Dawn's Reviews > Home Safe

Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
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's review
Jan 05, 2012

really liked it

“Home Safe” was a wonderful gem of a book, and it was a quick, easy read. The central character, Helen Ames, is a widowed mother – her daughter is single, in her mid-20′s. Their relationship was the central focus of the book, though not my favorite part. Helen is a writer, and she teaches a motley group of writers-to-be for a short course. Those were my favorite parts – reading about Helen’s inspirational writing techniques and the responses of her students. I love her students and wish I could have been a part of the class. I always like reading fiction about writers and how they get published. I think I would have liked Helen Ames very much.

Favorite quotes (a few of many), demonstrating Berg’s simple, lovely tone:

“But she trudged through the snow full of resentment for him not sharing this with her, and then her resentment was replaced with wonder, and she understood the specific kind of appreciation that comes to a person witnessing a thing of beauty alone, how the spectacle seems to sit whole inside the soul, undiminished by conversation, by any attempt at translation or persuasion.”

“She talked about the tactile joys of reading, the feel of a page beneath one’s fingers; the elegance of typeface on a page. She talked about how people complain that they don’t have time to read, and reminded them that if they gave up half an hour of television a day in favor of reading, they could finish twenty-five books a year. ‘Books don’t take time away from us,’ she said. ‘They give it back. In this age of abstraction, of multitasking, of speed for speed’s sake, they reintroduce us to the elegance – and the relief! – of real, tick-tock time.’”

“Helen imagined them toasting each other with complex red wine, sharing an entree, and then going home to small but elegantly decorated apartments in art deco buildings, each with a light in the window, each with real stationery in desk drawers, written on with fountain pens, the ink peacock blue.”

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