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The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  4,222 Ratings  ·  821 Reviews
Will be shipped from US. Brand new copy.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 15th 2008 by Random House (first published January 1st 2008)
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Collections of Short Stories
242nd out of 2,225 books — 1,643 voters
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Food Reads
24th out of 272 books — 66 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 21, 2008 E rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Reading ELizabeth Berg is kinda like eating apple pie a la mode: while you enjoy the flavor and guilty pleasure and rationalize that because it has apples it is nutritious, deep down inside you know you should be partaking of something more substantive. Nonetheless, we all need some dessert sometimes. This collection of short stories made me laugh out loud - particularly the title story, which should be read by anyone who ever tried to diet or "cut back" or went to Weight Watchers. (And there is ...more
Jun 07, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Toni
Shelves: general-fiction
I am not a fan of the short story genre. I don't like becoming emotionally invested in characters only to have them leave me a few pages later. (No, I do not have abandonment issues.) But, heck, I'd read the back of a cereal box if it was written by Elizabeth Berg. Fortunately, I was not disappointed and only a bit miffed at the brief time spent with her characters.

This is most definitely a women's book but it is NOT chick lit. The collection of stories are not light, romantic fluff. Rather they
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There are thirteen stories in this collection. I enjoyed reading all of them. My two favorites were:

Rain, about a guy who gives up the rat race to live a simpler life.

The Only One of Millions Just Like Him, about letting go of a beloved elderly dog.

With Elizabeth Berg, I always find something to enjoy, even in the stories I can't relate to. She makes observations about humans and life in general that are amusing or profound or both. You think to yourself, "Oh, it's sappy and sentimental." But th
Jane Stewart
My feelings while reading this: sadness, regret, loneliness, loss of loved ones, bittersweet reminiscing, pleasant comfort.

This book has about thirteen short stories. One has stories within a story. Each story is about different, unrelated people. Almost every story has sadness – in different ways. In most stories someone is dying or will die of cancer, leukemia, brain tumor, or similar. In one story, someone regrets that she was cruel and mean to a date years ago. He now has
I enjoyed listening to the author read these stories. As with most short story collections, some of the stories were better than others. In particular, I enjoyed the story that was a letter reading a recipe for making apple pie and the story about Michael. I think I enjoyed listening to these stories more than I would have liked reading them -- the author reading them aloud made them feel like a conversation with a favorite aunt or an old friend.

I also was glad to hear a shout out to Nora Ephron
Sep 12, 2008 Dotty rated it it was ok
Recommended to Dotty by: Joanna Bell-Schmid
Short stories do not thrill me and this is the first book where I got through all of them.
All in all, a bit depressing. All of the stories are about overweight, aging women that are trying to feel alright about themselves. There were moments of goodness but I do not recommend.
Mar 20, 2012 joanna rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club-books, meh
first impression: i am just annoyed at what seems to be blatant pandering to female readers: the bright pink color scheme, the diet themed title, etc. (i do realize however that neither of those things may have been the choice of the author.) so far, the writing is confessional, sometimes amusing, although i don't find such an obsession with weight watchers that hilarious.

ok, i didn't finish this book in time for the book club meeting (highly unusual. in opposite world.) but my fellow book club
Aug 21, 2009 Jodi rated it liked it
Recommends it for: women
A collection of short stories about women at various stages in their lives. Many of the stories dealt with how we as women, tend to deny ourselves things we would like because we are so busy taking care of others. 3 stories in particular stand out in my memory and I will mention them below.

"The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted" and "The Day I Ate Nothing I Wanted": In a culture so obsessed with appearances women are often so concerned with their weight and are constantly dieting or trying to loose we
Apr 11, 2009 Becky rated it liked it
This book is a series of shorts (both fiction and non) that revolve around women and their small acts of personal liberation. Some stories were okay while others were a real gem.

I especially liked the first short of Berg's day where she ate whatever she wanted. I cheered her the whole way through (even to her next day weigh-in at Weight Watchers.) If you don't really like Berg's writing style, the book is still worth a pick up if ONLY to read this first story. The other story that was wonderful
Evanston Public  Library
Berg’s wonderful short stories—witty and droll yet expressing a knowing sympathy for her characters—are perfectly crafted gems of self discovery, change, and renewal. The stories contain a broad range of personalities and situations: the pre-teen on the edge of puberty whose self image as a cute girl is devastatingly changed when she overhears a cousin call her a fatty; the older couple reduced to ridiculous displays grief and wondering if life’s worth living when their aged dog is dying; a ...more
J. Dru
Jun 13, 2009 J. Dru rated it liked it
These short stories mostly center around characters in their late fifties - sixties who pride themselves on homemade cooking and living the prime of their lives in a much simpler time. Maybe by sheer proxy of my age (late 20's), I found them to be charming and sassy, but also a little sad. They seemed to carry around great sorrow with them that shone through even happy or silly moments. They lived full lives: husband, children, grandchildren and are now at an age where they feel they can finally ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Ariela rated it really liked it
Berg has an uncanny ability to draw you so deeply into her character’s lives that you feel as if you know them. I often found myself smiling as I read about them, loving how Michael (in the story “Rain”) left his high-powered city job for life in the county. Berg describes everything from how he built his home, to the spaghetti sauce his friends made using the riches in his garden, to the minute ways in which Michael changed when the uncertainties of life finally took their toll. Berg’s stories ...more
Genevieve Dazet
Aug 09, 2016 Genevieve Dazet rated it it was ok
Subtitle: And Other Small Acts of Liberation

I listened to this on audio, and it was a pleasant enough collection. I have mixed feelings about the author reading his or her own work. Sometimes it's great, but most of the time I understand why actors are hired for the job. In this case, Berg had a surprisingly annoying voice (I had 'pictured' it as so nice!), but not so irritating that I had to stop listening.

I was hoping this was a series of weight-related fictional anecdotes, but only two focuse
Aug 25, 2013 Kristin rated it liked it
I will with guilt, admit I quickly grabbed this book as my son and I were leaving the library 5 min. before closing and I solely based it on well, the title... The Day I Ate Whatever I wanted. Hello?? And the picture caught my attention.

I've been having a stressful time in my life and struggling to read a couple different books so this book of short stories was perfect timing for me. Some were light, some were sad but most had a steady flow of humor which I really enjoyed and breezed through thi
Feb 08, 2012 Casey rated it it was ok
Couldn't figure how do do a half a star - as in 2 and a half - so I went with 2. That being said, some of the stories in this book were fun, enchanting and/or sad. Others were totally annoying and made me crazy. But now that I've finished I couldn't give you the names of any of the stories, or what the plot of a particular story was. Sad. Easy to see that this book just didn't stay with me, it was something to read (and was for my book discussion group) so I read it. I doubt that I would suggest ...more
Jun 03, 2009 Jkdaun rated it did not like it
While there were a handful of short stories worth reading in this collection, I found most to be sad. To think that these were some of the things women did to "liberate themselves and breakout" (as the author puts it) is heartbreaking. Their actions possessed no joy it for most of them, only regret. At best these women received a small measure of enlighenment. What is the point of "breaking out" and doing something you consider extreme or at least out of the norm in your life if it's not ...more
Dear Elizabeth Berg,
It's not you. It's me.

I love Elizabeth Berg's writing, but, try as I might, it's a rare short story that appeals to me. I guess I want more depth. If I'm going to invest in a character, I want the character there for more than a few pages. That was my problem with this book. The writing was up to Berg standards, but I had my typical short-story-disappointment to contend with. Even though the book came highly recommended, and even though there were phrases an
Mar 19, 2009 Bayneeta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audio
These are, as I recall, short stories, but I can't remember anything about them. Berg read from this at her Big Read appearance in the spring of 2008 for Dream When You're Feeling Blue . I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Berg. Some things I really like (such as Durable Goods ) but many of her others just seem so elitist: women with enough money and financial security to "find themselves." Maybe I'm just jealous.
Annette Ahrens
May 15, 2008 Annette Ahrens rated it it was amazing
I guess I'm learning to love short stories. I reserved this title because I read Berg's "Dream When You're Feeling Blue" and absolutely loved it. This had wonderful stories. Another reviewer wrote that Berg writes about ordinary people doing ordinary things and this hits it right on. She writes with such an easy, flowing manner and it is such a pleasure to read.
Nicole Venere
Jul 27, 2015 Nicole Venere rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
It was a ton of individual stories told from the woman's perspective. Situations we have all (as women) been in. I actually listened to this book. The author is the narrator and the voice of the book. The name of the book is deceiving -- only a few parts were about food but by Gosh were those parts side-splitting funny. Awesome beach read/listen.
May 06, 2008 Jess rated it liked it
i've never read Berg before, so these stories were a pleasant surprise. she has a wonderful simplicity, and creates universal truths out of the most ordinary of situations. plus she's hilarious.
Nov 22, 2008 Bonnie rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Either thought this below her standards or else the topic simply didn't interest me. Did not finish reading.
Holy crud, I'm only five minutes in and I really REALLY want donuts. I don't even LIKE donuts. But I want them. I think I love this woman.

A few days later...
While I don't love every single story, "How to make an apple pie" is so charming, I find I'm sitting at my desk grinning like some ridiculous moron and I'm even a tad bit teary. I absolutely love this story. And I wish I had some apples; I'd make a pie when I got home.

And now I'm done. I have finished this audiobook, read by the author.

As wi
Jan 31, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was ok
To be fair, there are several reasons why this book wouldn't be my cup of tea, the main ones being that I'm not usually fond of short stories, unless they're science fiction or horror, and because I definitely don't feel like the target audience for this collection.

The latter is probably the kicker. While written competently enough, the stories were neither funny enough nor lyrical enough to resonate with me. Most of these stories were about affluent aging white women who feel unfulfilled/lonel
Sep 18, 2008 MaryAnn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Other Berg Fans, maybe some Weight Watchers, leaders & participants
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think that overall I've walked away with a serious feeling of dislike for the characters in these short stories: The woman who put her dog before her husband when they both were presumed to be dying, the one who lamented the waste of throwing out half a dozen licked donuts rather than giving them to a homeless person (yeah, THAT's what made it wasteful, the fact that she couldn't convince someone else to eat the molested pastry), the one who committed mail fraud and snuck into her ex's house ...more
Oct 23, 2008 Candice rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Elizabeth Berg fans
Anyone who has noticed what I've been reading since joining Goodreads knows that I like Elizabeth Berg A LOT! I enjoyed these stories, although I think I liked the title story the least. I thought it was kind of silly. All of the stories have to do with women and the changes and challenges they face in life. What I admired about Elizabeth Berg in these stories is the way she portrayed the male characters. So many times in books about women, the men are real jerks, so it was refreshing to read ...more
Janice Williams
Jul 24, 2012 Janice Williams rated it it was amazing
I love these short stories by Elizabeth Berg. I'd read this book a while ago and decided to re-read it. All of the stories have some relationship to food, some more, some less. I love the story entitled "How to Make an Apple Pie." This collection shows Berg at her writerly best as she explores the personalities of her characters, how they feel and think and how these very individual aspects of a person's life can also be universally shared with others. It is that private/common aspect of human ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Marguerite rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories was sure worth the read! Elizabeth Berg is spot-on about the ways in which women struggle to maintain relationships with others while preserving themselves. In these stories, she dissects areas of life where women strive to give themselves little (or big) victories. Each of these stories resonated with me in different ways.
Suggestion -- Pull Of The Moon by the same author!!
Keep reading good stuff!
Jun 18, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
This is a book of short stories by Elizabeth Berg, my favorite author, as I mentioned before. I usually don't like short stories, so I was putting off reading this. But I really enjoyed it! I got engrossed in each story. They are all stories about women (of all ages), mostly in everyday situations, everyday family relationships, and how they decide to rebel in some way. I thought most were funny, and I just love the way Berg writes, so that always draws me in.
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Greenville Public...: The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted 1 8 Jan 23, 2014 09:34AM  
The overweight person's 'persona'. 4 34 Jan 31, 2012 06:01AM  
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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
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“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” 27 likes
“Do you think that people ever really do believe they will die, that the world will just go along as always without them? I wonder if we aren't all a little surprised at the moment of crossover, if we don't look back over our shoulders saying, Now hold on.” 13 likes
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