Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Borrower Of Books- The Year Of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg

The Year Of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg is about a recently widowed woman (Betta) trying to cope with life when her husband (John) dies of cancer.

Betta and John are one of those couples that complete each other so perfectly that they don't need anybody else.  So when John passes away and she has no ties to the community, Betta decides to follow their dream of selling the house and moving somewhere in the mid-west without any specific plans in mind.

This book deals with the "recovery" time when your spouse dies and how a widow is "supposed" to act.  Though I've been very fortunate in not having this happen to me, the author writes with such great description that I can totally understand how Betta feels and how devastating it would be to lose my husband.  Simple things like who will tell you that you have something in your teeth or somebody that already knows your life history seems so silly but the little things are part of what make you a couple.

Left with scraps of worded phrases from her late husband and a roll of undeveloped firm, Betta makes the effort to reach out to others by reconnecting with her old college roommates, meeting new people, and ultimately making plans for the future.  

In the book, she makes a conscious decision to take the time to appreciate the small pleasures in life (hence the title).  The book is filled with so many wonderful turn of phrases that makes you want to just sit still for a moment and actually look, listen, and feel the world around you to enjoy the small things in life.

I think this is a wonderful book for anybody to read.  For book clubs, there are so many things to discuss (plus it's short!), and with so many people being touched by cancer, I think that a lot of people will relate.  

Some parts of the book that stuck with me:

  • Having the slightly guilty feeling of the freedom to blare music that normally her husband couldn't stand but that she loved.
  • When she has to shovel the snow on her own and it takes her so long, that she has to do it twice because the snow falls faster than she can shovel.
  • Her quotes on falling snow (the author wrote one too many but they are still visually pretty!).
  • The story she tells about the gal that does her nails.
  • When she remembers a conversation she and a girlfriend had years ago about a woman that lost her husband.
  • What she decides to do with her future...OH, I sooo would want to do that!

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