Range of Motion: A Novel

( 16 )

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of Talk Before Sleep and What We Keep comes "the love story of the year" (Detroit Free Press). A woman waiting for her husband to awake from a coma discovers the meaning of love, friendship, and faith.

The New York Times bestselling author of Talk Before Sleep presents a remarkable novel about the power of love and friendship. As Jay Berman lies for weeks in a coma, his young wife Lainey holds vigil. She is sustained by two...

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Range of Motion: A Novel

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Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of Talk Before Sleep and What We Keep comes "the love story of the year" (Detroit Free Press). A woman waiting for her husband to awake from a coma discovers the meaning of love, friendship, and faith.

The New York Times bestselling author of Talk Before Sleep presents a remarkable novel about the power of love and friendship. As Jay Berman lies for weeks in a coma, his young wife Lainey holds vigil. She is sustained by two very special women, each of whom teaches her about the enduring bond of friendship and the genuine power of love.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Readers who thought The Bridges of Madison County was a romantic book should try this story of honest and enduring love from the author of Talk Before Sleep (LJ 3/15/94). The first-person narrative describes an ordinary woman caught up in unusual circumstances. Lainey is a wife/mother/office worker whose life is suddenly changed when her husband is sent into a coma by a freak accident. The only one who believes that he will one day wake up, she visits him daily, bringing him stimulus from everyday life in an attempt to reach him. "I line up the little spice bags all across his chest. All across his University of California T-shirt are requests from the kitchen. Come back, says the curry, the oregano. And me." Lainey is sustained through her ordeal by the support of two special women: Alice, who lives next door, and Evie, the ghost of the woman who lived in Lainey's house in the Forties. A touching and enjoyable read, this novel is romantic without being a romance. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections.-Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425168769
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,393,425
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg first attempted to be published at age nine, when she submitted a poem called 'Dawn' to American Girl magazine. As she was rejected, she got into a snit and abandoned submitting (though not writing) for 25 years.

She was a registered nurse, a lead singer in a rock band, a waitress, an information clerk at a hotel, an actress in an improvisational theater group, and a secretary. Not all at once, of course. In 1985, she entered an essay contest at Parents Magazine and won. For seven years thereafter, she wrote personal essays and short stories for many magazines, including Redbook, The New York Times Magazine and New Woman. During that time, she was nominated for a National Magazine Award. She also wrote and delivered essays on Special Reports Television, and on 'Chronicle', a television news magazine in Boston.

In 1992, she published her first book, Family Traditions. Since then, she has written five novels: Durable Goods, Talk Before Sleep, (a finalist for the 1996 ABBY Award), Range of Motion, The Pull of the Moon (to be published in paperback next fall by Jove), and Joy School. She is at work on another novel, still writes an occasional essay, and still thinks fondly of all the jobs she had except for the time she had to wash chickens in a hospital cafeteria. She has two daughters who write at least as well as she does. Berg lives in Massachusetts, and would never want to live anywhere else, not even in California.

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."

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    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 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2003

    Couldn't put it down....

    Once I began to read this novel by Elizabeth Berg, I absolutely couldn't put it down. I finished it in one evening. Elizabeth Berg makes her characters as true to life as your nextdoor neighbor. Elizabeth Berg is a woman who knows the trials and heartache that women can suffer from and learn from and then puts it in writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    Life Affirming

    As I told my friend last night when I recommended this book to her...this is not a life changing book, it is a life affirming book. And it is a beautiful read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2002

    One of Berg's best novels!

    This is one of those books that you can't put down! A definite page-turner from the very first chapter. I found myself pulling for Jay, right along with Lainey, her two daughters, and the nurses. The character development throughout the book is wonderful. I really felt like I wanted to meet some of the people in this book! It is truly one of Berg's best!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2001

    What a great read!

    Wow! What a great book. Less than 50pgs in I was mourning Lainey's loss of everyday life right along with her. She says something at one point about the terrible stories covered in newspaper articles and how they slipped off the page and right into her kitchen. How poingnet. This touching novel by Berg teaches the lesson to never take for granted the normalcy in life. It also portrays the crucial importance of having good friends. Berg captured the simplicity of children, how they were acting out what she couldn't even begin to face. Experiencing this book gave me the urge to hold my husband tight, admire his vitality, 'the arm's I've memorized', and make a cup of coffee for my neighbor who I also have learned not to take for granted. This is a must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    This book is about a young husband/father in a coma. It is an emotionally heartfelt book.

    This story is well written, highly believable, and easy for many people to relate to. The depth of feelings experienced by the coma victim's wife are so intense and so vividly described. The way she deals with her friend and her children while dealing with her husband's situation that has no guaranteed recovery outcome is amazing.

    Again, Elizabeth Berg has climbed into the soul of her characters and has successfully revealed their innermost feelings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2001

    ending reminds me of a movie

    I loved this book,I like all her writing, but the end of this book reminded me of a movie with Helen Hunt(i think)when she goes into the room with him and closes the door and lies by him, i know I saw this recently,in a movie, it is driving me up a wall trying to figure this out, anyone HELP!!!! thanks dabeja@aol.com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2000

    Tugs at your heart.

    Like Berg's other books, this one has an uncanny way of pulling you into the character's inner dialogues. This, however, is my favorite of her books so far for its unique portrayals. Everything Berg writes is life-affirming, which pulls me in over and over again. This one made me hug my husband a little tighter before he left for work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2000

    A love story that celebrates life.

    This book is wonderful. It not only represents a wife's love for her husband, but also her love for her friends, family and the fond memories of the past. It celebrates the kindness that can be found in people we don't know who are in the same circumstances as we are. It also shows how emotional support can come from the most unlikely of people or situations. I read this book in one sitting. It is a feel good book and the author takes great detail to make you feel as if you are right there. I felt like I was there with Lainey experiencing everything with her. This is a great book to read when you need your spirits lifted or are just in the mood to curl up with a good book.

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