her behavior. When she decides not to go to bed with her black friend, Jonah, she announces her decision so sensibly. "I'm still married. I have two kids. I'm older than you are. I'm tired---I'm sorry. I really do like you, but I think this would ruin everything." They part shaking hands and calling each other friend. When Eve refused to let Marcus go for a ride in his friend, Devin's new Corvette, Marcus was furious. But when Devin was killed the next day in the car, she didn't fill her son with guilt. When her wandering husband informed her that he was moving back in town with girlfriend Donna, Eve's first thought was how this development would affect their daughter, Noni. In other words, Eve copes bravely and levelly when her world crumples. Some days, she's sad, but the reader knows she will summon the necessary courage, faith, and decency-to fulfill her obligations in the day's encounters. Perhaps Eve Rosenberg understands coping better than most. Her first husband, writer John Gardner, died in a motorcycle accident on the eve of their wedding. So house repair is, at heart, a ballad of sanity in this raging world-that says having a sensible heart-a terminological contradiction if there ever was one-is the best way to navigate the curveballs of life. (END) Howard Scott has published four books, 1,300 magazine articles, and 100 newspaper op-eds.
sevensisterswhorerad More than 1 year ago
Lovely book, enjoyed every page,very sweet. Much funnier as it goes along-- the beginning is heartbreaking!
Sanarohrest More than 1 year ago
I incline toward the classic romantic books such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Jane Austen but I must admit this one tickled my fancy. I can picture it as a movie because the author makes me see everything so vividly inside my head. I read this one within 3 days because I kept finding excuses to curl up in bed with it. Now back to Jane Austen!
secondhandclothes More than 1 year ago
Eve's husband takes off to run an errand during a garage sale-- and keeps on going. Great novel of heartbreak, loss, humor and family. A page turner about realistic characters doing real-life things. The first third of the book is bittersweet, the middle is a mix and the ending is high quality milk chocolate. It's a combination of popular and literary fiction, which satisfied both sides of my schizo reading personality. You can tell Rosenberg is a poet, because some of the sentences just about shine. "The leaves shone a furious read." "The world was beautiful....there was no saying no to it." "I'm not being nice--I'm being your mother."
Mephisto More than 1 year ago
I read Home Repair in two sittings, staying up way late both nights. It's the kind of book that as you near the end, you slow down because you don't want it to be over. The writing is beautiful and the relationship between the mother, grandmother and children rings so true. It's unexpectedly funny at the best moments and it runs together seamlessly. Home Repair avoids all the cliches of contemporary fiction and the sweetness, poignancy and genuine wisdom of this very real family drama breaks and remakes the heart. Gave it to a friend and HE read it and loved it before giving it to his wife. Spectacular Ending!
greybooks More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader, and I devoured this novel. Just came yesterday so I may be the first person to have read it. I loved the main character, and felt great sympathy for her situation, but I think my favorite character was the mother-- as a fellow Jewish grandmother. In fact I loved all the characters. I bet anything this gets made into a movie. Anyway, have found a new favorite author. This is more character-driven than plot driven so if you are looking for high speed car chases this isn't for you (though now that I think of it there IS a high speed car scene-- but not what you expect.) Lovely book.
MrsO More than 1 year ago
I'll never forget the likeable characters. This is one of the best books I've ever read, seriously. You will enjoy it from cover to cover. I can't say enough about it.
Steffie34 More than 1 year ago
This novel begins in summer and since it feels like summer now (what's up with that?) I'd say this is a perfect summer read and I almost wish I'd saved it for summer vacation. Once I got started though I could not stop. This is a novel about a woman whose husband walks out in the middle of a tag sale, leaving her to take care of her family and form a community of her own. I especially like the evocation of upstate NY and the great, eclectic cast of comic characters. This woman can write. I look forward to her next book for adults. Her children's books are a favorite with my kids and I understand she's also a poet...when does she sleep?
Avidreadertourjours More than 1 year ago
It's a wonderful, moving, original tale. I cannot imagine anyone not loving this book! Perfect for yourself or as a gift!
JohnnyCue More than 1 year ago
Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg is a poignant novel about Eve, a youthful mother of two, who has recently been abandoned by her second husband. Rosenberg introduces us to a wide assortment of endearing characters as we watch Eve put her life back together. Having lost her first husband in a car accident, Eve is particularly vulnerable to the shock, grief and despair that inevitably follow such an event. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: "To lose one husband may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two looks like carelessness." Although Chuck, the second husband who deserts her during a yard sale, is largely absent from the story, we gather that his departure catches Eve totally unprepared, leaving her devastated. Initially, she wallows in her despair, barely making it through each hectic, exhausting day. For the sake of her charming and precocious children, Noni and Marcus, she musters her strength and courage, and somehow manages to persevere. Throughout her compelling journey, Rosenberg's heroine is thoroughly likeable and completely believable. Along the way, we meet a few charming and well-developed characters including Jonah, the building superintendent, who has a crush on Eve. Her high maintenance mother, Charlotte, arrives in town to help and soon becomes a burden. Through Eve's clerical position at the university, we are introduced to several dysfunctional co-workers, who add to the pandemonium in Eve's life. At every step in the process, we find ourselves rooting for Eve and laughing at the foibles of her friends and relatives. Although this novel deals with serious subjects, it is great fun and easily readable. It is also very compelling and practically impossible to put down. I would highly recommend it for all readers ages ten to a hundred.
poetpeter More than 1 year ago
The delight of "Home Repair" is how Rosenberg's poetic heritage keeps showing through - tinting Eve's heartbreak with beauty as, "summer stepped out of its pale yellow dress into its brightest attire," despite her lone mid-life, "empty as coat hangers." Children's stories show up in Eve's Marcus and Noni, etched with love and frustration. This is not a memoir yet I wished to make it one, my poetic fantasy. Try as I would to fill the gaps, they just wouldn't fit as a memoir. Yet the fictional characters, even minor ones, are so believably drawn, there's not an obscure actor in the pack.
Wrightguy More than 1 year ago
I agree with the reviewer above-- so far this is my favorite novel of 2009. Lot of charm, touch of sadness, a bit of heartbreak, some deliciously funny recipes. It's a smart book in a year of dumb ones. I got the large print edition. Also recommend Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon. Have enjoyed all his other fiction.
rtDreek More than 1 year ago
I had about given up hope of any new great reading for 2009 when I found this little gem. Highly recommend for literate readers with a darkish sense of humor and a taste for the absurd. Utterly charming.
wrinkledreader More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its cast of eccentric characters. I am aklways drawn to a touch of dsrk humor, for instance Lorie Moore, Amy Hempel and so on. I found this one to be on the sweeter side of bitter sweet, with some lovely descriptions of objects and places. We had a lively discussion about what we would do in the heroine's position-- if someone suddenly walked out on our life. One member revealed this had happened to her 20 years ago--something we never would have known otherwise. Good for provoking dee discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't easily give out five star reviews, but I read this book after reading  Liz Rosenberg's newest novel, THE LAWS OF GRAVITY, and both books knocked me out. HOME REPAIR is much lighter and  I wanna say more domestic than THE LAWS OF GRAVITY, but that's not fair to either book.  THE LAWS OF GRAVITY is a big novel (not all that long tho) about a court case between two cousins. Sometimes funny, it;'s a hearrtbreaking book about the limitations of law, about family, and finally, about the nature of lover itself. HOME REPAIR begins with heartbreak (this is not a spoiler, it happens in the first chapter) when Eve's second husband, the charming ne'er do well Chuck, unexpectedly walks out on her in the midst of a garage sale, leaving her alone with her teenage son, young daughter and her aging, cantankerous mother. (The mom by the way is my favorite character in the book. Rosenberg has a gift for handling old people, children and eccentrics that never feels sentimental or cliche.)  So HOME REPAIR is basically the story of someone pulling her life back together after an unexpected blow. It has some laugh-out-loud scenes, and some scenes that brought me darn close to tears. The relationship between parents and children is something Rosenberg handles deftly. Her descriptions often read like flashes of poetry: "A car slipped by. Then another. It was as if she'd stood frozen by the river of the world and gratefully stepped back into it, resuming her place." The author has a sharp ear for dialogue, like when the aging mother starts looking at assisted living residencies: "'Bingo,' said Mrs. Dunrea. 'Just shoot me in the head.'"  HOME REPAIR is about making your small world grow bigger in order to survive. Its message in that way is similar to the movie "About a Boy," where Hugh Grant widens his circle and learns how to be happy. Eve befriends (and is befriended by) an immigrant Korean family. She has a touching near-romance with an African American park ranger. So many books are all-white or all-something, but this is a mixed world of neighbors, lovers, relatives and co-workers. It feels a lot more like the world I live in than what I usually encounter in books or on tv. HOME REPAIR would make a great movie. It's got romance, comedy, tragedy, and two or three jaw-dropping surprises. I'm not talking blockbuster action movie, but more like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"  meets "Crossing Delancey" . I could picture all the scenes in a fallen-on-hard-times shabby upstate city, and I could hear the people talking in my head long after I read the last pages. For readers who love character-driven fiction, i.e. books by Anne Tyler, Jane Austen, Richard Russo, HOME REPAIR is a great way to ease into the year ahead. Rosenberg is the kind of writer I know I will be re-reading. If you need high speed action and shoot-outs every minute, it's not for you.  Hope this review helps!
bookwonder More than 1 year ago
I liked this book more than I thought I would. It seemed like a chick lit book from the cover, but has more substance and range than that. Plus it was funny enough to make me  laugh out loud several times, and that is a rare quality I for one appreciate. Nicely done! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is funny and sad and heartwarming. I especially appreciated the periodic heartbreak-type diets throughout the book. My husband left me just over 3 years ago, and the author absolutely nailed it in the way she describe how Eve felt when Chuck left and how difficult it was for her to cope at times. I love Eve's son, Marcus,because he has a sardonic sense of humor. I saw my own son in Marcus so often throughout the novel, and I would have to put the book down and just laugh out loud at some of his antics. The one section of a chapter where Marcus is described as laughing maniacally hit me has hysterically funny. Definitely a book to purchase!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't finish the book - I put it down about a third of the way through. It was very slow and boring!