Say When
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Say When

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  3,620 ratings  ·  274 reviews
Ellen, he thought, and the name seemed to him to hold everything he might possibly want to say to her...He looked at her lying on her side of the bed, looked too at the space she had left beside her. That was his side, because he was her husband. And she was his wife.Griffin is a happy man. Settled comfortably in a Chicago suburb, he adores his eight-year-old daughter, Zoe...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 368 pages
Published June 3rd 2003 by Atria Books (first published 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Renee
This book poured out like sticky, sappy maple syrup. A tale about a couple separating and coming back together that was crammed with enough filler to stuff a turkey.
Alice Bola
Every once in a while I need to read a novel that speaks to my soul. Sometimes one comes about happenstance (personally, I love those books); other times I know exactly where to find them. Elizabeth Berg is that kind of storyteller.

A surprise visit to the library last Saturday brought me face to face with a section of Elizabeth Berg novels. After perusing the titles I picked one, open it and read the inner sleeve. I didn’t even get through the first paragraph before promptly closing the book an...more
Siew Ee
A refreshingly different love story told from a man’s perspective, of his feelings of love, loss, rejection and hope when his wife wanted a divorce.

Initially, I was all for Griffin, especially after reading a part of the book on what he values in a marriage: “He was a man who loved the calm normalcy of a long-term relationship. Romance was all right, but what really appealed to him was comfort. He liked the simple safety of marriage, the relief in it, the ease with which you could flop down on...more
treehugger
This was the worst Elizabeth Berg novel I have ever read. I hated all the characters, thought they were pathetic and sniveley. Sorta surprised I made it through the whole thing. Not recommended.
Carolyn Agosta
I don't know how I missed this book when it first came out; usually I catch all of Elizabeth Berg's books, but somehow I missed Say When until now.

Although I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Berg, starting with Joy School, in recent years there were a few of her books that somewhat disappointed me. They felt rushed, as though she was on a deadline and had to hurry up the ending. This book, however, felt beautifully complete. The characters learned things, they had realizations and went through changes...more
Lisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lois Duncan
Positive comments: (1) Elizabeth Berg writes well; (2)she tackled the difficult challenge of writing a woman's novel from a male viewpoint and pulled it off.

Negative comments: I found the book boring. It wasn't really a STORY -- just a situation. I couldn't relate to either the husband or wife. The husband was so obsessed with not having his domestic routines disturbed that he wasn't willing or able to move forward when his wife left him. The wife didn't know who she was or what she wanted. Neit...more
Nadine
I loved this book. When I first started reading it, I didn't want to like it, because it struck me as trite, feel-good, chick-lit. And I don't like trite feel-good anything. But it's more than that. It does not manipulate the reader's emotions (which is what trite, feel-good lit does), it simply, and accurately, depicts the characters' emotions. This is a startlingly accurate portrayal of a marriage falling apart in the wake of infidelity. It is wonderfully even, it does not judge the betrayed n...more
Deb
Frank Griffin's comfortable life is rocked when his wife Ellen announces that she wants a divorce. When she asks him to move out, he refuses, and the two agree to live in the same house as roommates. This novel explores their relationship and suggests that it's too easy to take another for granted. One of the differences in this novel from other Elizabeth Berg novels is that the story is told from a male point of view. As in other novels, both characters discover truths about themselves that lea...more
Joy
I'm slowly reading my way through Berg's books. This is about a man who thinks he has a good marriage until the day his wife announces that she wants a divorce. Sounds like a tired subject, but I really liked the thoughtful and gracious way the guy handled the separation. He seemed so wise and calm, you just really hoped his wife likes him as much as the reader. There were lots of questions: When is a relationship worth saving? Do a man and woman define betrayal differently? How honest are we wi...more
Amanda Westmont
I didn't enjoy this book at all. I thought the characters lacked conviction. There was no plot. And the writing itself was just... okay. I mean, I can really get behind plot-less narrative fiction if it's OUTSTANDINGLY well-written and it makes me wish I'd written it myself.

But this was just... Bleh. Completely forgettable. It didn't make me laugh or cry or even think very hard about marriage. I guess I just didn't really BELIEVE it. It wasn't real enough.

I'll give Berg another shot, though, sin...more
Bev
Having been through an ugly divorce, I wasn't sure how I would react to this story of a broken marriage told by a man's point of view. I ended up liking the book. Although he was very bitter at first, I grew to appreciate and enjoy the male narrator. His sense of humor carried the book to a different level.
Amy
Mar 15, 2010 Amy marked it as tried-it-and-gave-up  ·  review of another edition
I read about 50-70 pages before I realized I despised both main characters and didn't care if they split up, stayed together, burst into flame, mutated into aliens, explored Aztec ruins, disabled mines, spun gold from hay, etc.
Lisa H
Loved this. A breakup of a marriage, written from a husband's point of view. Was so touched by his willingness to fight for his marriage. I love everything by Elizabeth Berg, but this is one of her best.

Terre Musselman
Berg is one of my favorites, but here she has written a book that's easy to dismiss as cute or trite. In some ways there's a bit of a Hallmark Christmas movie vibe here. But like everything she writes, Berg has captured the way people think and speak so accurately, I felt as if I might have spoken or acted the same way, had I been Griffin or Ellen. Her ability to write dialogue is amazing. I also loved the way the characters thought and behaved so realistically. There were moments of deep insigh...more
Barbara
My favorite of Berg's, so far.
Soby
3.5 stars

This was a charming, insightful read. Griffin and Ellen are facing the all too common issue of growing apart in their marriage. The story (told exclusively from Griffin's perspective, which I found to be a refreshing change) opens right in the middle of the action with Griffin suspecting/knowing his wife is having an affair. When she comes right out and tells him that she wants a divorce and expects him to move out, however, he stands his ground and insists that he's not going to leave...more
DJL
(Originally posted on my blog at Denim-Jacket Librarian Dishes)

There's one good thing about mediating the Adult Book Club at my library. I'm able to test the waters in genres I wouldn't normally read through the titles selected from our library system's Book Club list, which doesn't include a lot of Paranormal or YA titles. However, sometimes there are books that I just cannot enjoy, and having to read them for Book Club makes reading less fun.

I debated on doing a review for Say When and finally...more
Louise
I enjoy Elizabeth Berg's novels sooo much!! I read this in one evening, just couldn't put it down.

From the back cover:
"When is a marriage worth saving and when is it best to let go? When do half truths turn into full blown lies? When does betrayal end and passion begin?

Say When is a compelling, complex novel that takes readers into the heart of a modern marriage where companionship and intimacy, and denial and pain, so often collide. Of course he knew she was seeing someone, begins the story of...more
Marisa
I want to express how I loved this Elizabeth Berg novel where she wrote from the mans perspective and he's the injured party in this emotional family drama.

The reason I didn't give a five star is due to the fact I found out Frank Griffin the main character was 38 yrs old. Elizabeth's writing had me envisioning he was 68. I always feel I'm reading a period piece when I read a novel by Elizabeth Berg, stories situated in the 50's or 60's. For example this exert from the book "Hugh women with an e...more
Michelle
I guess it's close enough to Groundhog Day for a little Deja Vu.

Just a couple of weeks ago I reviewed "That Old Cape Magic," by Richard Russo, about a guy named Griffin who's having some marital problems. Shortly thereafter, a novel called "Say When," by Elizabeth Berg was recommended to me by a coworker. It's about a guy named Griffin who's having some marital problems.

What're the odds?

While I did enjoy Berg's writing style, and I give her props for writing from the male point of view for the f...more
Anita
I've been a fan of Elizabeth Berg's since I was in high school. I enjoyed reading Say When. At times it can be trite, but at its best it's the touching story of a man whose wife says she has a lover and is leaving him. They have a daughter together, whom the man struggles to care for in the midst of his shattered world. Some parts of the novel seem very true to life while others seem a bit far-fetched. I don't want to include any spoilers but at times you get frustrated with the main character a...more
Kelly Hager
Really, really good book. I usually forget to mention her when I list my favorite authors and that's a shame, because she's brilliant.

This is about Griffin and Ellen, a married couple. Ellen tells Griffin she wants a divorce--he knew she was having an affair, but he didn't think it'd go so far. So she wants him to move out and he's basically like, "I'm not going to give up seeing my daughter every day because you're having an affair; if you want out, you're the one who's moving."

So now that he h...more
Sara
3.5*
I enjoy Elizabeth Berg's books a lot and this was not an exception. This wonderful books is about a couple who decide to separate in the beginning of the story and as the story unfolds both Ellen and Griffin realizes how their life is falling out of normalcy and what mistake has been made during course of their marriage.

What was the most interesting about this book was how Berg described Griffin's emotional and thought process during his temporary separation from his wife. One assumes that f...more
Margaret
I had a really hard time getting into this book at first - Griffin was just so bitter, I felt like I had a bad taste in my mouth after every chapter! But his bitterness became more balanced about halfway through the book and I started enjoying it more. I loved the character of Zoe and thought her actions/reactions were probably on target. I wanted to understand Ellen better - she was a complicated person still trying to find herself. I kind of thought the ending was not true to life the majority...more
Fancynancyuga
I love Griffin in this book and I am glad it's told in his voice. My heart broke for him and his wife a million times. Each marriage goes through trails and Elizabeth captures the heart of being married. Great book
Connie
I seriously can't decide whether to give it two or three stars.

This was an OK story. I did like reading the male point of view, but then it again it was always in the back of my mind that it was written by a woman.
Ellen just annoyed me, seriously, she doesn't like it because her husband always washes the dishes he uses and puts them away, who in the hell is going to complain about that?
Griffin was such a softy! Blech! I understand his concern for Zoe, but geez how can he still be so in love wi...more
Angie Rhodes
Ok,this is a refreshing look, on a married couple, who after the wife admit,she is having an affair, decide, because neither wants to move out of the family home , become 'house mates' They have an eight year old daughter Zoe,a sweet kid,who's a bit of a tomboy, Having never read any of Elizabeth Berg's books,this was one I really enjoyed.
The story is given,from the man's point of view, Griffen, is such a likable character, I really felt sorry for him, your heart goes out to him,and you care wh...more
Amanda
An OK book. I feel a little about Berg like I do about Piccoult. In her case she takes a domestic situation (usually a divorce or other problem) and tells a LONG story about it. I guess I am beginning to need something wtih more action? I don't know.

I did like the idea of the main character being male - interesting perspective on divorce, certainly. I didn't reallly like the portrayal of the wife. It seems like she was characterized as a little crazy or immature because she wanted more than mono...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Time of the Witch
  • Strange Fits of Passion
  • World Below
  • Le Mariage
  • Conversations with J.K. Rowling
  • Between Husbands and Friends: A Novel
  • Object Lessons
  • The Most Wanted
  • Blue Water
  • Happiness Sold Separately
  • La symphonie pastorale
  • The Law of Similars
  • The Last Time I Was Me
  • A Song I Knew By Heart: A Novel
  • Her Own Rules
  • Girls in Trouble
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

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Now he understood. After a while, pain simply stopped. It was as though your mind was able to create a firewall beyond which it would not let you venture. You had to have a break from your anguish, or you'd go crazy. It was the psychological equivalent to fainting when physical pain became overbearing.” 4 likes
“Did she ever think of that, that things experienced in ways different from hers were equally valuable? That the way that he chose to love her was, in fact, loving her, that the face of love depended on the person giving it?” 2 likes
More quotes…