Dear Fellow Reader,
I don’t know if you know this, but I am a fan of Elizabeth Berg. Yes, I like her books. I also enjoy her Facebook posts. If you have not read her Facebook posts, I urge you to follow her.
Her written voice is so friendly and down to earth that I think we could be friends. I know this sounds weird, but I do. No, I do not stalk her. No, she has no idea who I am. (We have met twice at book signing but she meets lots of women that way and I know she has no idea who I am.) At one of the book signings, there was a woman who had been to like 20 of her book signings. She has a big fan base. And for good reason.
She generally writes fiction. Her latest series (the Mason Books) are wonderful. She has 30 books that are published by traditional publishing houses and then three books of her Facebook posts. I am not kidding about her Facebook posts. You need to read them. She writes about just day to day things and sometimes asks for advice.
There was one book of hers that I did not like as much as the others. She wrote a Biographical Fiction book, The Dream Lover. It was the story about George Sand, the author whose real name was Aurore Dudevant. It was fine but it didn’t give me the warm fuzzies that her fiction pieces give me.
So, it was with a little trepidation that I started I’ll Be Seeing You. This is yet another departure for her, this book is a memoir about her parents. I was hoping that I would like it. Guess what? I did. I really liked it.
The book centers on a particular time in her parent’s life. It is her parent’s last years. As the book opens, her father has dementia and the disease is progressing. Her parents need to leave the house they have called home for many years and move to a place where they can have more assistance. This is a terrible time in one’s life both as the parent and the child.
I think part of my trepidation with the book is from my own background. My parents also had to leave the place they had called home for many years and move to a lovely place where they could get more help. They moved to the town where I lived and I had the fortune and mis-fortune to be their primary contact.
One of the things that I really liked was that Elizabeth didn’t gloss over her feeling and reactions. She wasn’t harsh but she expresses the frustration that she was feeling. You can see why she feels that way and how she tries to work with her parents to make things as pleasant as possible. She allows glimpses of her view of the life her parents have led. (And how lovely to have a husband that adores you the way her father adored her mother.) She lets you see that she lost her temper and felt sad and sorry. The reader also learns about the changes in her relationship with her father. While the book is specifically about the last years with her parents, it covers a lifetime of their relationships.
If you have not experienced supporting an elderly parent, then the book might not touch all the feelings that it would if you have had the experience. But it is a lovely memoir even if you haven’t had that in your life. Elizabeth Berg writes in such an accessible way that you feel that you are sitting with her as she tells the story.
“I learned that the frustration and anger that come up in these situations goes both ways: you’re frustrated and/or angry with your parents, and they’re frustrated and/or angry with you. I saw how deep the despair can be in understanding that you can no longer properly care for yourself, but I also saw how accepting the love and help that are offered can foster a whole new level of appreciation and understanding between parents and children. I learned that in the middle of what can feel like a gigantic, painful mess, there can suddenly be the saving grace of humor, or the salve of a certain kind of insight.” Elizabeth Berg
In summary, I liked the book. I read the book in one day, which tells you how absorbing it was and that it is a quick read. The book is out today (Happy Publication Day!). I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Thanks for reading!