Home Safe
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Home Safe

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  7,314 ratings  ·  1,145 reviews
In this stunning novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames–recently widowed, coping with grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her–is beginning to depend too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, meddling in her life and offe...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Barbara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Myth
I received this book for free, as a sort of promotional Nook was doing. I felt kind of cheap and decided I would get this, instead of one of the books I had planned on.

What a mistake.... but before I get into subject analysis and general ranting, here are the technical specs.

Most of the writing is in third person present tense. At first it's awkward to read in present tense, but you get use to it. It appears to be written this way so as to make easy transitions from past and present.

The main ch...more
Diane
I was anxious to read Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg, because I have enjoyed a few of her books in the past. The premise of this story is not a new one: when her husband dies unexpectedly, Helen Ames is stunned and finds it difficult to move on.

Yes, Helen lose her husband, but this woman was incapable of doing anything for herself ; honestly, she was pathetic. Once a best selling author, she even loses her her ability to write. She also becomes dependent on her 27 year old daughter Tessa, to the po...more
Heather
I've heard this is not a typical Elizabeth Berg story, but this is my first, and, from the writing, it could be my last. Incidentally, I have been informed (by a rather nasty reviewer), to put a Spoiler tag here. So, here it is! SPOILER ALERT.

The book seemed to lack plot or point; the main character, Helen was so unlikeable -- needy, non-self-reflective in any way, no sense of self, critical, empty, and lacking any EQ, that I felt sorry for her daughter and parents, and angry and irritated at he...more
Elizabeth
Elizabeth Berg's books tend to be those I refer to as "brain resting" books. Not to say that the characters aren't real or developed nicely, it's just that they are a whole lot like that pair of pajama pants that are definitely not for public viewing. Her books are comfortable and cozy and not at all surprising in any way. Sometimes a girl needs a book like that. In Home Safe: A Novel , I felt so often that Berg is becoming more and more autobiographical in her character development. There was a...more
Lynn
I always look forward to a new work by Elizabeth Berg which is why I devoured it, gulping it when I should have probably done more sipping and savoring. The plot, a middle-aged widow with writer's block discovers a secret her husband kept from her, and a secret she has kept from herself about who she is and what she is truly capable of, is classic Berg. I didn't particularly care for Helen. Her relationship with her daughter, Tessa, made me want to smack her up-side the head on several occasions...more
Aura
Sometimes books present themselves to us at special times of our lives and we love them because there is something particularly timely to us. I love Elizabeth Berg since Pull of the Moon, Open House and Durable Goods but this book was timely to me because my mother just died and she was a woman a lot like Helen. Home Safe is a story about a woman whose husband died and she is forced to grapple with no only the loneliness of losing a marriage but the loss of a man who took care of life, paying th...more
Joy
Elizabeth Berg's books are really good. I'm enjoying novels by women these days. This was a mother-daughter story of a recently widowed woman who is overprotective of her 27-year-old daughter. The mother's own mother gives her excellent advice from older times: "We didn't need to air all our dirty laundry and run to therapists every five minutes. Life comes with problems. You just have to accept that. And you have to try to lead the simple life; to not constantly ask questions about the whys and...more
Marlet
I’m now officially a fan of Elizabeth Berg. This is my second book and I finished it in 3 days. I guess Berg has a gift in hooking readers with her natural storytelling style.

Home Safe is about a novelist and a widow who can’t get over the death of her husband. While the theme may sound depressing, Berg managed to tell Helen’s life without too much weight in the heart. It’s not like I’d get to almost choke with tears but there were moments in the book that I truly felt for Helen.

Helen was very d...more
Alissa
May 29, 2009 Alissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heather, Lesley, Kay, Diana, Stephanie, Maya, June
Recommended to Alissa by: Kay got me hooked on her books
I'm always ashamed to admit how much I like Elizabeth Berg's books. I mean, really--they're corny, with a lot of rumination about the small pleasures in life. Which, yeah, ok, I have to admit: I'm kinda the same way--I just don't talk about how much I love the iridescence of a scrub jay's wings. Maybe Elizabeth Berg is just the part of myself I'd never let anyone see because I'd be too freakin' embarrassed.

Anyway. I read this book in a day and a half, and that was even with Charlie sitting on my...more
Karen
I've told you before that Elizabeth Berg is my favorite author. I don't think I could ever read a book by her that disappoints! This novel is about a 59-year-old writer, Helen Ames, who is recently widowed and trying to now fend for herself, and is battling writer's block. Her 27-year-old daughter lives in the same city and Helen depends on her too much and meddles in her life as well. One day Helen discovers her husband was seemingly leading a double life and had withdrawn a huge amount of mone...more
Julia
I bought this book when it first came out, but the reviews that I read put me off it and it's been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. Now that I've finally read it, I'm sorry I waited so long. It's a lovingly written, thought provoking book about moving on after you've lost your partner, and redefining what your "home safe" place will be.

Helen Ames is in her late 50s and a successful author. She is recently widowed and is struggling to cope without her husband, Dan. She is becoming overly depen...more
Katy
When I first picked up an Elizabeth Berg novel, I was so intrigued. I read the entire thing in a day, I had a special connection to the characters, I loved the intimate details of feminine life, and I wanted to be like all of her protagonists when I grew up. I gave the books to my mom, we discussed how much we loved them, and I was convinced that this is what adult women were like.

Fast forward 15 years ahead, and this book actually made me ANGRY in how little i could relate to the characters. He...more
Joana
Nem sempre um livro consegue estar à altura dos comentários que constam nas contra-capas - por regra, pequenas considerações de críticos de renome. Este "Porto de Abrigo" é descrito como sendo "Simples, belo e real"e "Sábio, gracioso e romântico". E realmente é isso tudo e muito mais, na minha opinião, claro!

Elizabeth Berg não é uma autora da moda, mas a Bertrand já publicou várias das suas obras, o que significa que os leitores portugueses gostam das suas histórias. Eu adoro, e progressivamente...more
Cathy
I like the depth of Elizabeth Berg's characters even if I can't identify with the characters, which is the case with this book. The main character is Helen, a woman nearing 60, a writer whose husband suddenly drops dead. There is a mystery - he withdraws most of their savings without telling her. If this was an Anita Shreve or Jodi Picoult, it would be for nefarious purposes.
I can't identify with Helen much. She strikes me as self-indulgent and weak. I did squirm uncomfortably at how interferin...more
Havebooks Willread
While this book wasn't as enjoyable as other Berg books I've read, it did serve its purpose: to provide a little escape from real life. I could really identify with the love and appreciation for the written word which was woven through the pages of this novel.

"She opens the novel again, reads one page, another. Then another. And finally, everything in her own life surrenders to the one being presented here. . .Dan once had a friend who died from metastatic cancer. Toward the end, Dan visited h...more
Linda Bewley
This book received many conflicting reviews. Personally, it made me think about lots of things that I'd rather not face, like the sudden death of my spouse, how that would change my relationship with my children and how I would now have to handle all the day to day things that were always taken care of for me. I felt that many of the negative reviews were written by women who, for one reason or another, had to rely solely on themselves and therefore could not relate to Helen's situation. One rev...more
Antof9
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Stacy
Helen is a 50 something widowed author who is still trying to find her way a year after her husband’s death. She cannot do the most basic things around the house relying instead on her 27-year-old daughter Tessa and she has not been able to write at all. When she finds out the nest egg she thought would support her financially is gone, having been taken out of the bank by her husband before his death, she has no idea what to think. She takes a job teaching a writing workshop and the eccentric st...more
Dawn
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Sandy T
I've read several of Elizabeth Berg's books because I love her thoughtful discriptions of everyday ordinary life. But I keep waiting to really LOVE one of them, and it just hasn't happened yet. I did love this quote about books though:

"When Suzie introduced Helen, she told the audience that one of the best things about books is that they are an interactive art form: that while the author may describe in some detail how a character looks, it is the reader's imagination that completes the image, m...more
Laurel-Rain
In Elizabeth Berg’s newest novel “Home Safe,” we are almost immediately plunged into the world of loss. It begins in the preface, when, as a nine-year-old girl, Helen Ames experiences the death of a classmate: she describes everything she sees, up close, from the hands on a wristwatch to the top of the mother’s head and the sound of her weeping – and completely immersed in this experience, she becomes obsessed with these details. And then she describes: “Nothing helped until the day she took a t...more
Amanda
I don't really dislike books very often, but this one is a "dislike" for me. I would probably give this a 1.5 stars because the writing is not hideously bad, I just did not find the story enjoyable at all.

This book is what my husband and I call a "lady book". It's as close as I comfortably get to a "beach read", but far from romance novel. It's the kind of book I probably would have liked in high school because I thought it would make me seem sophisticated or grown up.

The story focuses on Helen...more
Reading Sarah
Helen, a successful writer, lost her husband, and after a year of emptiness and blank pages. She's turning all the energy she used to spend on writing and hr life towards interfering in her daughter, Tessa's, life instead. Then she finds out her husband was keeping a very big secret which involved removing most of their life savings. Reading this book is like having a long conversation about everything with an old friend you haven't talked to in a while. Helen and Tessa and their muddled relatio...more
Shonna Froebel
I found this book a quick read, but a very enjoyable one. The main character Helen Ames is a writer, or at least she was until she hit the writing block she is currently up against. The block began eleven months ago when her husband died suddenly.
Helen has gone from depending on her husband to do certain things to depending on her daughter. And while she depends on her daughter, she still sometimes treats her daughter too much like a child. Her best friend Midge is urging her to move on.
When Hel...more
Jouraine
I gave this book 3 stars only because it was readable and it didn't take me to the point where I wanted to put it down. It came very close though. Like the writing students in the book, this was like one long writing exercise that went on beyond the point of reason. The book begs so many questions: Why wasn't more done with the missing money angle? Why wasn't the relationship between Helen and the builder developed? If Helen felt guilty about her husband's passing, why wasn't that explored?

Of co...more
Sarah
Home Safe is one of the latest works by bestselling and prolific novelist Elizabeth Berg.

Recently widowed Helen Ames is a bestselling author who encounters writer's block as she tries to adjust to life without her husband, who took care of everything in the household, including finances. When Helen discovers there's very little money left for her to live comfortably from, it comes as quite a shock. Why are thousands of dollars missing and what did her husband spend it on? In addition, Helen mus...more
Tressa
Oct 12, 2009 Tressa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Alice Hoffman, Anne Tyler, and Kaye Gibbons.
This is my first Elizabeth Berg novel, and since I've heard so many good things about her other books, I'm going to assume this isn't one of her best.

Home Safe is the story of Helen, a writer whose husband of 30+ years drops dead suddenly. They are well off and Helen assumes that she is set financially, until a call from the accountant surprises her with this: over $800,000 was removed from their retirement account by her husband. What did he do with the money? Gambling? Does he have another fam...more
Bonnie
Review posted on my blog at Redlady's Reading Room.

First off, I must admit that I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Berg's writing. I have read most of Ms. Berg's books except a few of her earlier works. I find that Ms. Berg connects to the heart of a reader by touching on topics that we can relate to. She has a skill in her writing from creating characters that a reader connects to and she uses words and phrases that are heartfelt and realistic. That is why I am such a fan of Ms. Berg's books. I recent...more
Judy
I enjoy Elizabeth Berg as an author and this book is no exception. Helen Ames is 59 years old, a recent widow, and she is driving her 27 year old daughter, Tessa, crazy with her unwanted advice and constant clinging. I can identify somewhat with Helen. Although I'm not a widow, I'm sure that I constantly drive both of my children crazy. Batten down the hatches if Dad dies, kids. There will be no controlling me then. But back to the book. Helen was completely dependent on her husband, Dan, and no...more
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3529
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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“books are like confort food without the calories” 33 likes
“She sits down and puts her hand to her chest and rocks. Thinks of all she has lost and will lose. All she has had and will have. It seems to her that life is like gathering berries into an apron with a hole. Why do we keep on? Because the berries are beautiful, and we must eat to survive. We catch what we can. We walk past what we lose for the promise of more, just ahead.” 22 likes
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