bookczuk's Reviews > The Art of Mending

The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg
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Jul 24, 09

bookshelves: bookcrossing, borrowed, favorite-author, rabun-county-and-thereabouts, home-library, satisfying
Read in July, 2004, read count: 2

Early on, the characters in this novel captivated me. Laura is a wife, mother, daughter, and a quilter. As she pieces bits of fabrics together to make a quilt, she takes the bits and pieces of her life and her family's personalities to help create a new whole. The book is interspersed (I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong- live with it) with descriptions of a family photograph album- snapshots in time, that together with what Laura discovers, create a new whole for her family.

There were bits of domestic details that have annoyed some reviewers, but that I liked- like when Laura writes "I hung up, flipped the turkey burgers for the last time, dumped the oven-baked French fries into a basket and salted them, sliced tomatoes, drained the water off the ears of corn...", we'd had turkey burgers and salad for supper that evening. I liked the rituals she and her husband had established in their life- how they chose to share with each other how their day went. There was one passage where she wrote about buying fabric- about carrying an entire bolt around the store, even though the manager said to put it down, carrying it because she didn't want someone else to buy the whole bolt before she got her piece...It reminded me of anyone who has a passion about anything- like books, for instance, and our nutty behavior when our searching for new ones. I mean, Logically, I know that if someone gets the last copy, I can order another, but it isn't the same. (pp 203-204 in the hardback edition I have in front of me.)

I had an aunt who turned out to be abusive of one of her children. I found this out in adulthood, and this, perhaps gave me a heightened sesnitivity to the story. None of us knew until many years after the aunt died, but it explains a lot. We just thought she was nuts- had no clue about the abuse. My cousin is a strong woman and is doing alright now.

This book is about healing. The question is whether or not past wrongs can be healed. As Laura says, 'There is an art to mending. If you're careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is testimony of its worth.'


Edited to add that I did a reread of this book after discovering it in bumma's stacks when she passed away. Still a lovely read.
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