Once Upon a Time, There Was You [With Earbuds]

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Once Upon a Time, There Was You

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781617073106
  • Publisher: Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011
  • Series: Playaway Adult Fiction Series
  • Format: Other
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Berg
Elizabeth Berg
A former nurse with a caretaker's eye for the details of needing and being needed, Elizabeth Berg doesn't shy from the "women's writer" association. She writes with humor and sympathy about the small earthquakes upending women's lives and their extraordinary, human ways of setting things right again.

Biography

Elizabeth Berg made her mark as a promising writer with the publication of her first novel, Durable Goods (1993), the story of Katie, a 12-year-old girl reeling from her mother's death while her abusive father drags her from town to town. The book, like Katie, was tough but tender, and the American Library Association named it a Best Book of the Year.

Since then, Berg has written subsequent novels, most of them, like Durable Goods, sincere, unpretentious, somewhat sentimental, and focused on an event that changes a woman's life. In Joy School (1997), a continuation of Katie's story, the crucible is her first taste of romance; in What We Keep (1998), it's a girl's abandonment by her mother; in Until the Real Thing Comes Along (1999), it's a woman's love for a gay man. All are grounded in the realistic minutiae of family life: irksome marriages, tempestuous parent-child relationships, love, betrayal, and resolution.

Although her books have received mixed reviews from critics, Berg remains immensely popular with readers who appreciate her fine powers of observation and honest descriptions. Her command of authentic details is on best display in her medically-themed titles. Before she became a full-time writer, Berg was a registered nurse, where she accumulated an endless store of observations related to sickness, healing, and the emotional toll that health crises take on people. In Range of Motion, Berg wrote about the experience of a comatose man; in Talk Before Sleep, about a nurse caring for a good friend who is succumbing to cancer; in Never Change, about a nurse treating an incurably ill man who also happens to have been a childhood acquaintance.

Although Berg's plots can occasionally be predictable, equally predictable is her taut, intelligent foray into the forces that shape ordinary people's lives -- especially women's lives -- and her exploration of the infinite resilience of the human spirit.

Good To Know

Berg had an experience she used for the straight-gay relationship in Until the Real Thing Comes Along: Her college love later came out to her after the two had broken up. The character of Ethan is modeled on that college boyfriend.

Berg hasn't managed to get her way when it comes to titling her books, usually getting overruled by her agent and editor. She wanted to call Durable Goods The King of Wands, after a tarot card; Range of Motion would have been Telling Songs; and Open House would have been The Hotel Meatloaf. Perhaps Berg should be thankful for her handlers?

Durable Goods was never meant to have a sequel, Berg says in a publisher's interview, but she ended up writing Joy School (and later True to Form) because she missed the original characters. Berg explains: "There was just a time when I was lying in the bathtub, and I thought about Katie, and I got out of the bathtub and started writing about her to see what she was up to."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 2, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Education:
      Attended the University of Minnesota; St. Mary’s College, A.A.S.

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    No longer an Elizabeth Berg fan!

    The quality of writing in this novel suffers in comparison to Ms. Berg's earlier work. It almost seems like the book was written by several different people and then poorly stitched together by an impatient editor. There are verb tense inconsistencies, poor pronoun identification, and a failure of plot consistency. Transitions are poor and clumsy and sometimes confusing. Reminiscences are poorly integrated into present situations, leaving the reader puzzled about time and setting. A traumatic event occurs to one of the characters, but is left largely unresolved and treated unrealistically and only partially explained.....and barely referenced afterward. The characters are poorly defined and their voices are indistinct from each other. I could not form a connection or bond with any of them. Odd wording ( ex: the cat's death was "nigh"; he "made love quite adroitly") and even odder inconsistencies (ex: it is August, yet a character is shivering and wishing for hot chocolate; the mother is somehow able to support herself and her daughter with a part time catering job in San Fransisco; someone eats a BLT with a fork) made this book very frustrating. I understand the concept of literary license, but Berg pushes the premise past credulity. Ms. Berg is a better writer than this. Talk Before Sleep, Joy School, and Durable Goods are written with clarity and compassion and should not be missed.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2011

    Don't waste your time or money

    This book is not ready for publication. I wonder if there are chapters missing, because the transitions are disjointed, the character development is shallow, and the ending feels like the middle. I have always liked Berg's books, so this one really frustrated and disappointed!
    Is it possible that the ebook version is abridged?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    highly recommend

    i really enjoyed this book. I have read all of her books and this one does not disappoint!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    what a disappointment!

    I agree with the other reviewers on line. This was so disjointed, confusing and poorly written. I couldn't believe it was Elizabeth Berg writing it.. The Daughter who is allowed to go on a phony rock-climbing trip doesn't give her mother any details or any names of friends going. She is gone for three days before the mother is concerned. She is kidnapped and they just let it go with no consequences. Everything in the plot happens too fast and none of the characters behave normally.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    This is a quick read, not too cerebral, but a page turner.

    This is not the usual type of book I read. It is more of a fast page turning novel for a plane flight, a beach day, a vacation, but it is a poignant, even tender tale that covers many of life's ups and downs, pitfalls and horizons. It is almost a fairy tale, and it is a love story, among other things. To my surprise, it was very well written and much better than I thought it would be, since it is not the type of book I would have picked up to read if I had not won it.
    When you get about 80 pages into the paperback, the book begins to tackle some very serious life issues, and it meets the challenge of presenting a very traumatic event which almost made me close the book and put it on a shelf, by dealing expertly with it, implying what had to be implied but not overdoing the ordeal that followed or overloading the story with gory details. The suggestion of what was possibly going to happen was enough to entice the reader to read further without being scared off. It is a very good book for anyone liking the romance genre, and it contains no gratuitous sex.
    So many everyday issues that we all could face in marriage, parenting and our day to day life, are discussed in a comfortable, conversational style. I feel certain that anyone reading the book will know someone who can probably identify with some issue these families are dealing with; someone who could be having the same types of conversations with their child or spouse, but hopefully, not someone who will identify with the near tragedy that almost occurred.
    The characters are very well developed, even the minor ones, and although sometimes the dialogue seemed a little unnecessary and trite, the reader can easily imagine a situation where it might actually take place. Each particular issue seems to fit in with the telling of the tale at the time it was brought up. At times, though, it felt as if almost too many issues were covered: extramarital sex, unrequited love, homosexuality, divorce, suicide, parenting, rebellion, deception, illness in young and old, lying, and widowhood. Even though she does it well, it was overwhelming, at times.
    This book is a love story for the old and young. It is a story about the damage secrets can do and how in some instances they can protect. It is a story about the things that can happen to anyone when they least expect it. It is a story about love gone bad, teenage mistakes and parental "helicoptering".
    One day all is right with the world and the next, there is a life-changing event from out of nowhere. We all develop different coping skills and how we face and handle our problems is a huge message of the book as well as the need to learn to love, to give it and receive it. It is a story that could be dissected and because of all the themes, it would be great for a book club.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2011

    waste of valuable reading time

    This book made no logical sense. A terrible tragedy occurs to one of the characters, but it seems to have no effect on her or the other characters. I didn't like anyone in this book. This is not what I expected from a book written by E. Berg. It seemed like very effort was put into it. Very sad.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    Where is the Elizabeth Berg I Loved?

    This book is such a disappointment. For the most part, the plot and story make no logical sense. A terrible event occurs and then is ignored. The characters are unlikable and cold. Also, there is no rhythm or balance to the the sentences. They are choppy and sometimes hard to figure out. I have the hard back version of this book, but it too seems like chapters are missing. I think this book was written too quickly, maybe so that it could be on the store shelves for Mother's Day.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    Lacking something

    I had trouble getting in to the story and the times that I did become engrossed didn't last long.

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  • Posted August 31, 2012

    This book was very disappointing. I kept waiting for it to impr

    This book was very disappointing. I kept waiting for it to improve but it didn't. I've read Elizabeth Berg before and this book does not come close to the quality of writing she has done in the past.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Sunclan: chapter one book one

    Neverming. I am quiting it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    Not a good elizabeth berg

    I have read most of her books and this one is a big dissapointment-her summary at the end was true to her but not true of the story- i doubt i will buy her again

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    SLOW STARTER, BUILT, AND FINISHED STRONG!

    I was not so sure about this book when I started reading it.....but I always keep thinking a book will get better and this one did. Very seldom am I disappointed in a book. The pieces of the story finally started fitting together and it turned out to be a pretty decent read. Nothing fantastic but good idea for a story never the less. If you have every read a book about a woman discovering her real feelings and how those feelings came to be, then this will bring back memories!

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    Elizabeth Berg is back.

    I have loved this author since I found her years ago. She makes you feel as though you know these people, that they are friends of yours. The last few books she wrote were not quite as good as the earlier ones. This one is back to her best writing. Loved it. The family issues are ones we all deal with. Happy I kept trying with her.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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