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The Age of Hope

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,436 ratings  ·  172 reviews
Born in 1930 in a small town outside Winnipeg, beautiful Hope Koop appears destined to have a conventional life. Church, marriage to a steady young man, children - her fortunes are already laid out for her, as are the shiny modern appliances in her new home. All she has to do is stay with Roy, who loves her. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable e ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 24th 2012 by HarperCollins Canada
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3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,436 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Hope Plett is born in 1930 in the small town of Eden, a predominantly Mennonite town outside Winnipeg, Manitoba, to a baker father and a school teacher mother - their only child. After high school, she lives in Winnipeg to study nursing, and on the weekends where she goes home to Eden, she meets Roy Koop, four years older than her, at a Sunday School class for adults at the Mennonite church. Their relationship moves along steadily, and Hope likes that Roy is such a gentleman and patient, yet she ...more
Ruth Seeley
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Read as part of the 2013 #CanadaReads (Canada Reads goes regional) faceoff, I was terribly disappointed by this book. Have never read any David Bergen before and wasn't encouraged by this one to read more. As the prairie/north regional nominee for the contest, this is sure to be the first book voted off the literary island (I'll update to let you know whether my prediction is right or not).

The writing is pedestrian, the characterization is weak, and the structure is hideously conventional (i.e.
J.T. Therrien
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Yes, once again, I've read a book that I love! I'm either on a quite a streak of reading only good books, or I've completely lost any standard! (Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B)

But I loved The Age of Hope. I've been trying to recall the last time I read a novel written my a man who explored the emotional landscape of a woman as thoroughly as David Bergen has in this novel and I cannot come up anything. Not that there aren't any, I admittedly have a poor memory.

Hope is a w
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a Prairie Story
There is no doubt in my mind that David Bergen has outdone himself with his Age of Hope. If you grew up on the Canadian prairies then you must treat yourself to this truly insightful and honest story of living one's life on the prairies. David Bergen's dialogue strikes many familiar chords. What a hard time it was. To have to had put on such brave faces and to carry on through it all. Character matters and David Bergen has created a great gal with a grand sense of fashion,
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hope is a woman living through years of the Women's Liberation movement in Manitoba. She questions herself, as a woman, a daughter, wife and a mother. She wonders if there's more to life than what she experiences everyday. She loves her children, even though at times she doesn't recognize them (especially during the teenage years), she loves her husband, but is that enough.

I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed this book. For some reason I was expecting something darker. Yes, there are
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it

I think the author hit the mark in creating a portrait of a guilt-riddled 1950’s housewife who feels alienated from her own family, struggling with depression, never feeling like she fits in or is really good enough. Despite her beauty and the comfortable lifestyle she experiences, life is a stuggle. This physcial reality, the setting works as the right contrast to her messy inner life.

I read this in practically one sitting, wondering about Hope Koop as she quietly, uneventfully moves through l
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, canada-reads
The book is beautifully written and I sat and read it all in one afternoon BUT the characters were insipid and Hope was whiny to the point where I wanted to tell her to just smarten up. Her kids are annoying, her husband is a push-over and she mopes through the 60+ years this book shares with us. I can see why it has been picked as a Canada Reads selection for 2013 because of its literary merit but the story was blah. I would not recommend it or vote for it.

ETA Feb 11: first one gone from Canada
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting journey through the life of one woman. Avoided veering into cliche - interesting contradictions existed within Hope. Evocative of the changing times. No stand out moments, but narrative carries you through.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story of Hoop Koop, who in small town Manitoba struggles to keep her sanity and independance in a time when women where expectd to be happy at home raising the kids.
Hope was born in 1930. She was fairly young when she married Roy. They lived in the small Mennonite town of Eden, Manitoba. They had four children, and we follow Hope’s thoughts and feelings throughout her entire adult life, as she marries, becomes a mother to her four children, while Roy is mostly working. She feels lonely and Roy doesn’t understand since she has four kids around. But, Roy loves her; he is a nice man and treats her well. But, sometimes Hope has trouble and needs some help. The ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of Hope, who we first meet in the book when she’s 18. We discover she has (or had) a boyfriend Jimmy, who tragically dies as he flies over her home waving to her from the cockpit. In the first few pages of The Age of Hope, I pictured the protagonist as somewhat of a rebel, perhaps living a vivid life just outside of Winnipeg, who doesn’t conform to the norm (after all her first boyfriend flies a plane and not long after she rejects a marriage proposal by an eligible bachelor plan ...more
Nov 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
David Bergen uses only telling in this story. It made me wonder right away who the narrator was. It might be one of Hope's daughters who near the end of the novel claims to be writing a book only 'slightly based' on her mother's life. But again I can't be sure.

Also Hope as a character is completely uninteresting. At one point she worries she's too passive in life (after being told this by a friend) and I think that's exactly what she is. Bergen might be making the point that women of that era we
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
hmmm....this one is a bit tricky for me, in comparison to the other books for this year's canada reads debates. unlike the other books i have read for the event already (two solitudes and indian horse), the age of hope did not suck me in from page one. bergen did a wonderful job with hope (i am always impressed when an author has success writing in the opposite gender) but it wasn't until i was nearly 2/3 of the way through that things clicked for me. i appreciate quiet stories, internal stories ...more
Lianne Burwell
This is the last of this year's Canada Reads books that I read (yes, well after the contest ended), and I wasn't sure what I expected considering the fact that it was the first book eliminated.

I rather enjoyed it, considering it was a book that didn't really have a plot.

Instead, we basically follow Hope through her life from her teenager days through to her senior citizen days. Her marriage, her motherhood, her bouts of depression, including hospitalization for it with electroshock therapy, wido
Debbie G
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was well written and I believed the characters but.... I found it depressing. The message seems to be women are stuck - always hoping for more or better but stuck in behaviours and relationships that mimic every generation's and every woman's situation. At the end, I was just plain sad about Hope, her life and her hope. If that was the point, then I would say, the author did hid job well.
Leanne Fournier
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning book. Rich in story and magnificently written. Hope's journey through early love, marriage, parenting, mental illness and finally acceptance of self is a wonderful ride. David Bergen is one of my favourite writers. I'm particularly moved by his clear insights into the female psyche. Brilliant!
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. A completely satisfying read.
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
i'm about one-third into the novel and so far am remarkably unimpressed. i'll keep going cause it's my book club's November read, but i'm thinking we might have picked the wrong David Bergen novel to read. oh well.

two-thirds of the way in and i feel like the story is yet to begin. it all feels like preamble .... here's some background information to set the stage before getting into the real 'meat and potatoes' of the story. there is no substance ... nothing to sink my teeth into. unless someth
Melinda Worfolk
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was a little worried when this was suggested for our next book club pick, because it was the first one voted off the island during Canada Reads, and there were so many negative Goodreads reviews. However, I ended up liking it a lot. At the end of the book, Hope's daughter is planning to write a novel with a main character a lot like her mother, but Hope protests, saying that her life did not have a plot. To an extent, this is true, but I enjoyed the book anyway, because David Bergen writes wel ...more
Shannon White
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: localiez-reviews
As reviewed in Localiez magazine (by me)

The Age of Hope by David Bergen chronicles the life of Hope Koop. Raised in western Canada in the 40’s, Hope was an educated woman enrolled in nursing school. However, like many women in that era, Hope abandons her studies to marry and raise a family. As time passes Hope’s life is consumed with domestic duties. She struggles to find her true identity. She ambles through life very passively but continually wrestling with herself to define her own self-worth
Jennifer Rayment
Dec 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Mini Book Review: It's always hard to write a review for a book that you just couldn't get into even-though you appreciate the talents of the author. I don't want to turn people off of the book, but at the same time I cannot lie and say I loved it. Beautifully written, which kept me reading even-though I wasn't really enjoying Hope's story. I just found her wishy washy and the storyline just left me feeling depressed. I also think I had a problem with it because it was based in Winnipeg & ju ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
David Bergen is a a very talented writer so I am not surprised that he could successfully write a book about an ordinary woman, living in a small town, in the middle of Canada. There is really no plot to the novel, however he does touch on some very important issues such as depression and feminism. Although I enjoyed the book, upon reflection I think I would have found the story more gratifying if the author had explored these issues in depth. Or, maybe I was simply expecting more after reading ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book for a book club .... maybe I will like it more following our pending discussion but I don't think that will happen. I am eager to hear why it was picked in the first place.

The book was bereft of any meaningful emotion, or better put, any emotion was stated as a neat and clear fact, detached and dry, and having no effect on the main chacter. She didn't seem to have any real relationships, including those with her husband or children, which made it very difficult to believe.

Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I read a book, I need to feel like I can identify with the character or situation in some way. This book grabbed me from the beginning, and didn't let go until the last page. I identified profoundly with Hope, and I felt as if the author, a male, had some crazy kind of insight into the workings of a woman's mind. In fact, I kept turning back to the author's flap in the back cover to make sure it hadn't been written by a woman.

Another test I have for a book is that after turning the last pag
Elaine Kerys
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
David Bergen eloquently and compassionately captures what life was like for a married woman on the prairies during the fifties and sixties, a time when women like the main character, Hope Platt, were expected to be satisfied with staying at home looking after their husband and their children and yet who began to have their consciousness raised by feminists who believed they should be demanding more from their lives.
Amanda Heffelfinger
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this unfussy account of a woman's life. Born in 1930 Hope Koop is the same generation as my mother, also born in the midwest. There are many similarities to her story, as well to countless others born in this time and place. The coming to terms in the sixties and seventies also rang true. I love Bergen's straightforward style and admire his insights. I recommend this novel strongly, especially to my prairie friends.
Kristin Jimmy
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm torn between loving the book and not really understanding it. I enjoyed experiencing Hope's life in her own words. Her thoughts are similar to what I and other young women experience. I'm sure many mothers can relate to her! I didn't feel as though there was much of a plot or storyline. Still, I was unable to put the book down and I read it in record time. For that reason - 4 stars!
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book almost in one sitting. It is a poignant story of one woman's life. Most of will never achieve infamy, read about ourselves in the news, or see ourselves on tv, but as this story about Hope shows, our lives are no less remarkable. I loved this book!
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The best book I read all year - arguably the best book I have ever read.
The characters are relatable, real and dynamic. There isn't a single flat character in this novel. If you are looking for a read where you will smile, cry and wish that the book had never ended, this is the one.
Kayleigh Felice
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it
The story of an ordinary woman, an ordinary life, intimately and thoughtfully shared.
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Play Book Tag: The Age of Hope / David Bergen. 4 stars 2 16 Oct 21, 2018 03:26PM  
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Born in Port Edward, British Columbia, author David Bergen worked as a writer and high school English teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before gaining a great deal of recognition in Canada when his novel The Time In Between won the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize, one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards. The novel also received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews and was longlisted for the 2007 ...more
“The most difficult part of being a mother was to observe the mistakes of one's children: the foolish loves, the desperate solitude and alienation, the lack of will, the gullibility, the joyous and naive leaps into the unknown, the ignorance, the panicky choices and the utter determination.” 7 likes
“Hope had finally learned to live in the present. Often, when she found herself in a space of tremendous comfort, usually out in nature, or when her children were safe all around her and on the verge of going to bed, she forced herself to take stock. Here you are, Hope, she told herself. What a beautiful moment. You may never again be here at this spot, enjoying the calm. This habit of hers, to acknowledge the immediate and elusive joy of the present, kept her sane.” 2 likes
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