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Open House

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  41,627 ratings  ·  1,179 reviews
Open House, Open Heart

Elizabeth Berg has made a name for herself by writing provocative, engaging novels that strike a deep emotional chord with women everywhere. Her topics have ranged from parental estrangement and the death of a dear friend, to the unique bonds that can develop between sisters, or between a straight woman and a gay man. But at the heart of each is a com
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 11th 2000 by Random House (first published 2000)
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Jul 27, 2007 Beth rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a retard
True to form, Elizabeth Berg sucks again.

What do I care about a dumpy, depressed, middle-aged divorcee who spends her evenings reading Oprah book club selections and chowing down chocolate bars?

On the up-side, it made me feel thin and accomplished.
Elizabeth Berg might just be my favorite author for a guaranteed, enjoyable comfort read. I may need to keep one of her books handy at all times. Her stories are true to life, her characters are relatable and I tend to fly through her books and end them with a sense of satisfaction for time well spent. This was no different.

Samantha "Sam" is sailing along in her marriage, keeping a home for her husband and Mothering her son Travis, but when her husband leaves her the boat capsizes and leaves h
Janice Williams
I read "Open House" by Elizabeth Berg for the first time four years ago. I discovered her books at the library and read all of Berg’s titles available there, then purchased some additional titles as well. I’ve now read all of her books except, oddly considering my profession, her book on writing, which I haven’t finished yet. A few weeks ago, I decided to purchase paperback editions and re-read a few of Berg’s books. I started with Open House.

I’ve just now gone to Berg’s site to grab a short syn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 07, 2013 Britany rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Britany by: Ginny Tess
Shelves: audiobook
Samantha's husband recently left her and her 11 year old son Travis. She expresses herself through Martha Stewart, shopping at Tiffany's and renting out rooms in her house to many different personality types.

The characters throughout the book all teach Samantha something about herself and she re-discovers herself and her strength along the way.

I really enjoyed this one. I listened to it on audiobook and was completely enraptured in the storyline. Beth Fowler was the narrator and she did an incr
Next time I find myself thinking that I need a really easy read, I'll edit my thought to be "I need an easy, BUT STILL WORTHWHILE, read."

Although I hate to love, and love to hate on Oprah and her book club books, they usually are pretty decent. Oprah needs to fire who ever read this book for her, at once!

And the thing I find the most perplexing is that my mom left it in my room at home to read. I mean, she actually read this book and thought to herself "Liz would like this" and then put it in my
Dec 07, 2008 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
I am going to review this book based on the first 3/4 and the last 1/4.

At first, I was pleasantly surprised when I picked this one up. Berg described feelings and characters in such detail that I was eager to read more of her work. I really felt for Sam, the main character, and I loved how Berg added Sam's inner thoughts as an aside of the regular plot. I was debating between 4 and 5 stars because I kept thinking about what would happen at the end and I was really into the book.

The last 1/4, I w
I was having trouble settling on a book after so much dense school reading, so I decided to let Oprah guide me. This book is kind of like advanced chick lit. The prose is simple and honest, and somehow very comforting. Ideal if you want to spend a weekend lying on the couch with some sort of snack food, but still sophisticated enough to not induce that "I just watched a marathon of The Bachelor" feeling.
Moses Kilolo
Was that the end? I flipped a page, like I'd just been doing from the first, and now I realize I have no more pages to flip! Its finished. And I am wondering what an ending should do to me as a reader, leave me wanting more, hanging or just plain bored. Well, this book was certainly entertaining. Even incredibly readable. The perfect kind to take you into another world, wherein you find life true, almost familiar.

After her husband leaves her, Sam wants to recreate her life. First there is the is
Shallow sketches of uninteresting characters paired with the bare outline of a plot whose every development was easily guessed. Had Berg gone any deeper into any of the characters, we might have had a reason to empathize or sympathize with them, to root for them even, but instead we can hardly wait for the book to end. Which doesn't take long, because there's nothing of substance to slow down the page turning. I started the book two weeks before I finished it, because I set it down after the fir ...more
I liked my first Elizabeth berg book so much I decided to go read a second one, and I read what I thought was a popular choice: "Open House." It was an Oprah Book Club selection, and was a bestseller. The first thing I noticed is that it is kind of dated: characters still watch movies via VHS tapes, and people still calculated long distance phone call costs. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the book felt like a historical novel in that sense. I found this book very weird: it seems like Be ...more
This book seemed like an honest look at a woman struggling through a divorce and was a fast read. I But this is the second of Berg’s books that I have read and haven’t really been all that impressed. Some of the writing and content was wonderful and very well written while other parts seemed rushed and undeveloped. There are two significant occurrences at the end of the book that although were life altering changes for Samantha, only garnered a few pages and didn’t really seem resolved. I won’t ...more
I really did enjoy this book - it was very readable and fast paced. I cared about the key characters. Alot of what happens in the book felt true to life, and I particularly enjoyed the relationships between Sam and her son, and Sam and her mother. I also thought that Berg used her secondary characters, the people who roomed at Samantha's, quite well. The evolution of the characters was good. The plot was engaging, overall. Some of the imagery is quite stunning.

So why not a full five stars? I've
Jan 03, 2011 Trish rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
If I could give this book zero stars I most definitely would. I don't know WHAT I was thinking delving into another book on Oprah's book list. I have found very few books on her list that don't make me want to poke myself in the eye with a dull pencil. I listened to this as an audio book and couldn't make it past the 2nd CD (out of 6). The narrator was good, but the story....AAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!

A woman's husband leaves her, she mopes around, cries all the time, begs, pleads and whines to try to get
What a fun, crazy book. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to be amused by the antics of a recently separated woman ("Sam") with an 11-year-old son, who takes on a roommate to help pay the mortgage. The subsequent revolving roommates are absolute characters who add immensely to the drama. Sam's preteen son's indifferent, sometimes nasty attitude is right on (I would know). I loved the other characters in the book as well. Sam's long-distance friend, Rita, is blunt and honest and over-the-top bu ...more
I like Elizabeth Berg, her books have kind of crept right up on me and grabbed me. I like her character's eccentricities (even though if I knew them in real life I'd find them annoying)and the analogies she uses (example: "I save his confidence in me as though his words were silver dollars, knotted in a silk scarf and kept hidden in a dresser drawer". Just lovely, poignant imagery.

In this novel Sam (Samantha) is on a tail-spin after her husband abruptly leaves her and their son, Travis. She act
A satisfying read, great character development and a good pace. The title comes from the idea that if we lifted the roofs off people's houses and saw how they really lived, it'd be a different story from their outward appearances. (copied review) Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem ...more
I finished this book in a matter of days, and though the story was engaging enough it was more because I had been slogging through some heavy non-fiction for a month prior to this read. I think my brain just sucked up the words greedily like a kid with candy on Halloween because it was easier fare.

This is my first Berg book and I have seen her work touted all about the book blogosphere. She does have a way with making everyday simple actions, settings and emotions quite remarkable and relatable
I didn't want to read this book at first-- it seemed too depressing, the theme of divorce. I come from a split marriage, so it's a topic I kind of like to avoid. I was pulled, though, for some reason. The first couple of chapters were a bit depressing and difficult to get through, but by chapter four, I was hooked and wanted to keep reading to see how Sam, the main character, would develop throughout the pages. Berg did an amazing job at character and plot development, but she could have incorpo ...more
The main character of this book is a little down trodden, a little mopey, and didn't show nearly enough spunk, even at the end, but still, I couldn't help but like her. Her main romantic interest is also likable, and though their romance, such as it is, did not exactly spark a fire in me, it was sweet. I also liked that neither character started out gorgeous or had a major makeover to become gorgeous.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot positive to say. The book reads as more of a chronicle
WAY disappointed by this book. A big part of it is that I love Elizabeth Berg. She is is one of my favorite authors, and the Kate Nash series (Durable Goods, Joy School, True to Form) is one of the best series about growing up I've ever read. Sorry to say, Open House was nowhere near the quality of her many other books.

I had a hard time connecting with Sam, the female lead. She seemed like a pushover with no backbone or even a clue. Very hard to root for someone like that. Nothing in the story
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was an Oprah's Book Club book so I had high expectations going in. It was okay...a book about a woman going through a divorce. I thought the author captured the emotions of the main character very realistically. We women are strong and brave one minute then crying on the floor in a self defeated heap the next. That part I really connected with. But the story line was predictable and cliche...and I am so tired of books and movies celebrating couples who divorce and then "find" themselves and ...more
This is a novel about a woman who is forced to recreate her life after her husband leaves her. Until his desertion she's been a contented housewife and mother to her eleven year old son. Now she has to learn to stand on her own two feet, get a job and take in lodgers to survive.

In a style that is reminiscent of Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg forensically examines the distress of a woman whose 'sin' is that she was content with home-making in a world that no longer values such a lifestyle.

There are
Sara Steger
A sweet, if somewhat predictable, book. Berg reminds me of Anne Tyler with her simple everyday plot line and quirky characters. I knew where the story was going from the beginning, but it was still a pleasant enough though not an impactful read.

I did laugh when she made a reference to being glad that the elderly woman's purse did not contain at "day-timer". That reference dated the story perfectly...since any current writer would be referencing a "cell phone". My how things change and how quick
I was pleasantly surprised by this little Oprah can go either way as we well know. This was a story of a 42-year-old woman whose life was turned upside down when her husband suddenly left her and her 11-year-old son. I'll be 42 this year and I have an 11-year-old son, so I could relate to the main character Samantha on many levels.

Sam was forced by circumstances to come to terms with a new life and find her true self. And she did it all with a witty, biting, honest sense of humor. She
Tracey Hudson
I didn't really care for this book. I understand how devastating a divorce can be, but was thoroughly irritated by how pathetic Sam became (at one point even throwing herself at the very man who abandoned her and her son). I could've really gotten behind this character and cheered for her if she had pulled herself up, quit feeling sorry for herself, and strived to create a new life for herself. She did eventually do that but I still felt that she was letting life happen to her rather than living ...more
Picked this up at a local book sale to read and release.

A story of growth, strength and humanity. Berg has a gift, it seems.

I'd read this a while back, but when I found this copy- I could no longer really remember the story- divorced woman finds self, is all I could come up with.

But it is a lot more than that. The path to the finding of herself and feeling secure is well told. (I must admit I chuckled at the image of Sam sewing shut the flies of her husbands boxers and the tops of his socks befo
Why did I pick up a book about a woman dealing with divorce? Because I wanted something I could finish in a couple days and Elizabeth Berg wrote it. She makes it look so easy, which means she is a great writer. Throughout the story, the main character is struggling to figure out who she really is, what to do with herself, and who she really wants in her life. We see and feel her rollercoasters of thoughts and emotions, and sometimes it's pretty chaotic. But by allowing a variety of new people an ...more
I enjoyed this book, but at times I felt myself wanting to shake Samantha. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, get over David, and move on with your life!! And finally, she did. Sad at times(especially towards the end, when she realizes she is pregnant and wants to have an abortion, but ends up having a miscarriage) but for the most part it was downright hilarious!! I loved the eccentric mom and King, and even though he isn't the typical love interest(overweight) I found myself rooting for him the ...more
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Well what did you all think? 6 49 Aug 24, 2014 02:21PM  
Oprah's Book Club...: Open House 3 24 Sep 22, 2012 10:27PM  
  • The Treasure Hunt: A Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers, Level 3
  • River, Cross My Heart
  • A Virtuous Woman
  • Mother of Pearl
  • What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day (Idlewild, #1)
  • Vinegar Hill
  • Jewel
  • While I Was Gone
  • Songs in Ordinary Time
  • Here on Earth
  • Icy Sparks
  • Back Roads
  • Gap Creek
  • The Rapture of Canaan
  • The Book of Ruth
  • The Heart of a Woman
  • Black and Blue
  • The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
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...
What We Keep The Year of Pleasures Talk Before Sleep Home Safe The Art of Mending

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“I made cranberry sauce, and when it was done put it into a dark blue bowl for the beautiful contrast. I was thinking, doing this, about the old ways of gratitude: Indians thanking the deer they'd slain, grace before supper, kneeling before bed. I was thinking that gratitude is too much absent in our lives now, and we need it back, even if it only takes the form of acknowledging the blue of a bowl against the red of cranberries.” 18 likes
“I remove my wedding rings and put them in the jewelry box. So many others have done this. I am not the only one. I am not the only one. But here, I am the only one.” 11 likes
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