Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Until The Real Thing Comes Along” as Want to Read:
Until The Real Thing Comes Along
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Until The Real Thing Comes Along

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  3,345 ratings  ·  224 reviews
Patty Murphy is facing that pivotal point in a woman's life when her biological clock ticks as insistently as a beating heart. Will she find Mr Right and start a family? But Patty is in love - with a man who is not only attractive and financially sound, but sensitive and warmhearted. There's just one small problem: He is also gay. Against her better judgment, and pleas fro ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published August 28th 2003 by Arrow (first published April 7th 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Until The Real Thing Comes Along, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Until The Real Thing Comes Along

The Help by Kathryn StockettThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggThe Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Best Women's Fiction Novels
110th out of 911 books — 934 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Notebook by Nicholas SparksRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Best Love Stories
495th out of 2,815 books — 6,216 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I was disappointed in this book. This is not one of Berg's best, yet it is still a pretty good read. Patty (the title character) is the least likable main character that Berg has done. If she were a friend of mine I would want to shake her and tell her to grow up and watch the movie "He's Just Not That Into You".
Joan Colby
Berg's books are extremely readable and her ear for dialogue is remarkable. This particular novel is about a 36 year old woman in love with a gay man. They had been connected since childhood, had an affair before he "came out" and are best friends. The woman, Patty, desperately desires a baby,but isn't willing to settle for a man she doesn't love. She can't help loving Ethan and he loves her too, just not sexually or romantically. They finally decide to have a child together and they attempt to ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have read many of Elizabeth Berg's books and have thoroughly enjoyed them. This one was an exception. The premise of the book is a mid-thirty year old who is feeling her biological clock ticking. Although she dates men, no one ever lives up to her high school sweetheart who is gay and unavailable to her as a mate. Patty is also a real estate agent who has only sold one house and in the book doesn't seem to do much working except to take one couple from house to house knowing that they are neve ...more
I normally LOVE Elizabeth Berg's books, but I did not like this one at all. The main character was annoying and selfish and really didn't change through the telling of the book. She threw a fit and got what she wanted and hurt people in the process. The author called it growth. I called it continued selfishness.

Finally, I am all about the happy ending, but this tied up ends in a whirlwind and without any realism AT ALL!

Overall this book annoyed me and I kept wanting to throw it across the room.
I loved reading this book. I (as slow of a reader as I am) finished in about three nights of reading. It's a fun, easy book to read that doesn't drain you some of the recent books I have read.
Books Ring Mah Bell
This book smelled my pants....

and I just farted.
This was listed under the 'romance' section for ebooks at the library, so I thought I would give it a shot. Uh...not your typical romance, there isn't the boy meets girl/fall in love/marry/live happily ever after storyline. Instead, you have a 36 year old woman whose biological clock is ticking like a time bomb and rather than find a husband, she is still hung up on her best friend who happens to be very much not interested in women, in that way. On the plus side - the author writes in such a wa ...more
One of my favourite authors!!

"At the end of each undemanding day, Patty goes home to an empty apartment and listens to her biological clock ticking as ominously as Captain Hook's crocodile...Patty wants a husband and a baby, and not necessarily in that order...But Patty has a problem. Try as she might, there is only one man she can love, her best friend, Ethan, and try as Ethan might, he is quite firmly and intractably gay. With rueful good humour, Until the Real Thing Comes Along shows how Patt
Diane  Holcomb
Elizabeth Berg is one of my favorite authors. There, I've said it. Now, this book...I read it long ago, and recently reread it, as a writer homing in on craft. The protagonist, Patty, is a woman obsessed with having a baby. Obsessed with wanting the man she loves, Ethan, to be the baby's father. The problem? He's gay. So we have a strong desire, a possibly insurmountable obstacle, and the first doorway of no return: she practically begs Ethan to kiss her, to see if his feelings might have shifte ...more
Just a quick note. Here it is, probably about 5 years later, and I read the description of this and cannot remember it *at all*. I know I've read a Berg or two, and I know I've read some 5K books since I (guess, as it's pre-GR, so pre-cataloging) read this, but still. Nothing. So, I'm betting that's not a real high recommendation of the value of the time spent reading the darn thing.
Jul 22, 2014 Becca rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Girl fears spinsterhood, falls in love with gay friend, has baby with gay friend, he stays gay.

Blah blah, blah blah blah.

Just enough "vulnerable, hopeless, funny" in the main character to save it from a 1 star rating.

Berg does female characters well with a ...we know this girl - not sure how, but we've been friends with her...kind of deal.

But the plot was formulaic.
Linda Bouley
I thought this book was boring and the main characters rather simple. Patty is in love with Ethan, always has been. Patty and Ethan get engaged. At some point Ethan tells her he's gay and they tranform their relationship into friendship, but Patty still has hopes. Ethan is clear that he's not going to change. Patty desperately wants a baby, her clock is ticking and no guy seems to measure up to him in her eyes. She convinces Ethan to father a child with her because he wants a child too and being ...more
I loved this, another great story from this wonderful writer.
Feb 14, 2012 Bev rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel, logos
What if you got everything you thought you wanted? Real estate agent Patty Murphy's biological clock is ticking loudly. She's in her mid-30s, unmarried, desperately wants a baby and can't find "Mr. Right" because she's still in love with her lifelong friend, Ethan, who just happens to be gay. After some disastrous blind dates, leaving her depressed and frustrated, she finally convinces Ethan to impregnate her and they are off on her dreamed-of scenario. Ethan becomes so involved with the pregnan ...more
Sometimes, life doesn't happen the way you plan it. Despite all of your family and friends assurances, the "life events" you always knew were coming your way sometimes don't. And that's what Patty is experiencing at 36 years old, single and childless.

I really identified with Patty, not regarding having kids but just about everything else. She dates some guys, and they are great, but there just isn't that spark, and not only does she not want to force it, she CAN'T. She was the girl everyone sai
This is a strange story... about a woman hopelessly in love with a gay man who only loves her as a friend... and her desperate desire to have a baby. Patty is a thirty-six year old single woman who has been in love with her best friend Ethan since the 6th grade. Patty and Ethan even date for a while... until he tells her that he is gay... and breaks her heart. Patty decides she wants a baby with Ethan... regardless of the strange relationship they share since she cannot fall in love with any oth ...more
I really enjoyed reading this book! It was a relatively quick read (only 241 pages), so I was able to read it in one day. This book reminded me why I am so fond of Elizabeth Berg's writing. Her stories are so appealing--this story was no exception. Who out there hasn't loved another more than they are loved in return? I'm sure there isn't anyone out there that hasn't wanted the very thing they can't have.

Elizabeth Berg's ability to write characters that her readers are able to personally identi
This book fits into the "too close for comfort" shelf so well I had to create one just for it. Now, I may not have a gay best friend that I'm in love with, or do a ridiculously poor job of selling houses, but the baby-craving to absurd levels (as in "maybe you should stop staring at other people's children before someone calls the cops on you" levels)? Hell yeah: I'm right there.

And Berg is one of my favorite authors, and she tackles the subject maybe a little bit too well, because the book mad
I love this book! I picked it up because I really liked the cover art. I'm very glad I did. The main character, Patty, is simply hilarious. I laughed out loud quite a few times. Patty is a struggling real estate agent who longs to have children and a husband. Domesticity is her dream. But unfortunately a dream that isn't translating into reality. She has found a man, a potiental husband and he is her best friend. There is only one problem...he is gay. The book follows her through blind dates, sh ...more
Ginger Hallett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristel Villar
I knew right away that I want to read this the moment I read the book blurb (Thank you, Booksale! I got it for only Php 115). It tells the story of Patty, who wants nothing in her life but to have a family and a baby (not necessarily in that order). But she is madly in love with her best friend, Ethan, who is, unfortunately, gay. I think what makes the story work is that the author didn't force too much on the romantic side of love, but rather, on the other deep side of it: the love of a friend, ...more
Well, I am going to set this one aside. I can't continue reading. Patty is hopelessly in love with her high school sweet heart, who now claims to be attracted to men. Nonetheless she continues to pursue him. Feeling the tick of he biological clock, she easily convinces him to bed her in order to create a baby she wants. I just can't keep reading it. This woman is supposedly catholic, but she is apparently not a practicing one....I quit halfway through....
Jun 17, 2011 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: chick-lit fans, single women in their 30s
Shelves: 2011
I really liked this book!! Very good chick-lit -- both funny and heartfelt. The story is told from the perspective of Patty, 36, who is single and in love with her best friend Ethan. Unfortunately enough, Ethan happens to be gay. Patty dreams of having a family - a husband and kids - but because she has her heart set on Ethan, she is unable to give herself over to anyone who might actually reciprocate her feelings.

Having only read two other books by Berg (Open House, which I liked okay, and Dur
I got this book at a rummage sale, and figured it would be a nice break from the usual stuff I read. It actually turned out to be very sweet and heartfelt. As a mommy-to-be myself, I was able to relate to some of the situations that Patty was in, but also able to see things from a different point of view, which helped me to appreciate even more what I have. Definitely an easy read, but I enjoyed it completely.
Patty Murphy is a vulnerable character. At the end of each day, she goes home from her undemanding job to an empty apartment and knows that her biological clock is ticking. Patty wants a husband and a baby. In fact, she has "always wanted a husband and a baby and a decent oven." Only one problem, Patty is in love with her best friend, Ethan, who has told her recently that he is firmly and intractably gay. Patty can't get past her love for Ethan and presents him with a proposition "to make a baby ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A gloomy book about a woman who doesn't ever think she will have a husband and family, and her journey to have a piece of that. She struggles to find the perfect man, whom she thinks is her gay ex fiancé. I found the characters consistent throughout the book, which was frustrating at times, but a good book overall.
Debra Komar
A tepid version of "The Object of My Affection," in which a straight woman loves a gay man and has a baby sort of with him but not really. Unlikable characters, little plot development and a ridiculous ending. I know this is an earlier work by this author (and she does get better). Little to recommend it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again
  • For Love
  • On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon
  • Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops, and Hermaphrodites with Attitude
  • Best Staged Plans
  • Three
  • Celestial Navigation
  • The New Girls
  • Dolly
  • If I Had My Life to Live Over
  • A Woman Like That: Lesbian And Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories
  • Round Rock
  • Circle of Three
  • The Atlas of Love
  • But Inside I'm Screaming
Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY Award in 1996. The w ...more
More about Elizabeth Berg...
Open House What We Keep The Year of Pleasures Talk Before Sleep Home Safe

Share This Book

“You don't get everything all at once. You wait.” 17 likes
“It will happen when you're not looking for it. Love likes to take you by surprise.” 8 likes
More quotes…