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We Are All Welcome Here

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  6,328 ratings  ·  628 reviews
Elizabeth Berg, bestselling author of The Art of Mending and The Year of Pleasures, has a rare talent for revealing her characters’ hearts and minds in a manner that makes us empathize completely. Her new novel, We Are All Welcome Here, features three women, each struggling against overwhelming odds for her own kind of freedom.
It is the summer of 1964. In Tupelo, Mississip
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Published April 17th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
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In Flannery O'Connor's "A Circle in the Fire," Mrs. Pritchard tries to engage Mrs. Cope in a conversation about "that woman that had that baby in that iron lung"(THE COMPLETE STORIES 175). She justifies her freakish interest in the unusual birth and in the deaths of both mother and baby by mentioning that she and the woman were related --"sixth or seventh cousin[s] by marriage"(175). Later in that conversation, which can more aptly be described as "parallel talking," Mrs. Pritchard delivers one ...more
I wish I had the words to describe Elizabeth Berg's wonderful writing so that everyone would run out and read her. This is not chick-lit, it is more like relationship fiction. Her prose is so descriptive, warm and encompassing yet simple and true. I feel drawn into each character, their feelings, experiences and their relationships. Yet it is not dramatic over the top stuff. The characters are ordinary yet extraordinary.

I have read virtually all her novels but somehow missed this one. She was m
It is 1964, in Tupelo, Mississippi, and a young mother, Paige Dunn – paralyzed by polio while pregnant with her daughter Diana – lives a life limited by her condition and as a single mother. But because of her inner strength and determination, she is raising her daughter, now entering her teens. Paige’s in-home help (she is a quadriplegic) consists of a young black woman (Peacie) who comes in the daytime, and another helper who comes for part of each night.

Against this backdrop, Peacie and her
I got the suggestion for this book from an Amazon "Customers who bought this book also bought ..." I believe the suggestion was on the Amazon page for The Help, which I loved and was looking for suggestions of similar books. Elizabeth Berg is always good for a nice, sweet story, one that is light but doesn't insult your intelligence. (Ditto Ann Tyler. They may, in fact, be the same person.)

This book, based on a true story suggested to Berg by a reader, is about a woman who contracts polio while
Kathy Szydlo
A departure for Elizabeth Berg, in that she bases this novel on a real person, a mother in California who contracts polio in 1951. She delivers her third child while in an iron lung, in which she remains for 3 years. Her husband divorces her and offers to have the children adopted out, which she refuses to allow. She eventually is able to raise her children and earn a college degree, with help from caregivers.
In the novel the main character is an only child, a 13 year old girl, who lives in the
Rosina Lippi
Domestic drama like this can easily sink into the melodramatic abyss. You've got a quadriplegic woman struggling to keep afloat financially; her husband left her when she came down with polio -- at nine months pregnant -- and the only help he offered was to get the baby adopted. A real peach of a guy.

The daughter (Diana) narrates. She's thirteen at as the novel opens, so this is a coming of age story. Her relationship with her mother, with Peacie, the black woman who has cared for them both sinc
If she doesn't already, Elizabeth Berg should write movies for Lifetime (Television for Idiots). Her other two books I read/listened to starred a divorced woman and a widowed woman. This one stars a woman with polio who can only move her head. I moved mine to roll my eyes and sigh a lot.
Oh, brother, is this schmaltzy. It's narrated by her pre-teen daughter who she's raising in the 1950's with the help of (of course) a Sassy Black Lady, the ultimate insulting stereotype. Also, if you know your G
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I listened to the audio book of this one a couple of years ago, which I highly recommend. It's read by the author, and she's quite a skilled dramatist. She really brings all the characters to life.
May 09, 2010 willaful rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any mother or daughter
Shelves: audio
This is a wonderful reading. The long stretch at the beginning in which it's just the narrator speaking gets a little monotonous, but after other characters come in, it kept my interest completely. I was intrigued at the end to discover that it was an author reading, because the many different voices -- different ages, sexes, accents -- were so perfectly realized.

It's also a really good story. I agree with other reviewers that, plotwise, it's a bit heavy on the deus ex machina. But that seems li
The best part of this book is the opening Author's Notes. In it, Berg describes the woman who inspired the novel and how Berg came to learn about her.

The book is fictionalized, but based on an actual person named Pat Reming who was left completely paralyzed from the effects of polio. The only part of her body she was able to move was her head. She was also the first woman to give birth while in an iron lung. Determined to raise her child on her own despite her circumstances, she refused her husb
Jen A.
An interesting story of a young girl and her mother, Paige, who despite being completely paralyzed by polio chose to raise her daughter on her own. Berg does a fine job of narrating from the perspective of Diana, the daughter, capturing all of her innocence, outrage, selfishness and selflessness perfectly. The setting, a segregated Mississippi, provides some weight as the primary caregiver is a black nurse named Peacie.

What I found intriguing is that a reader wrote to Berg to request that she (
This is maybe my fifth or sixth Elizabeth Berg novel and, despite the fact that it was missing a characteristically laugh-out-loud moment that I've come to look forward to in Berg's work, this might just be my favorite.

I loved the point of view of the 13 year old, whom I so identified with. I cringe to think of my narcissistic, naive, 13 year old self and I believe Berg captured this painfully unaware stage of life really well. I enjoyed watching the drama of her mother's "romance" unfold from D
It was just a coincidence that I started reading this book after I went to Memphis for the first time. While I was there, I learned more history about the South during the ‘60s than I ever learned in school, especially the race and social issues that occurred at that time. This book was the perfect tie-in to that trip. The story of Diana Dunn growing up in Tupelo at that time, dreaming of Elvis, taking care of her mom with the help of their maid Peacie, and trying to understand why blacks and wh ...more
14 year old Diana is used to doing her share of looking after her mother Paige, who has been left badly disabled by polio,with help only from Peacie,the daytime caregiver who Diana has a strained relationship with. Diana and her friend both have dreams of fame and a better life,so when a handsome man moves into the town,both girls want him to date their single mothers. This rivalry leads to a terrible change in the lives of Paige,Diana and Peacie.
This book couldn't make up its mind what it want
I can't get over how much I enjoyed this book. Sure, Elizabeth Berg is a wonderful writer to begin with, but I just loved how the book came about. This book is actually based on a true story by one of Ms. Berg's fans. A woman wrote to her, asking Ms. Berg to write a book about her mother's life story.

A story based on a mother's battle to stay positive, raise her daughter, and become the best person possible after Polio has forced her to spent three years in an iron lung and be permanently attac
The Author's Note and the first bit of this book were brilliant -- the end a bit far-fetched, but hopeful. The bits in between okay, but a little like one of those movies on the Hallmark channel. But it was a quick read, written in a memoir style, and an interesting tie in (in my mind) to my recent reading of The Help. It also called to mind An American Summer, by Frank Deford, which I read a while back and liked. I think I'd hoped for more, but at least was able to get some bits and pieces out ...more
I liked this book much more than I though I would. Written in memoir style; this books tells the story of polio victim and her 13-year-old daughter living in Tupelo, Miss., during the summer of 1964. Having contracted polio at 22 while pregnant, Paige Dunn delivers her baby from an iron lung, and ends up raising her daughter, Diana, alone after her husband divorces her. Able to move only her head, Paige requires round-the-clock nursing care that social services barely cover. Now 13, Diana has ta ...more
Beautiful story of two strong women, mother and daughter, navigating the obstacles of life after a debilitating illness in the mid-60s deep south. You'll fall in love with Paige, Diana, and Peacie.
Terri Jacobson
Paige Dunn contracted polio during her last month of pregnancy, and now is trying to raise her daughter as a single mother in 1964 Tupelo, Mississippi. She is only able to move her head, though her intellect and physical feelings are undiminished. She is raising her daughter with the help of an African-American housekeeper during the day, an elderly woman during the evening, and her daughter Diana on her own at night. This is the story of the year her daughter turned 13, during the racially tumu ...more
Everyone has limitations, some of the body, like Paige Dunn, who lives in an iron lung and can only move her head. Some are limited by society and the law, like Peacie and LaRue, who fight against prejudice for civil rights. Diana Dunn has limitations placed on her by living with the confinements of a handicapped mother, poverty and a father that doesn't acknowledge her. In the summer of 1964, fourteen year old Diana learns that life isn't always fair and the worst limitations are the ones we im ...more
I have read most of Elizabeth Berg's books and really loved this one the most. I loved that it is based on a real story and find the details of the story the most amazing. It really grabbed me and held my attention, I read this book in 2 days. I also felt that the way the story came to the author's attention and that the daughter of the woman in the story asked Elizabeth Berg to write this semi-fictional accounting was remarkable. The characters in the book grabbed me and made me want to know th ...more
I read this book when it came out. I loved the book and if I recall correctly, I especially loved the ending. It made me very happy.
Cheryl Gatling
Paige Dunn contracted polio while she was pregnant. Her husband left her, and the baby was born while Paige was in an iron lung. She defied everyone, and went home to raise her daughter herself. That child, Diana, is now 13, alternately restless and selfish as 13 year-olds tend to be, especially perhaps those whose home life is both "different" and poor, but she also shows flashes of maturity. This book makes you think. What would it be like to be a parent who could not move anything but your he ...more
1964 Mississippi. Paige is determined to raise her daughter herself, even though Paige is paralyzed from the neck down by polio. Her daughter Diana loves her mom deeply, no matter how difficult it is for her to take care of her. It isn't easy to find good caregivers around the clock, especially when they have to be paid out of state disability benefits. Diana has had resentfully to adapt herself to Peacie, which she can do because Peacie's boyfriend LaRue is so nice. Then LaRue devotes himself t ...more
I really enjoyed this book - it seemed believable - well, just until the end really, and although it is a story of the relationship between a girl and her very disabled Mother, it is also the story of racism in the south in the 1960's. I found the story inspiring, it made me think about polio, and about living in an iron lung - it seems people still use them, and some people have spent more than 60 years in one - quite something to think about.
This started slowly, but as it unfolded, I enjoyed this very gentle story. It is fiction, but heavily based on the true life story of a woman struck with Polio just before she gave birth to her daughter. She spent three years in an iron lung, and then came home, paralyzed from the neck down, and on a respirator. Her husband left, and she spends years struggling to make arrangements so that she can keep her daughter with her. Well written.
"Inspired by a true story of a woman struck with polio at age 22 and in her 9th month of pregnancy. She gave birth in an iron lung, her husband then left her and he wanted to put the children up for adoption." - Lisa, Youth Services Associate

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An interesting story. Set in Tupulo, Miss. (home of Elvis Presley) at the time of civil rights strife. Paige Dunn came down with Polio during the last month of her pregnancy. She was able to deliver her daughter and became determined to raise her daughter herself. (Her husband walked out on her.) With the aid of her no-nonsense black helper Peacie, she fought for independence and dignity. The narrator of the story is Diana, Paige’s daughter. She is devoted to her mother, but also wants to be the ...more
Apr 14, 2014 Pam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: My friends and will be lending it if they appear to be interested.
Sweet, fun, interesting fast read - less than 200 pages but she says a lot in those pages. The idea for the novel came from the daughter of the mother in California who gave birth to her in an iron lung in 1951. She wrote Berg and asked her to write a novel about her mother's story. Berg doesn't like writing someone else's idea but she was so intrigued by this letter that she told her she would use the idea as a basis for a novel but that the novel would be all fiction. It takes place in Tupelo, ...more
I'd prefer to give this 2.5 stars as I nearly liked it. I loved the writing but I really didn't warm to any of the characters. Diana was a moody teenager who I didn't like at all, Peacie seemed very mean and Paige herself wasn't really involved that much. Its a hard story of a hard life, set in hard times.
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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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“I wondered what my father had looked like that day, how he had felt, marrying the lively and beautiful girl who was my mother. I wondered what his life was like now. Did he ever think of us? I wanted to hate him, but I couldn't; I didn't know him well enough. Instead, I wondered about him occasionally, with a confused kind of longing. There was a place inside me carved out for him; I didn't want it to be there, but it was. Once, at the hardware store, Brooks had shown me how to use a drill. I'd made a tiny hole that went deep. The place for my father was like that.” 28 likes
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