Say When
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Say When

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  3,792 ratings  ·  285 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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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
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.
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 Jones
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
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
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
Travis Ward
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
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.
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...more
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.

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
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
My favorite of Berg's, so far.
Jun 13, 2014 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most
Recommended to Judy by: Linda Werbelow
I've read other Elizabeth Berg books and I liked them. This one looked like it was going to be a fun easy read. I was surprised, the protagonist in this book is the husband. The story revolves around a few months in the life of a couple who though seem happy, obviously are not. The first line, "Of course, he knew she was seeing someone" sets the stage. The quote on the page before the first chapter "To understand is to forgive, even oneself" - Alexander Chase, sets the tone.

Ellen and Griffin me...more
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
(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
Lexie Huber
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.
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
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
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 Kelley Harris
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
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
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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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“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?” 2 likes
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