Candice's Reviews > The Year of Pleasures

The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
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Jul 05, 11

Read from July 02 to 05, 2011

This was not my favorite of Elizabeth Berg's books, but it had a lot of good points nonetheless. Having just lost her husband to cancer, fifty-something Betta Nolan sells their home in Boston and buys a house in a small midwestern town. She and John had planned to do something like this, and he told her as he was dying that she should do it on her own. Gutsy move on her part. I have been thinking lately that I would like to live in a town where just about everything I need is within walking distance – a grocery store, a library, a coffee shop, a fabric store. Betta’s Stewart, Illinois sounds like just the town I’m looking for, and that helped to draw me into the book.

Friendship played a big part in the book. How I envy people who can make friends so easily! Betta was able to make friends with some of her new neighbors and she reconnected with her three roommates from her college years. The four got along as if there had never been a break in their friendship. I can relate to that, as I have a very dear friend from high school. We rarely see each other, but when we do, the years melt away and we are as close as when we were silly 17-year-olds.

But the main subject was grief. Betta and John had a close and enviable marriage. They were childless, but were attuned to each other’s every thought and feeling. They enjoyed doing things together. Although John’s was not a sudden death, it was searingly painful to Betta nonetheless. While Betta strives to find the “right” way to grieve the loss of her life partner, she meets others who are each grieving in their own way.

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