Never Change
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Never Change

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  4,327 ratings  ·  383 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review


Elizabeth Berg has penned an unforgettable tale about second chances that tugs hard at the heart strings even as it soothes the soul. Never Change tells the bittersweet story of Myra Lipinsky, a 51-year-old home care nurse and self-acclaimed spinster who finds herself assigned to care for the golden boy she secretly worshipped back in high scho...more
Hardcover, 214 pages
Published May 22nd 2001 by Atria Books (first published 2001)
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Myra Lipinski has spent her life looking out at everyone else living their lives. Working as a visiting nurse, she cares with tender efficiency for patients who need the kind of nursing care she can provide. She also feels genuine affection for them, bolsters their spirits and helps them outside of her official duties. But she has to remain professionally detached. Fortunately this comes easy for her. At fifty-one, she knows she will always live alone – except for her dog Frank. After all, she’s...more
Kellie
I put 3 authors in the same echelon, Tyler, Shreeve and Berg. I think, Berg is my favorite. I have read several of her books and the thing I recall the most about her books is her words. I have written down several of her quotes from the various books I have read. She has a way of putting into words things you have thought but couldn’t really find the words to say. I felt a personal pull to this book since my mother is a nurse and I could never understand why she enjoyed her job so much. This bo...more
Carolyn Agosta
I bought this book with no prior knowledge of the story line - I just knew it was by Elizabeth Berg, so certainly it would be worth reading.

What I did not know was that it deals with death and dying, the progress of illness and its effects on the caregiver, the question of what we do with our life to make it meaningful to ourselves, and the way love can come up to us when we don't expect it.

When I began reading, and realized the storyline included a man who was in the final weeks of his life,...more
Rebecca
I have read several books by Elizabeth Berg and always find that she tells a good story. My biggest concern with this book were the many many many boundaries that the main character Myra broke working as a home health nurse. This book focuses on Myra caring for a former high school classmate when he returns home with a terminal cancer. Some of the boundary issues included: telling her patients her personal struggles, socializing with patients, moving a patient into her home, and having a sexual...more
Donna
Mar 27, 2010 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Donna by: Case Teachers' Shelf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Swanbender2001
What a mixture of emotions I felt as this story ended. My heart broke and was uplifted at the same time. Berg translates the indescribable lessons one receives when attending the death of a loved one. So much sadness and letting go but such an uplifting experience and I really believe one that can’t easily be described or understood unless you go through it with your eyes and heart wide open. An amazing connection. The only part of this story that was left underdeveloped for me was the relations...more
Becky
I really love Elizabeth Berg.

I really connected to this character - I like that Berg writes characters that are like REAL people, like someone you might even know. Maybe even yourself! Myra, the main character, never connected with people because she was afraid that she'd be rejected, so she just never really tried - and now, later in life, she's slowly realizing that what you've always thought isn't always what the reality is. I loved her dawning awareness of herself and how people view her, an...more
Karyl
This novel is a very poignant look at the end of someone's life, and how he or she can choose to die with dignity. It also shows us that we should never take our lives for granted, no matter how empty and pointless we think they are, because we always mean something to someone. I really enjoyed how Berg reassured her readers that dying isn't something of which to be scared, that making that transition is really a beautiful and meaningful thing.

The only thing that drew this story down a bit for m...more
Brenda Sorrels
This is my second Elizabeth Berg novel and while I didn't like it as much as Open House, I liked it enough to give it four stars and to recommend it. There is something alluring about her writing, and I think it is that she does dialogue so well. When I read a conversation that Berg has written, I feel as if I'm listening to real people. The conversations have clear beginnings, middles and endings, unlike a lot of dialogue in fiction that tends to be more fragmented or just pieces of conversati...more
Marilu
I had not read a novel in about 6 months. FINALLY, I decided I needed to read a novel, and have found some time to do so. I decided I wanted a light read, a good general fiction book, and not the mystery, suspense, thriller type books I usually read. So, I picked up a book by an author that I have really enjoyed in the past. I started reading it and was really enjoying it, and then I got to page 130 something and read
" It makes you retarded, being pretty." a bit more convo and then " I don't kn...more
Ginger Hallett
I was so relieved to find that this novel by Elizabeth Berg deviated from the formulaic pattern she appeared to be following in the last few books previous to this one. It restored my appreciation for her writing, as I had feared that her formulaic plots, if continued, would cause me to abandon reading her books even though I love the imagery and flow of her words. I am reading her books in the order in which she wrote them, and so I hope that she keeps her plots fresh in the upcoming ones.

This...more
Marcia
Never Change by Elizabeth Berg has been languishing on the TBR shelves for some time now and made the cut for the first book in my 2007 TBR Challenge.

How many of us could dust off those high school yearbooks and count the number of inscriptions ending with the words “never change?” Hindsight would have had us all inscribing in our very practiced script “embrace change.” Myra Lipinski certainly would have benefited from this slightly altered wish to give her a perspective on her life that other...more
Martha
Elizabeth Berg is quickly becoming my new Jodi Picoult...I just can't put her books down!

I related to Myra in that I never felt "pretty" in high school and I was the person classmates would talk to with concerns they had, but I never felt part of the "cool" group...but for some reason Myra stayed stuck in that mentality instead of finding herself after high school (and thankfully, I did not...what a sad, sad life had I not!).

I did find it unusual (although I am not in the medical field) that Myr...more
Barbara
I loved this book from the very first page! I liked and identified with the characters right away. Be warned , you will cry, but in a good, therapeutic way! I believe almost everyone could identify with Myra because haven't we all felt like an outsider at some point in our lives? Lonelyness is a universal theme.

Myra is a home care nurse. She loves her job and she loves taking care of people in a practical hands- on kind of way. Now, Myra's new patient is also her high school crush, who is dying...more
Judy
Second chances can be incredibly powerful experiences in life and we should grab them when ever we can. As life-changing as second chances can be, they can also be bittersweet. Myra Lipinsky is 51 years old, lives alone, and is fairly content with her life as a home-care nurse. Then she is assigned to care for Chip Reardon who has chosen to refuse treatment for an aggressive brain tumor and has come back to his hometown in New England to die. Chip was a golden boy in high school and Myra had a s...more
Sabra Kurth
I really want to like this book--Myra Lipinski, a good nurse who truly cares for patients. She gets the chance too meet up with her high school crush, who remembers her and the book moves into high gear, But, hello, many boundaries were crossed and that's where I had issues with the book. Berg was a nurse, she, as a nurse, I assume, wouldn't have had her patient move in with her, much less, let her patient get high with another patient. However, I did like how Berg tried to have her characters d...more
Carol
The story of Myra, the lonely independent nurse and her connection with Chip, the dying heart-throb from high school is touching. My empathy and concern for Chip was a little harder to come by - his character was just not fully fleshed out. I felt cheated in that Berg didn't let us get to know him better. Diann I found to be too much a cliche' of the "pretty high school girl." However, the relationship between Myra, her patients, and even her dog were what made the novel interesting. I thought i...more
Lois
quite sure I read this several yrs. ago - but so worth reading again. Myra is a nurse, never married, never dated really - not a very attractive woman. Her newest assignment (visiting nurse) is taking care of the most popular, most beautiful guy from her high school years.. he has a brain tumor. (Chip Reardon)... She has always had a crush on Chip (didn't every girl?) and now he falls in love with her - but he is dying, they both know it - a beautiful love story, filled with characters - her oth...more
Michelle
This was just a beautiful book. Not just another book about cancer. The characters drew me into the story and their struggles held me captive until the wee hours of the morning when I was sobbing uncontrollably and wanting the author to have written another ending. However, I wouldn't change the life lessons learned from this book and its cast of colorful characters. It is the next day and this book still breaks my heart. But what kitschy country song said "there is beauty in the breaking"? I hi...more
Pam R.
I enjoyed the first book I just finished of Eliz. Berg. She's a prolific author, so I wanted to try another. Still in the early pages of 'we'll see how it goes'.

Well, this was a depressing book. As a former RN, I thought I'd be happier with a story about a home health nurse than this proved to be. Perhaps,it was the less than stellar ending, perhaps it was the fatal diagnosis, perhaps it was just me. A real 'downer' in mood building!

Will try to find another of Ms. Berg's books that will be a ha...more
Havebooks Willread
As is typical with a Berg book, I would like to chat this one out as soon as I close the back cover. This wasn't one of my favorites for two primary reasons: 1) it revolves around the final weeks of a man's life who has a cancerous brain tumor and 2) suicide is presented as a viable option, particularly for someone with a terminal illness.

Having said that, I once again appreciate Berg's insight into people. The main character is very interesting as she is a self-described loner/wallflower/spinst...more
Matt
2.75/5

Sad story, weak ending, good writing.

An overly sentimental story with an obtuse ending, threaded together by as much wish-fulfilling nostalgia as honest life-reflection. C'est la fiction, oui?

I also got the sense that this was written by a lonely author. Elizabeth Berg. She's writing from experience and I don't think she's married. She was also once a nurse, and, guess what, the protagonist was one too. I don't know how much was real-life for Berg, but this story drips of personal reflecti...more
Sarah
I'm sending this one back to the library. I just couldn't connect with the main character, a woman who's still "in love" with some random popular boy from high school, despite the fact that she's now in her 40s. It would be one thing if she was presented in a slightly pathetic light so that the reader could pity her and maybe come to empathize a bit with regard to the weird and silly things we all secretly cling to, but no, she just came across as a confusing and unbelievable character.
Carol
A little language. A story about a woman who meets a man who she had a huge crush on in high school. He's now dieing of a brain tumor. She's a nurse and is asked to help him in his last weeks. Of course she falls in love all over again. But in the end it's a story of relationships and how we miss out when we're young because we look at the outside of people not their hearts. Good reminder to not let appearance be the only guide to picking friends however old we are.
Anita Kelley Harris
This book is ridiculously unrealistic. A nurse gets away with doing things that seem to violate all kinds of professional ethics rules. Heck, the entire plot is unrealistic. A nerdy high school girl turns into a lonely middle-aged woman who suddenly gets a chance with the high school hunk, except that he's dying of a brain tumor and she happens to be his nurse. The high school hunk's high school sweetheart turned rekindled romance even comes to stay with them, and even though she's a successful...more
Cati
Sort of a middle-aged The Fault in Our Stars. This isn't a long story, but Ms. Berg is amazing at description and it had the depth of a story twice its length. The characters were well developed, although they seemed more Southern than New England-ish.

In a lot of ways I identified with the main character, Myra Lipinski. She is an introvert to a greater degree than me, but I think very similarly to the way she does. I don't know if that's good or bad; it just is. I loved all the characters, thoug...more
Sarah
Tearjerker. The grownup equivalent of Barbara Conklin's young adult classic P.S. I Love You.
Joy
Read this in 1 day. Rare for me. Funny & bittersweet too. Now I'm gonna read all her books.
Regina Spiker
Never Change is a book about love, loneliness, dying, and the supreme gifts of letting go but being there when a soul passes on. Myra Lipinsky has a heart of gold, a dog she loves, and outside of her career as a visiting nurse - a very lonely life. When the boy she adored in high school comes back into her life as a terminally ill patient, against her will, Myra falls in love again. How can she let this man die with the dignity he so deserves, when she loves him so....

I love, love, love Elizabet...more
Gloria Bernal
Don’t even consider skipping this due to the subject matter - illness, cancer and death. It's a lot more than that. This novel is not typical, as it is written expertly in the inimitable Berg style, with enormous compassion, great humor, and witty down-to-earth dialogue. It was a pleasure to read about Myra Lipinski, a visiting nurse, who at 51 has never been married. Her life revolves around her dog and her patients, compassionately caring to their needs. The other characters are Myra’s patient...more
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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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“But in spite of my great desire for intimacy, I've always been a loner. Perhaps when the longing for connection is as strong as it is in me, when the desire is for something so deep and true, one knows better than to try. One sees that this is not the place for that.” 11 likes
“The seasons tell us, everything in organic life tells us, that there is no holding on; still, we try to do just that. Sometimes, though, we learn the kind of wisdom that celebrates the open hand.” 10 likes
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