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Say When

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,882 Ratings  ·  349 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)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Siew Ee
Jul 17, 2013 Siew Ee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 15, 2010 Renee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 30, 2008 treehugger rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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.
Dec 08, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This book is still my favorite book. It's my favorite by Elizabeth Berg, but also one of my two favorite books of all time. Despite having read this book four times now, I am still drawn to it.

Every time I read it, I love Griffin and despise Ellen. I don't know if I just forget what happens in the book, or if I always hope it will go differently, but every time I read it, I continuously think about what's coming up and how it ends and every time I am wrong. I am still surprised by the ending, wh
Carolyn Agosta
Jul 26, 2010 Carolyn Agosta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 01, 2010 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Berg has become one of my go to guaranteed calming and healing authors. Her plots are gentle with a slice of life brilliance, which I have developed a love for. Finishing one of her books is just like the end of a yoga session, you feel spent yet revived at the same time. Because of this quality I find them hard to rate in the rewarding stars kind of way, each of her books read so far have given me an absolutely thats just what its like moment! These moments are precious and reassuring ...more
Jun 11, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 16, 2008 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Nadine Jones
Oct 16, 2009 Nadine Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Sheryl Sorrentino
Jun 18, 2016 Sheryl Sorrentino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the first time I ever read an Elizabeth Berg novel told from a male point of view. She did a skillful and authentic job with her protagonist, Frank Griffin--with the possible exception of his near-saintly constraint and stoicism. Like every other Elizabeth Berg novel I have read, Say When is a well-paced, relatable, easy read; light yet in equal measure substantial. I found the ending to be a somewhat simplistic attempt to gift wrap a hitherto complex situation. But endings are a ...more
Lisa H
May 11, 2009 Lisa H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Paula Dembeck
This is the story of a broken relationship, a marriage in trouble.
When Griffin discovers his wife Ellen is having an affair he does nothing, fearing if he says something, she will leave him. When she finally tells him she is in love with another man, he reacts with anger and hurt. She says she no longer wants to live with him and tells him the breakup has been coming a long time. Griffin hardly believes she is serious, but when he suggests trying to work things out, she insists it is too late, t
Nov 20, 2015 Fred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A view from one man’s perspective.
Some female reviewers have questioned whether the author has accurately reflected the male mind in Griffin. I think on balance she has, and she has done it well, with humour, insight, and powerful description of Griffin’s agony. Berg is a very perceptive author (and she may have gotten her partner, and maybe other men, to review the draft manuscript as a “reality check”). It’s not unusual for an author to accurately reflect the mind of the opposite sex (see for
Travis Ward
Jun 20, 2014 Travis Ward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book -- twice. When I just finished it, it made me cry. That's say a lot because I don't often cry after finishing a book! The reason it moved me so much is that the author succeeded at creating a well-rounded protagonist who is deeply flawed, has a deep heart, and wants to change. Griffin is a married man who is in love with his wife, but doesn't know how to listen to her. On the first page of the novel, he discovers she's having an affair with her car mechanic. Th ...more
Apr 19, 2014 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Ellen informs Griffin that she wants a divorce, he is blindsided and refuses to leave; so, she leaves instead, and as the story unfolds, they both learn a lot about their marriage and what led them to the bad place they find themselves in.

Even though I enjoyed this book, it's not one of my favorites by this author. I do, however, disagree with some of the reviewers who disliked the characters and who found it boring because it didn't really have a plot. The characters may not be all that li
Aug 18, 2014 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in only a couple of hours. It was a fast read and kept me interested. I really like her books, they get you thinking and are mellow and just what I like. I felt for Griffin a lot and hated Ellen at times and thought how really stupid of her to demand that he move out and change his life for her stupid decision to have an affair. I like how the story played out in the end. This book brought out emotions in me, I felt the feelings Griffin was feeling and I just wanted so badly for ...more
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
Jun 28, 2015 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're married and have been through testing times... READ THIS. A very believable story of a wife going off searching for more and how it affects the hubby and girl. I like... the passive aggressive reactions, the undecided back and forward... the husband said he would never leave....they both have issues noone is in the wrong.... their issues never really get reflected on or understood... The metaphor of the ring.. . The final resolution is a wonderfully realistic anticlimax. In a world whe ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read and enjoyed other Elizabeth Berg books and this one did not disappoint. Ellen tells her husband she wants a divorce, that she is having an affair. Griffin who is totally blindsided by this news refuses to move out and leave their 8 year old daughter. The story follows their separation, how Griffin deals with it and his attempt to bring Ellen back home. Ellen's character leaves me a little cold but I appreciate how a couple can stop listening to each other how they can take their marria ...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
Marina Santos
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lexie Huber
Apr 30, 2014 Lexie Huber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
There so many things I disliked about this book that the thought of listing them all makes me tired. I can't believe I wasted so much time reading it just for it to end in the cowardly way. Ugh! Life and especially relationships are messy. If you are going to write about it being messy than get your hands dirty, don't bundle it all up with feel-good BS at the end.

Skip this book.
Jun 19, 2009 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
May 03, 2014 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Berg's best. Two books in the last two weeks that I couldn't put down. This book follows several months in the life of Frank Griffin, a very real man whose wife has announced that not only is she having an affair, but she wants a divorce. The book explores his thoughts of what he has loved about his wife and how he has contributed to the problems in the marriage, without sugar-coating his wife's actions, and it follows him through anger, bewilderment, desire and pain. Minor characters are ...more
Laura Sorensen
Except for the child of the couple, I didn't like the characters in this story so I had no stake in the outcome.
Nov 19, 2015 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very real insight into the break-down of a marriage.

I liked this for it's honesty. For not covering up the blatant effects the couple's separation had on their 8 year old daughter. For not making one character out to be worse than the other. For exploring a very bizarre 'room mate' set-up between two people who were once in love.

Realistic and thought-provoking, this story makes you think - how far would you go to save your marriage? What is truly important in a relationship? Just what are yo
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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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“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.” 5 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?” 3 likes
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