Doreen Fritz's Reviews > The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg
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Doreen Fritz "What do Women Want" should be another subtitle for this book. Berg is at her lyrical best when describing the inner thoughts of women in this series of short stories. The title indicates a leaning towards "fat" stories, and yes, there are some scenes in which the main character of a story gives up the never-ending struggle between what we SHOULD eat and what we WANT TO eat - and TAKE JOY IN EATING. But there are plenty of other topics relevant to women, and I felt that I recognized each and every character in these stories. There is 75-year-old Helen, depressed that her Christmas traditions have been scoffed at by her children, who finds joy and love in the end. 13-year-old Janey is visiting loved cousins after not seeing them for a year -- and this year things seem all different between them. And then one of her cousins calls her "Lard ass," and she suddenly understands the looks between her parents and feels embarrassed about her appetite. One narrator tells about a long friendship with Michael, who quit his job and built his own house in the woods, growing his own food - living a life the narrator envies in spite of her happy marriage and motherhood. But then Michael gets sick... One story tells about three new friends in their late 50's who make a pact to contact an old boyfriend and tell about it at their next weekly dinner. But the man Laura wants to contact isn't an old boyfriend - it's her ex-husband, whom she had left, but now she has 2nd feelings. Another story tells about a couple having to say goodbye to a well-loved dog. This collection looks at many kinds of love - not just romantic or even sexual love. Some stories are laugh-out-loud funny; others make you think or bring a sense of poignancy. At the end, I closed the book with a deeply-satisfied sigh, wishing for more. And with Berg, there probably will be.

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