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The Pull of the Moon

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  8,910 ratings  ·  912 reviews
Dear Martin, I'm sorry the note I left you was so abrupt. I just wanted you to know I was safe...I won't be back for a while. I'm on a trip. I needed all of a sudden to go, without saying where, because I don't know where. I know this is not like me. I know that. But please believe me, I am safe and I am not crazy. I felt as though if I didn't do this I wouldn't be safe an ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 5th 2004 by Arrow Books (first published 1996)
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Meg I did this more than once in my 20's. It was scary but also enlightening!…moreI did this more than once in my 20's. It was scary but also enlightening!(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,910 ratings  ·  912 reviews

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May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My aunt is a renowned doctor living in Memphis. She was one of the first women breast surgeons and her and her husband founded the Mroz-Baier clinic for breast cancer in Memphis. They are innovators and have made great strides towards the cure of breast cancer. I have a box full of newspaper clippings and pictures of them with prominent people like President Clinton and Barbara Bush. My Aunt is someone who I look up to and admire greatly.

So when she sent this book to me, and told me she had rea
Jun 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbara Mader
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
Meh. I'd give it one star but for the moments of good writing. The protagonist, Nan, seemed to be a navel-gazing, rather shallow bore of a woman who gets mad at her husband, men in general, and the world at large when she is soooo unfairly subjected to aging like everyone else. Yawn.

She runs away from home, and the book consists of letters to her husband and entries in a journal. By the end of the book it seems to me she hasn't changed at all except to take a tiny bit more responsibility for he
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It is a book about a woman who is 50 and takes a road trip by herself. She writes letters home to her husband and keeps a journal. Berg says a lot of things that most women just think about. I would recommend this book to women in their 50's and to younger just married women too. I think it would be an eye-opener to men too.
This is a quick read - I watched it during the Men's Finals at Wimbeldon - and was done before the fifth set started
Oct 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is the first book of Elizabeth Berg's that I was truly disapointed in. I have absolutely adored everything thing else of hers that I have read but this character was irritating. Nan is a spoiled, self centered woman with nothing better to do than spend way too much time feeling sorry for herself. Nan's problem?? She's 50. At 50 yrs old, she doesn't have to work, can spend hundreds of $$ on cosmetics that she promptly throws in the trash, her husband can afford to retire at any time, she has ...more
(3.5) This is my second contemporary novel from Berg. I find her work effortlessly readable. She’s comparable to those other Elizabeths, McCracken and Strout, but also to Alice Hoffman and Anne Tyler. This one reminded me most of Tyler’s Ladder of Years in that both are about a middle-aged woman who takes a break from her marriage to figure out what she wants from life. Nan, “a fifty-year-old runaway,” takes off from her suburban Boston home and drives west, stopping at motels and cabins, eating ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: women, 2007-read
This was a fascinating book! It definitely had a lot of melancholy, but I wasn't filled with despair or depression while reading it. I just wrote on another thing I read recently that lately I require "hope" in my reading. This is the oldest character Berg has written yet that I've read, and although she didn't disappoint, I find myself prefering her younger characters.

Re the beauty shop scene -- I know I would have stood up and shouted, "Brava!" had I been there :)

One of the things I like so mu
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I took this trip myself. I graduated from Law School at 42, and passed the bar in California, then had to take it in Virginia when my husband took a new job. Upon arriving in Virginia I found that my daughter needed more than a part time parent, and my husband's new job had him on the road constantly. Depending on her needs, I consulted part time, and sometimes not at all, as she wound her way through a difficult adolescence. By 2003, she was 19, and vacillating between pulling me too tightly in ...more
Wendy Welch
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
NOW we're talking functional dysfunction! This is such a nice take on the woman-comes-of-age-in-second-childhood theme - which we have about 4,000 of in our bookstore. It takes a gifted writer with some insight to make a plot that stands out.

The biggest difference between Berg's and the also-rans seems to be that in this book, not everything is the man's fault, and she still LOVES her husband. She's just frustrated. And she understands that. Self-aware angst is very refreshing. Also some tongue
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Donna Marshall
I had read Year of Pleasures a few years ago and enjoyed it very much, but for some reason didn’t read anything else by Berg until now. Pull of the Moon made me wonder why. I remembered as I read this latest book that her novels are the sort I gulp down, written with beautifully crafted thoughts in a simple way. I also remembered that she often wrote as if echoing my thoughts.

In Pull of the Moon, this feeling was even more pronounced perhaps because Berg’s character, Nan, is 50 and struggling wi
Kathie Giorgio
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I'm going to tell you a story with this review.
I originally read this book when it was published, back in 1996. I was 36 years old and in a very unhappy marriage. I'd read Berg's previous books and wanted to go see her when she came through town on book tour. My then-husband gave me permission (permission!) to go, but told me I was not to buy the new book.
I listened to Elizabeth read the first pages. Before she was done, I was on my feet, buying the book. And I paid for it, in more ways than
Judy D Collins
THE PULL OF THE MOON is another great book by Elizabeth Berg! Every woman over the age of 50 needs to read this one. I am making my way back through all her audiobooks after reading The Story of Arthur Truluv, coming Nov 21.

Recommend the audiobook (narrated by the author). Outstanding! More to follow.
Ange H
Feb 14, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t really give this much of a chance, but I passionately hated the 5 or so pages that I did read.
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
RATING UPDATE: When I gave five stars to THE PULL OF THE MOON, I was thinking only about my enjoyment of this book. Then today, while I was thinking about several other five-star books, I decided that this Berg novel doesn't belong in the group that I call tier-one books.

Preface: My review of THE PULL OF THE MOON would have been posted Thursday night, but lightning attacked the computer's modem as I was proofreading the review for the fifth time. (Note to self -- never proofread your work more
Paula Cappa
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
If you enjoy plotless meandering books, this one is for you. I’m not keen on them. This story is about a woman in a mid-life crisis, running away on a road trip to malls, diners, motels, trailer parks, main street front porches, K-Mart and coupon shoppers, etc., etc., and the people she encounters there in order to escape her family and her husband. Okay, she’s searching for herself at 50 years old (a little late for coming of age) but the self-indulgent, me, me, me became quite redundant and we ...more
Stephanie Holcomb
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book. Every woman reaching a point in her life that is life changing (Nan turns 50 here, I'm turning 40 in May) really should read this. It's all about how it's ok to be who you are, to understand that, and to rejoice about it--too. It's hard understanding ourselves, as women. Men may not know this, but we don't understand ourselves either.

Written in a series of journal entries and letters to her husband (and one to her daughter) you really feel this woman's inner thoughts as
Kathy Striano-Preece
Dec 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I just couldn’t do it anymore. I could not stand the selfish main character. At 50 and going through a mid life crisis, her biggest problem is that her thighs are big. She insults her husband for aging. How dare he. I am 48 so coming close to 50 and with all the high school and college friends fighting cancer, MS and losing loved ones, I wanted to shake this character into reality.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was going to give this a four as I feel it's not the best of Elizabeth Berg's novels but I realized I'd pay to read anything she wrote, even a grocery list, and so five stars it is. It's a novel told in epistolary form and it's about menopause. I really wish I'd read this five years ago but better late than never. Menopause. It's the pause that dares not speak it's name, I tell you. In our youth obsessed culture, menopause is seen as failure. Elizabeth Berg sees people, does she ever. They may ...more
Havebooks Willread
Wow, Berg gets people, you know it??

The timing of this book is ironic to me. I listened to a podcast featuring a middle-aged lady who told her story of "casting off the restraints of societal expectations" and chasing her "personal truth" to the point that she left her faith and her husband to marry another woman. Then I chatted with a friend who is having some hormonal changes and weepingly asked if she was going crazy. And then I randomly chose this book to read because I can't go to the libra
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, epistolary, 1997
My Original Notes (1997):

She did it again! I LOVE this book and author. I fell right into the cadence of this novel, not wanting to put it down, yet not wanting it to end. This is always the case with Berg's books. I know I'll reread all of her books someday. I enjoyed this one so much and would love for Rod to read it also. I'd love to hear his opinions on it. I loved the way Nan met strangers in strange, distant towns. As a result, I think she met herself.

My Current Thoughts:

I don't think I ev
Donna Craig
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Again, Elizabeth Berg spoke directly into my life. I love that her characters deal with aging and with realistic relationships. In this book, Nan is menopausal and feeling helpless in the face of her changing life and aging body. She takes off on a road trip, during which she records her experiences and discoveries in a journal and in letters to her husband and daughter. I felt like I was on the road with her. Her experiences and realizations were brave and beautiful. For example, in one letter ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was really good and hits so close to home. I don't know if it's comforting or disturbing that so many women feel the same way. What is wrong with our society and gender "roles" that put women into this life? I also wonder how many of us out there would love to go on an adventure like Nan did? I know I would! ...more
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read an Elizabeth Berg book that I haven't fallen into, like the pull of the moon, or the ocean, or I guess, both. I found this one in my library, amazed it had passed me by for ten years. At first I thought I wouldn't like the sequence of letters - one to her husband, then one to herself, as chapters. But I fell into the character's voice, so human and female and truthful and open. Berg is an amazing writer who seems to be talking to her readers, individually, through each of her char ...more
Eliza Victoria
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Nan is fifty. She feels the weight of her body, its sudden changes, the weight of her marriage and her little sadnesses, and she gets up and into her car and drives away. Left behind is her husband Martin, and their daughter, Ruthie, away in college.

This isn’t new. I’ve read many stories of runaway wives and mothers. Runaway rich, ex-hippie wives and mothers, who meet interesting characters during their road trip. Of course. But what makes this novel special for me is Nan herself, with her clear
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book years ago and just read it again. Love it. Love Elizabeth Berg. It's about a 50-year-old woman who takes a road trip to rediscover the girl she used to be. My favorite passage from the book:

Here is a forties photograph of a woman that I found in last Sunday's paper. She is seated on the grass, wearing a suit and a hat, her purse centered in her lap. She is smiling, but her eyes ache, and behind her, I know this, her hands are clenched. She can't relax. She has forgotten the gras
Ginger Hallett
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeanette (Again)
This is an easy-to-read little book I've been working my way through when I want something light and simple. It's about a woman named Nan who calls herself a "fifty-year-old runaway." She is going through menopause, so her hormones and emotions are making her emotional and reflective. She takes off on a road trip, meeting people along the way and staying in little towns. Every day she writes a letter to her husband and also makes a journal entry. The book alternates between the two.
Some of this
Mary H
Apr 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: borrowed, fiction
Nan is going through a mid-life crisis so she takes off on a road trip, leaving her husband and grown daughter behind. She is not tied down by family responsibilities, employment responsibilities, or financial worries so this could have and, in my opinion, should have been the perfect opportunity for her to venture beyond her narrow minded, self-centered self. Instead she spent her time away being narrow minded and self-centered, ultimately deciding that her future happiness would come from tell ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not a fan of this book. In fact the more I think about the message the more upset I become. It's about a womans mid-life crisis and what she does about it. While I can empathize with a few things, overall I thought it was depressing. I don't think my life or my relationship is like that, and I desperately hope it doesn't become that way. I found myself wanting to just shake her out of the victim role and tell her to suck it up. There are some things you have to deal with and there are some thing ...more
Angie Palau
Dec 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Bit too much drivel for me.

I thought the premise was interesting, and I appreciated getting to learn the word "Epistilary"... but other than that, this book left me completely unmoved. Maybe when I'm going through my "life's change" this book will resonate more... but I doubt it. I thought the writing was mediocre and the character not particularly likeable or engaging. If it weren't for the lively mocking we gave it in book club, I probably wouldn't even have liked it one-star's-worth.
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Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY Award in 1996. The w ...more

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