Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Say When” as Want to Read:
Say When
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Say When

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  5,975 ratings  ·  443 reviews
When is a marriage worth saving, and when is it worth letting go?'He felt his stomach tighten, his heart begin to race. The coffeemaker beeped, signalling its readiness, and Ellen got up and poured two mugs. She set one in front of Griffin, one in front of herself. Griffin watched the steam rise up and curl back on itself, then dissipate. He said quietly, "I'm not going an ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by Random House (first published 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Say When, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Say When

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,975 ratings  ·  443 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Say When
Linda Hart
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the 3rd book I've read by Ms. Berg, and I've really enjoyed them all, but did not love this. Written from the betrayed husband's point of view, this novel is a tender reflection on the joys and frustrations of marriage and it rings true to what many couples experience as their relationships age. The story confronts the reader with the questions: When is love not enough? When is it not worth saving? What happens when love goes untended? Why is it so hard to let love die? These are serious ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A refreshingly different love story told from a man’s perspective, of his feelings of love, loss, rejection and hope when his wife wanted a divorce.

Initially, I was all for Griffin, especially after reading a part of the book on what he values in a marriage: “He was a man who loved the calm normalcy of a long-term relationship. Romance was all right, but what really appealed to him was comfort. He liked the simple safety of marriage, the relief in it, the ease with which you could flop down on
Alice Bola
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Every once in a while I need to read a novel that speaks to my soul. Sometimes one comes about happenstance (personally, I love those books); other times I know exactly where to find them. Elizabeth Berg is that kind of storyteller.

A surprise visit to the library last Saturday brought me face to face with a section of Elizabeth Berg novels. After perusing the titles I picked one, open it and read the inner sleeve. I didn’t even get through the first paragraph before promptly closing the book an
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book poured out like sticky, sappy maple syrup. A tale about a couple separating and coming back together that was crammed with enough filler to stuff a turkey.
Sep 30, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was the worst Elizabeth Berg novel I have ever read. I hated all the characters, thought they were pathetic and sniveley. Sorta surprised I made it through the whole thing. Not recommended.
Lois Duncan
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Positive comments: (1) Elizabeth Berg writes well; (2)she tackled the difficult challenge of writing a woman's novel from a male viewpoint and pulled it off.

Negative comments: I found the book boring. It wasn't really a STORY -- just a situation. I couldn't relate to either the husband or wife. The husband was so obsessed with not having his domestic routines disturbed that he wasn't willing or able to move forward when his wife left him. The wife didn't know who she was or what she wanted. Neit
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This book is still my favorite book. It's my favorite by Elizabeth Berg, but also one of my two favorite books of all time. Despite having read this book four times now, I am still drawn to it.

Every time I read it, I love Griffin and despise Ellen. I don't know if I just forget what happens in the book, or if I always hope it will go differently, but every time I read it, I continuously think about what's coming up and how it ends and every time I am wrong. I am still surprised by the ending, wh
Travis Neighbor Ward
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book -- twice. When I just finished it, it made me cry. That's say a lot because I don't often cry after finishing a book! The reason it moved me so much is that the author succeeded at creating a well-rounded protagonist who is deeply flawed, has a deep heart, and wants to change. Griffin is a married man who is in love with his wife, but doesn't know how to listen to her. On the first page of the novel, he discovers she's having an affair with her car mechanic. Th ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Berg has become one of my go to guaranteed calming and healing authors. Her plots are gentle with a slice of life brilliance, which I have developed a love for. Finishing one of her books is just like the end of a yoga session, you feel spent yet revived at the same time. Because of this quality I find them hard to rate in the rewarding stars kind of way, each of her books read so far have given me an absolutely thats just what its like moment! These moments are precious and reassuring ...more
Sheryl Sorrentino
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think this is the first time I ever read an Elizabeth Berg novel told from a male point of view. She did a skillful and authentic job with her protagonist, Frank Griffin--with the possible exception of his near-saintly constraint and stoicism. Like every other Elizabeth Berg novel I have read, Say When is a well-paced, relatable, easy read; light yet in equal measure substantial. I found the ending to be a somewhat simplistic attempt to gift wrap a hitherto complex situation. But endings are a ...more
Mar 15, 2010 marked it as tried-it-and-gave-up
I read about 50-70 pages before I realized I despised both main characters and didn't care if they split up, stayed together, burst into flame, mutated into aliens, explored Aztec ruins, disabled mines, spun gold from hay, etc. ...more
Jun 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carolyn Agosta
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I missed this book when it first came out; usually I catch all of Elizabeth Berg's books, but somehow I missed Say When until now.

Although I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Berg, starting with Joy School, in recent years there were a few of her books that somewhat disappointed me. They felt rushed, as though she was on a deadline and had to hurry up the ending. This book, however, felt beautifully complete. The characters learned things, they had realizations and went through changes
Amanda Westmont
I didn't enjoy this book at all. I thought the characters lacked conviction. There was no plot. And the writing itself was just... okay. I mean, I can really get behind plot-less narrative fiction if it's OUTSTANDINGLY well-written and it makes me wish I'd written it myself.

But this was just... Bleh. Completely forgettable. It didn't make me laugh or cry or even think very hard about marriage. I guess I just didn't really BELIEVE it. It wasn't real enough.

I'll give Berg another shot, though, sin
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm slowly reading my way through Berg's books. This is about a man who thinks he has a good marriage until the day his wife announces that she wants a divorce. Sounds like a tired subject, but I really liked the thoughtful and gracious way the guy handled the separation. He seemed so wise and calm, you just really hoped his wife likes him as much as the reader. There were lots of questions: When is a relationship worth saving? Do a man and woman define betrayal differently? How honest are we wi ...more
Lexie Huber
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit
There so many things I disliked about this book that the thought of listing them all makes me tired. I can't believe I wasted so much time reading it just for it to end in the cowardly way. Ugh! Life and especially relationships are messy. If you are going to write about it being messy than get your hands dirty, don't bundle it all up with feel-good BS at the end.

Skip this book.
Lisa H
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. A breakup of a marriage, written from a husband's point of view. Was so touched by his willingness to fight for his marriage. I love everything by Elizabeth Berg, but this is one of her best.

Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
This book gets 4 stars for getting me out of a book rut, which may have been caused by medication but that's not the point here. Elizabeth Berg is not one of my go to writers but I find myself checking out her books from time to time, just reading the summaries and then deciding that it's too twee for me. But for some reason this one grabbed my attention (art imitating life and vice versa) and the will they won't they kept me wanting to read more.

Told through Frank (Griffin)'s eyes we find out
Elizabeth Havey
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading this novel was like sitting down with an old friend. Many of your have read Elizabeth Berg: Range of Motion, The Pull of the Moon, Open House. I had forgotten how she pulls you into the home, the neighborhood, the city where events take place. How she draws the characters so vividly on the page, that you want to call them on the phone, make suggestions as to how they might solve their problems. Ellen has decided that she needs to move out of the home where she and Griffin have been raisi ...more
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seriously can't decide whether to give it two or three stars.

This was an OK story. I did like reading the male point of view, but then it again it was always in the back of my mind that it was written by a woman.
Ellen just annoyed me, seriously, she doesn't like it because her husband always washes the dishes he uses and puts them away, who in the hell is going to complain about that?
Griffin was such a softy! Blech! I understand his concern for Zoe, but geez how can he still be so in love wi
Nadine Jones
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. When I first started reading it, I didn't want to like it, because it struck me as trite, feel-good, chick-lit. And I don't like trite feel-good anything. But it's more than that. It does not manipulate the reader's emotions (which is what trite, feel-good lit does), it simply, and accurately, depicts the characters' emotions. This is a startlingly accurate portrayal of a marriage falling apart in the wake of infidelity. It is wonderfully even, it does not judge the betrayed n ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Say when by "The Fray"
Say when And my own two hands will comfort you
Say when And my own two arms will carry you
Come close and then even closer We bring it in but we go no further
We're separate Two ghosts in one mirror,
Later on if it turns to chaos, hurricane coming all around us
See the crack, pull it back from the window, you stay low
Come across you lost and broken You're coming to but you're slow in waking
You start to shake You still haven't spoken, what happened
They're coming back and you ju
Sep 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
My favorite of Berg's, so far. ...more
Joan Horkey
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A emotional look at what happens when a married couple decides to separate.
Donna Craig
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although it has fewer than 300 pages, I had to read this book slowly. For me, the emotions were really heavy-duty. Written from the male POV (unusual for the story of a separation), this book tells the story of a married couple’s break-up. Oh, I was so overwhelmed at times. The melancholy still lingers, but the story leaves you with hope. Like in all of Berg’s books, I related deeply to the characters in spite of how different they are from me. I loved the quirky personalities. I love her books. ...more
Denise Westlake
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm thinking it may be impossible that I wouldn't LOVE everthing Berg writes. ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Berg writes about everyday life/people in a way that will wake you back up into living with eyes a little more open.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Frank Griffin's comfortable life is rocked when his wife Ellen announces that she wants a divorce. When she asks him to move out, he refuses, and the two agree to live in the same house as roommates. This novel explores their relationship and suggests that it's too easy to take another for granted. One of the differences in this novel from other Elizabeth Berg novels is that the story is told from a male point of view. As in other novels, both characters discover truths about themselves that lea ...more
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been through an ugly divorce, I wasn't sure how I would react to this story of a broken marriage told by a man's point of view. I ended up liking the book. Although he was very bitter at first, I grew to appreciate and enjoy the male narrator. His sense of humor carried the book to a different level. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • My Name is Anton
  • Light on Snow
  • Strange Fits of Passion
  • Stygg Havn
  • The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance
  • If She Dies
  • The Day I Killed James
  • Celestial Navigation
  • Lie, Lie Again
  • The Lives of Edie Pritchard
  • Noah's Compass
  • The Guest Book (Sunset Beach #2)
  • The Marriage Pact
  • Payback
  • Long Way Home
  • These Women
  • Maud's Circus
  • Stella Bain
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the week. To create our...
28 likes · 4 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Now he understood. After a while, pain simply stopped. It was as though your mind was able to create a firewall beyond which it would not let you venture. You had to have a break from your anguish, or you'd go crazy. It was the psychological equivalent to fainting when physical pain became overbearing.” 5 likes
“Did she ever think of that, that things experienced in ways different from hers were equally valuable? That the way that he chose to love her was, in fact, loving her, that the face of love depended on the person giving it?” 4 likes
More quotes…