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The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation
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The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  4,783 ratings  ·  891 reviews
Exhilarating short stories of women breaking free from convention
Every now and then, right in the middle of an ordinary day, a woman rebels, kicks up her heels, and commits a small act of liberation.
What would you do, if you were going to break out and away? Go AWOL from Weight Watchers and spend an entire day eating every single thing you want-and then some? Start a dat
Hardcover, 242 pages
Published April 21st 2008 by Random House (NY) (first published January 1st 2008)
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Aug 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Reading ELizabeth Berg is kinda like eating apple pie a la mode: while you enjoy the flavor and guilty pleasure and rationalize that because it has apples it is nutritious, deep down inside you know you should be partaking of something more substantive. Nonetheless, we all need some dessert sometimes. This collection of short stories made me laugh out loud - particularly the title story, which should be read by anyone who ever tried to diet or "cut back" or went to Weight Watchers. (And there is ...more
Apr 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Toni
Shelves: general-fiction
I am not a fan of the short story genre. I don't like becoming emotionally invested in characters only to have them leave me a few pages later. (No, I do not have abandonment issues.) But, heck, I'd read the back of a cereal box if it was written by Elizabeth Berg. Fortunately, I was not disappointed and only a bit miffed at the brief time spent with her characters.

This is most definitely a women's book but it is NOT chick lit. The collection of stories are not light, romantic fluff. Rather they
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
She always writes good stuff and this collection of short stories is no different.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There are thirteen stories in this collection. I enjoyed reading all of them. My two favorites were:

Rain, about a guy who gives up the rat race to live a simpler life.

The Only One of Millions Just Like Him, about letting go of a beloved elderly dog.

With Elizabeth Berg, I always find something to enjoy, even in the stories I can't relate to. She makes observations about humans and life in general that are amusing or profound or both. You think to yourself, "Oh, it's sappy and sentimental." But th
Dotty Schmid
May 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Dotty Schmid by: Joanna Bell-Schmid
Short stories do not thrill me and this is the first book where I got through all of them.
All in all, a bit depressing. All of the stories are about overweight, aging women that are trying to feel alright about themselves. There were moments of goodness but I do not recommend.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book read for visit by Elizabeth Berg and for book discussion group

I adore Elizabeth Berg! She has been to our library twice. She is an engaging speaker and an all-around fun person!

I usually don't read short stories so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this collection. I enjoyed each and every story. First of all, who can resist a story called, "The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted"? Ms. Berg writes characters that each of us know; her characters speak and act like real people.

I'm now waiting p
Jane Stewart
My feelings while reading this: sadness, regret, loneliness, loss of loved ones, bittersweet reminiscing, pleasant comfort.

This book has about thirteen short stories. One has stories within a story. Each story is about different, unrelated people. Almost every story has sadness – in different ways. In most stories someone is dying or will die of cancer, leukemia, brain tumor, or similar. In one story, someone regrets that she was cruel and mean to a date years ago. He now has
I enjoyed listening to the author read these stories. As with most short story collections, some of the stories were better than others. In particular, I enjoyed the story that was a letter reading a recipe for making apple pie and the story about Michael. I think I enjoyed listening to these stories more than I would have liked reading them -- the author reading them aloud made them feel like a conversation with a favorite aunt or an old friend.

I also was glad to hear a shout out to Nora Ephron
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Berg has an uncanny ability to draw you so deeply into her character’s lives that you feel as if you know them. I often found myself smiling as I read about them, loving how Michael (in the story “Rain”) left his high-powered city job for life in the county. Berg describes everything from how he built his home, to the spaghetti sauce his friends made using the riches in his garden, to the minute ways in which Michael changed when the uncertainties of life finally took their toll. Berg’s stories ...more
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club-books, meh
first impression: i am just annoyed at what seems to be blatant pandering to female readers: the bright pink color scheme, the diet themed title, etc. (i do realize however that neither of those things may have been the choice of the author.) so far, the writing is confessional, sometimes amusing, although i don't find such an obsession with weight watchers that hilarious.

ok, i didn't finish this book in time for the book club meeting (highly unusual. in opposite world.) but my fellow book club
Aug 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: women
A collection of short stories about women at various stages in their lives. Many of the stories dealt with how we as women, tend to deny ourselves things we would like because we are so busy taking care of others. 3 stories in particular stand out in my memory and I will mention them below.

"The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted" and "The Day I Ate Nothing I Wanted": In a culture so obsessed with appearances women are often so concerned with their weight and are constantly dieting or trying to loose we
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is a series of shorts (both fiction and non) that revolve around women and their small acts of personal liberation. Some stories were okay while others were a real gem.

I especially liked the first short of Berg's day where she ate whatever she wanted. I cheered her the whole way through (even to her next day weigh-in at Weight Watchers.) If you don't really like Berg's writing style, the book is still worth a pick up if ONLY to read this first story. The other story that was wonderful
Evanston Public  Library
Berg’s wonderful short stories—witty and droll yet expressing a knowing sympathy for her characters—are perfectly crafted gems of self discovery, change, and renewal. The stories contain a broad range of personalities and situations: the pre-teen on the edge of puberty whose self image as a cute girl is devastatingly changed when she overhears a cousin call her a fatty; the older couple reduced to ridiculous displays grief and wondering if life’s worth living when their aged dog is dying; a reci ...more
Joan Bannan
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: will-read-again
Elizabeth Berg is a great writer. I'm looking forward to reading more by her.

I usually prefer full-length novels, but these short stories were enjoyable. Elizabeth has great insight into the emotional struggles with weight and aging. Though not captivating like a novel, it was very entertaining.

I read this for my book club. I'm looking forward to a lively discussion.
J. Dru
Jun 11, 2009 rated it liked it
These short stories mostly center around characters in their late fifties - sixties who pride themselves on homemade cooking and living the prime of their lives in a much simpler time. Maybe by sheer proxy of my age (late 20's), I found them to be charming and sassy, but also a little sad. They seemed to carry around great sorrow with them that shone through even happy or silly moments. They lived full lives: husband, children, grandchildren and are now at an age where they feel they can finally ...more
Kathy McC
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Some of the stories resonated with me and some did not.

This quotation is for Kourtney, "Hot dogs? Well, I live in Chicago, where we know what hot dogs are and how they should be served. Portillo's hot dogs are good, and their tamales, oh my!"

This was my favorite from the book, "It's like you live your life opening doors. One after the other. You open a door onto a hallway, which leads to another door, which leads to another hallway. But then one day you open a door and it's to a closet. It do
Annette Ahrens
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I guess I'm learning to love short stories. I reserved this title because I read Berg's "Dream When You're Feeling Blue" and absolutely loved it. This had wonderful stories. Another reviewer wrote that Berg writes about ordinary people doing ordinary things and this hits it right on. She writes with such an easy, flowing manner and it is such a pleasure to read.
Nicole Venere
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
It was a ton of individual stories told from the woman's perspective. Situations we have all (as women) been in. I actually listened to this book. The author is the narrator and the voice of the book. The name of the book is deceiving -- only a few parts were about food but by Gosh were those parts side-splitting funny. Awesome beach read/listen.
Holy crud, I'm only five minutes in and I really REALLY want donuts. I don't even LIKE donuts. But I want them. I think I love this woman.

A few days later...
While I don't love every single story, "How to make an apple pie" is so charming, I find I'm sitting at my desk grinning like some ridiculous moron and I'm even a tad bit teary. I absolutely love this story. And I wish I had some apples; I'd make a pie when I got home.

And now I'm done. I have finished this audiobook, read by the author.

As wi
Genevieve Dazet
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Subtitle: And Other Small Acts of Liberation

I listened to this on audio, and it was a pleasant enough collection. I have mixed feelings about the author reading his or her own work. Sometimes it's great, but most of the time I understand why actors are hired for the job. In this case, Berg had a surprisingly annoying voice (I had 'pictured' it as so nice!), but not so irritating that I had to stop listening.

I was hoping this was a series of weight-related fictional anecdotes, but only two focuse
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I will with guilt, admit I quickly grabbed this book as my son and I were leaving the library 5 min. before closing and I solely based it on well, the title... The Day I Ate Whatever I wanted. Hello?? And the picture caught my attention.

I've been having a stressful time in my life and struggling to read a couple different books so this book of short stories was perfect timing for me. Some were light, some were sad but most had a steady flow of humor which I really enjoyed and breezed through thi
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Couldn't figure how do do a half a star - as in 2 and a half - so I went with 2. That being said, some of the stories in this book were fun, enchanting and/or sad. Others were totally annoying and made me crazy. But now that I've finished I couldn't give you the names of any of the stories, or what the plot of a particular story was. Sad. Easy to see that this book just didn't stay with me, it was something to read (and was for my book discussion group) so I read it. I doubt that I would suggest ...more
Jun 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
While there were a handful of short stories worth reading in this collection, I found most to be sad. To think that these were some of the things women did to "liberate themselves and breakout" (as the author puts it) is heartbreaking. Their actions possessed no joy it for most of them, only regret. At best these women received a small measure of enlighenment. What is the point of "breaking out" and doing something you consider extreme or at least out of the norm in your life if it's not enjoyab ...more
Janice Williams
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love these short stories by Elizabeth Berg. I'd read this book a while ago and decided to re-read it. All of the stories have some relationship to food, some more, some less. I love the story entitled "How to Make an Apple Pie." This collection shows Berg at her writerly best as she explores the personalities of her characters, how they feel and think and how these very individual aspects of a person's life can also be universally shared with others. It is that private/common aspect of human e ...more
Dear Elizabeth Berg,
It's not you. It's me.

I love Elizabeth Berg's writing, but, try as I might, it's a rare short story that appeals to me. I guess I want more depth. If I'm going to invest in a character, I want the character there for more than a few pages. That was my problem with this book. The writing was up to Berg standards, but I had my typical short-story-disappointment to contend with. Even though the book came highly recommended, and even though there were phrases an
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audio
These are, as I recall, short stories, but I can't remember anything about them. Berg read from this at her Big Read appearance in the spring of 2008 for Dream When You're Feeling Blue . I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Berg. Some things I really like (such as Durable Goods ) but many of her others just seem so elitist: women with enough money and financial security to "find themselves." Maybe I'm just jealous.
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Berg could write out a grocery list and make it sound like nothing I have ever read before. Her prose astounds me. She is able to take mundane events and turn them into literary masterpieces. Who would think that a trip to Dunkin Donuts or the recipe for an Apple Pie could sound so amazingly beautiful and authentic!?!
May 06, 2008 rated it liked it
i've never read Berg before, so these stories were a pleasant surprise. she has a wonderful simplicity, and creates universal truths out of the most ordinary of situations. plus she's hilarious.
Aug 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Either thought this below her standards or else the topic simply didn't interest me. Did not finish reading.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
15 July 2018 How to Bake an Apple Pie is so pointless and annoying that it makes me want to punch something.

14 July 2018 I have hit a wall with these stories; where are the small acts of liberation? Each story is focused so heavily on food that they feel laden with the judgement of good food vs. bad food.

The overall tone of the book is bittersweet. I fully understand because what lies beneath these stories is the simple fact that women over a certain age are no longer hot. In fact, we are mostl
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Greenville Public...: The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted 1 8 Jan 23, 2014 09:34AM  
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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
“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” 27 likes
“Do you think that people ever really do believe they will die, that the world will just go along as always without them? I wonder if we aren't all a little surprised at the moment of crossover, if we don't look back over our shoulders saying, Now hold on.” 14 likes
More quotes…