Durable Goods
Elizabeth Berg
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Durable Goods (Katie Nash #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  5,467 ratings  ·  319 reviews
In the blazing heat of a Texas summer, Katie comes to terms with her mother's recent death -- and her sister's appetite for adventure -- as she gives lyrical voice to the inchoate longings of youth.
Hardcover, Large Print, 248 pages
Published December 6th 2000 by Center Point (first published April 19th 1993)
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It’s rare that a movie sequel surpasses the original. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Terminator 2 and Before Sunset. It’s even rarer that a book sequel is better than the original because I think most authors pour most of their creativity into the first one and then half-ass the others. Or am I just being cynical?

Anyway, I prefer Joy School, the second book in this series. I read it first and loved it without realizing it was a sequel. The writing was so sweet and fresh and lyrical...more
This author has a real talent for rendering the small details of girlhood. The first in a series of novels focusing on the same character (the others are Joy School and True to Form), Durable Goods introduces Katie, an army brat growing up in TX. Her mother has recently passed away, her father is cold and occasionally abusive, and her sister is itching to get out of town and away from their dad.
Yet, for me, the heart of the book is not the family drama, but the spot-on descriptions of the munda...more
I read Durable Goods after reading its sequel Joy School. I just love the narrator and main character Katie; such an authentic voice of a 12-year-old girl growing up in the time of transistor radios and drive-in movies and muscle cars. I find it relaxing the way the author shows the time and place of the novel - there are no computers or cell phones or DVD's - by using the "technology" that was there at the time. I hear "transistor radio" and I remember the radio we had with the leather cover wi...more
 ~☆ Alice♥♥
This was the best book I have read so far this year. I was sad when it ended which does not happen very often. I guess probably all women would enjoy this book and a few men might. Its about an army brat and I related to her experiences very much. This book was full of memories for me. Parts of it reminded me of Pat Conroy as he writes about the military life also.

I wish I could write a really good review for it as the book sure deserves it.
I adore anything and everything written by Elizabeth Berg. She puts words to feelings, creating a tangible description of what we feel at so many times in our lives. This book so sweetly describes a time of change, most of it unwelcome, in the life of a young girl in the south. Follow up with Joy School as it takes the story further.
Elizabeth Berg is a remarkable author! I hope you'll love her works as much as I do!
I loved this book. I love stories about family.
I read this in one day.
Then I read it again the next day.
This was a pleasing enough read but lacking a bit in substance.
durable goods is about a girl who is growing up beside her sister and father. Her mom died some time ago and her father works for the military; he is very strict. This girl can't do anything she wants because her father is always after them and looking what their doing. They can barely talk to him because if they say something wrong he beats them up or talks to them really bad. She wants a boyfriend and is in love with her sister's boyfriend. Her sister is always sneaking out but never gets caug...more
This was a really quick read, although it helped that I read a bunch of it on the beach before I could put it on here. So it probably was more like 4 days to read.

I've read other Elizabeth Berg books and seen the author speak several times so I really wanted to read her first published book. It was good, but not one of my favorites. It's interesting to look at an author's first work and see how far he/she has come. Her writing was good in 1993 but has become more rich and developed in her later...more
Another late to the party book. Picked it off of my library staff pick shelf. I see now it's first in a series, that Berg's main character was so loved that fans asked for more, and that Berg feels this is her best book. It is a sweet summer read, with lovely writing and some quietly profound ideas. The plot's been done (daughter in rural Texas with abusive father), but Berg's insights and prose make this worth reading. Loved her sentiment at the end, that her abusive father was "only what I was...more
Durable Goods is an enchanting novel that tells the life of an adolescent girl, Katie, who longs for a life of normalcy. For her entire life, she has never felt like a place was truly considered a home, since her father was in the army and kept moving the family around the US. After the death of her mother, Katie was forced to be accustomed to a hard life. In Texas, she finally found a place where she felt like she truly belonged. Themes of love, growth, sadness, among others are captivated and...more
There were times when I liked her writing style- I loved the way she described things sometimes- my senses were awakened and I could almost touch, see, hear, taste, and smell with Katie- but the story seemed unfinished somehow- like there was something missing or something not said...I don't know how to describe it except an elephant in the room feeling the whole time I was reading.
It just felt like the author was meandering around sometimes- I don't know if there was a point or not- the story...more
I believe this was Elizabeth Berg's first novel. In very spare, beautiful prose, she tells the story through the eyes of twelve-year-old Katie. Katie's mother has recently died of cancer. Katie is left to navigate the moods of her distant and sometimes abusive father, while at the same time adolescing, trying to figure out how to become a young woman and fit in with her peers. Berg does a wonderful job of expressing Katie's feelings and worries, as well as her wishful thinking that her mother is...more
I'm very indifferent about this book; I've nothing good or bad to say about it, except it was a quick read.
Just under 200 pages, this book is delicious. It's a semi-autobiographical book based loosely on her dad and in Berg's words, she said she wanted to write about what is was like being an army brat. She said she learned alot of what her feelings for her father were when writing this book.

The book is told from a 12 year old girl's perspective. It was a one sitting book for me. I couldn't put it down. The words on the pages were so lovely. I wanted more. Berg has such a way with words. Love her wri...more
Berg's narrative voice is so perfect and expressive. The oddity of the characters is described with exquisite pathos. It moved me to read in the questions and answers how she says that her stories are most often about compassion and friendship.
I had the marvelous fortune of meeting her briefly at a book fair earlier this month and I have her autograph in my brand new copy of "Tapestry of Fortunes."
Parts of Katie's story, like the slightly perverse influence Cherylanne has over her, disturb me,...more
The voice of the precocious 12 year old narrator is "spot on." She loved and admired her older sister and longed for her life to change. She was longing to grow up. At some points the tone reminded me of "I Am 16 Going on 17." Katie's mother had died that year. As most of you know, I'm a sucker for "dead parents" stories. Elizabeth Berg is able to give voice to the inexpressible and that is what I love about her writing. This is not a sad story; it just brought me back to when I was 12.
Jan 07, 2009 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Angela
Elizabeth Berg's first novel and my favorite book. The heroine, 12-year-old Katie Nash, who lives on an army base with her strict father and older sister, has a uniquely compelling voice. She narrates the story in a conversational tone, sharing her hopes and dreams as well as her fears as she tries to adjust to life without her mother, who has recently died. Katie also appears in Joy School and True to Form.
Beth Bonini
I really liked the spunky young narrator in this book. Berg created a distinctive character in Katie, but the 12 year old voice seemed authentic. A great period piece: something about the time/place (late 1950s? on an army base in Texas)really suited the pivotal moment between childhood and adolescence.

Berg's writing is particularly poetic, yet simple, in this novel.
Durable goods was a good (nor wonderful) and insightful book that I read in 1 sitting. The chapters are short and engaging which made me keeping at it. Overall the story was good and even though the heroine was 12 years old I could relate to some aspects of her inner life. I might continue the series. 3.5 stars
I read this book in just a couple of hours; I found the writing was good but not great, and the characters and story were pretty much the same - good but not great. The only character that's developed much is the youngest daughter - she's the storyteller in the book and so we see everything through her eyes. The abuse suffered seems downplayed but that may be because a young girl is telling it and trying to justify her fathers actions. Despite the heavy topic the book doesn't feel heavy, but tha...more
Diego Gonzalez
Durable Goods

By Elizabeth Berg
204 pp. New York, NY
Ballantine Books. $12.95
ISBN 0-8129-6814-X

I did not know how hard life could be until I read Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg. I had an image of “rough life”, but that image was completely altered after seeing how life could be. You wouldn’t believe how everyday life is portrayed in this novel. The normal teenagers have now become the beaten children of Texas – thanks to Berg’s meticulous sensory detail.
In Durable Goods, a teenaged girl, Katie, li...more
Book Concierge
Twelve-year-old Katie lives in a small house next to a Texas Army base parade field. Her mother has died. Her 18-year-old sister Diane doesn’t want to be bothered. Her Army colonel father is increasingly distant and demanding. She frequently takes refuge at her best friend Cherylanne’s home next door. Katie watches and compares her family and Cherylanne’s, and she waits – for breasts, for a boyfriend, for an end to math homework, for her father to stop beating her.

This was Berg’s debut novel an...more
It's interesting to read Elizabeth Berg's novels after consulting her book on "the art of writing true" so many times. Berg certainly knows how to do that. I think what I admire most about her, in fact, is the way she can take the most ordinary, realistic aspects of life and make them beautiful with words. Her metaphors are perfect: subtle, a little odd, but perfect once you think about them.

This is actually the first of the three books about Katie, but I actually read the second and third befor...more
Linda Bouley
This book was a little gem. Katie and Diane are teens living on base with their widowed father who is in the military. Their mother has died and Dad is bitter, angry and still messed up by his own difficult childhood. Their parents were very much in love and their mother was able to keep life smooth, but her passing at a young age creates added turmoil in him. The girls learn to live around him, but the clashes come if they are not careful. They can only cling to the love they remember from thei...more
Katie is a twelve year old Army brat living in Texas with her abusive father and her older sister.Her mother has recently died and Katie crawls under her bed to have conversations with her and even harbors a hope that it was all merely a misunderstanding and that one day she will walk through the front door. Her best friend, Cherylanne, lives next door and is two years older, so Katie learns about kissing boys and sex and shaving her legs from her, Their conversation about sex was pretty funny.

*Sigh* what a wonderful, artful, thoughtful, honest peek inside a little girl's imperfect world. I closed this book at it's completion and looked out the window of my Army house, thought about my own three little Army brats who are growing up in a similar world, and just let myself be sad for Katie for a few minutes, wondering how her story will play out. (BTW, I am trying really hard to tuck away my annoyance with little technicalities about living on an Army post--post, not base--that Berg got...more
This is the wonderful coming of age story of Katie who lives on a Texas army base with her cruel, unattentive and often violent father and her older sister Diane. Katie is a quiet observer of people and makes rather percise conclusions about others. Katie is waiting to grow up and must find ways to avoid her cruel father. Katie often speaks to her dead mother and hides under her bed. Elizabeth Berg's sorrowful portrayal of Katie's ability to deal with her life is handled with sensitivity. I thor...more
Vera Maharani
This book is one of September selection for Short & Sweet Treats Book Club.

It's so hard to put this sweetie down (but unfortunately I HAVE to, hence the rather long reading time). There's a lump in my throat, I'm so close to tears. Told from the perspective of twelve years old Katie Nash who live in the early sixties, this is a story about growing up, compassion, and forgiveness.

I love how Berg portray the Nash family. The protagonist Katie, going through her storm-and-stress period rather c...more
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Short & Sweet...: Durable Goods ~ September 2013 30 33 Oct 02, 2013 01:37AM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0380728842 2 22 Nov 05, 2012 04:34PM  
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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
More about Elizabeth Berg...
Open House What We Keep The Year of Pleasures Talk Before Sleep The Art of Mending

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