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From The CriticsIn the tradition of Berg's Open House, her Oprah's Book Club-selected novel, this is a collection of moving stories about women whose lives are governed by domestic chores and good sense. When their daily routines are interrupted by madness, disease or death, they are much too prudent to call attention to themselves. Instead, they collapse inward, causing their husbands and children as little discomfort as possible. In the title story, seventy-nine-year-old Mavis McPhearson decides to "go on retreat" in order to take stock of her life. Too thrifty to spring for a beach vacation, she lives in her bathroom for a week, sustaining herself on women’s magazines and boxes of Wheat Thins. Berg's adult heroines quietly struggle to reconcile their desire for love and family with their need for independence and self-discovery; however, the most lyrical, energetic stories are narrated by girls who haven't been silenced yet by gender expectations. Reading this collection is like being privy to one of these late-night conversations among women. You leave it feeling privileged, included, reassured by stories that are at once familiar and refreshingly different from your own.