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Open House

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  56,267 ratings  ·  1,793 reviews
In this superb novel by the beloved author of Talk Before Sleep, The Pull of the Moon, and Until the Real Thing Comes Along, a woman re-creates her life after divorce by opening up her house and her heart.
Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccen
Paperback, Oprah's Book Club, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  56,267 ratings  ·  1,793 reviews

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May 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Elizabeth Berg might just be my favorite author for a guaranteed, enjoyable comfort read. I may need to keep one of her books handy at all times. Her stories are true to life, her characters are relatable and I tend to fly through her books and end them with a sense of satisfaction for time well spent. This was no different.

Samantha "Sam" is sailing along in her marriage, keeping a home for her husband and Mothering her son Travis, but when her husband leaves her the boat capsizes and leaves h
Sharon Metcalf
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2017
3.5 stars rounded up

What a delightful little book was Open House by Elizabeth Berg. It's been sitting on my bookshelf for the longest time just waiting to reach the top of my TBR. Samantha Morrow is 42, has an 11 year old son Travis and is happy in her life and her marriage. Unfortunately her husband is not happily married, has moved out and decided they'll be divorced. Sam is devastated and simply doesn't know how to make this new life work. I'm fortunate not to have experienced this first hand
Janice Williams
I read "Open House" by Elizabeth Berg for the first time four years ago. I discovered her books at the library and read all of Berg’s titles available there, then purchased some additional titles as well. I’ve now read all of her books except, oddly considering my profession, her book on writing, which I haven’t finished yet. A few weeks ago, I decided to purchase paperback editions and re-read a few of Berg’s books. I started with Open House.

I’ve just now gone to Berg’s site to grab a short syn
Feb 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2009
Shallow sketches of uninteresting characters paired with the bare outline of a plot whose every development was easily guessed. Had Berg gone any deeper into any of the characters, we might have had a reason to empathize or sympathize with them, to root for them even, but instead we can hardly wait for the book to end. Which doesn't take long, because there's nothing of substance to slow down the page turning. I started the book two weeks before I finished it, because I set it down after the fir ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
Next time I find myself thinking that I need a really easy read, I'll edit my thought to be "I need an easy, BUT STILL WORTHWHILE, read."

Although I hate to love, and love to hate on Oprah and her book club books, they usually are pretty decent. Oprah needs to fire who ever read this book for her, at once!

And the thing I find the most perplexing is that my mom left it in my room at home to read. I mean, she actually read this book and thought to herself "Liz would like this" and then put it in my
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Elizabeth Berg has a way of creating characters who I want to be friends with. They are real and vulnerable and strong. This was a story about Sam, who is heartbroken and lost after her husband moves out. Sam slowly picks herself up with the help of some wonderful friends. Loved this one.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was truly shocked by how much I disliked this book. I've been enjoying Elizabeth Berg's books since I picked up a copy of Say When at my library in 2004-- since then I haven't read one I didn't enjoy a great deal...until now. This story was awkward, weird, and depressing. The characters were very hard to connect with, or even like. Finally, the conflicts were tied up with a neat, tidy, and abrupt bow in the end while glossing over a great deal of pain and trauma. It also had the feel of trying ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I am going to review this book based on the first 3/4 and the last 1/4.

At first, I was pleasantly surprised when I picked this one up. Berg described feelings and characters in such detail that I was eager to read more of her work. I really felt for Sam, the main character, and I loved how Berg added Sam's inner thoughts as an aside of the regular plot. I was debating between 4 and 5 stars because I kept thinking about what would happen at the end and I was really into the book.

The last 1/4, I w
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Britany by: Ginny Tess
Samantha's husband recently left her and her 11 year old son Travis. She expresses herself through Martha Stewart, shopping at Tiffany's and renting out rooms in her house to many different personality types.

The characters throughout the book all teach Samantha something about herself and she re-discovers herself and her strength along the way.

I really enjoyed this one. I listened to it on audiobook and was completely enraptured in the storyline. Beth Fowler was the narrator and she did an incr
Christopher Hicks
Dec 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was a horrible book, I had to give up. I couldn't finish it. The protagonist was so pathetic, I was embarrassed for her and she's a fictional character!! Lol. A complete waste of time!!
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was having trouble settling on a book after so much dense school reading, so I decided to let Oprah guide me. This book is kind of like advanced chick lit. The prose is simple and honest, and somehow very comforting. Ideal if you want to spend a weekend lying on the couch with some sort of snack food, but still sophisticated enough to not induce that "I just watched a marathon of The Bachelor" feeling.
Moses Kilolo
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Was that the end? I flipped a page, like I'd just been doing from the first, and now I realize I have no more pages to flip! Its finished. And I am wondering what an ending should do to me as a reader, leave me wanting more, hanging or just plain bored. Well, this book was certainly entertaining. Even incredibly readable. The perfect kind to take you into another world, wherein you find life true, almost familiar.

After her husband leaves her, Sam wants to recreate her life. First there is the is
J.H. Moncrieff
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Open House is one of my all-time favourite books. This is probably the fifth or sixth time I've read it, and it never gets old.

On its surface, it seems like a familiar story: husband abandons wife, wife is crushed, her circumstances and responsibility to her child force her to pick herself up and eventually embrace life again.

But Berg's writing is heartbreakingly beautiful and poignant, her characters so real and funny and likeable. Berg can move me to tears and make me laugh, often in the same
Tracey Hudson
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
I didn't really care for this book. I understand how devastating a divorce can be, but was thoroughly irritated by how pathetic Sam became (at one point even throwing herself at the very man who abandoned her and her son). I could've really gotten behind this character and cheered for her if she had pulled herself up, quit feeling sorry for herself, and strived to create a new life for herself. She did eventually do that but I still felt that she was letting life happen to her rather than living ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: donate
Just a fun easy read about 42 year old Samantha who must learn to live on her own with her 11 year old son Travis after her husband decides he wants a divorce and leaves her. The book is written with lots of humor and Sam's interactions with her new borders; an elderly woman with a boyfriend, an extremely negative depressed student and a wonderful hair stylist gay man make for an interesting mix of personalities that add to her already challenging situation. However, when she meets KING, her who ...more
Faydra Stratton
Nov 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: a retard
True to form, Elizabeth Berg sucks again.

What do I care about a dumpy, depressed, middle-aged divorcee who spends her evenings reading Oprah book club selections and chowing down chocolate bars?

On the up-side, it made me feel thin and accomplished.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am pretty much crazy over this book💗It is short, it is sweet, it is laugh out loud funny in places, and cry into your Kleenex sad in places-a gem and a joy.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ten. Ten stars. This is an ideal writer for me. Yeah.
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
Elizabeth Berg has created a very real and relatable character experiencing grief and the loss of a marriage after divorce. She is at first in shock, and then we see her experience self-pity, anger, and eventually growth and redemption. It is a journey of self-discovery, the loss of hope and love and the later recovery of self.

Open House is about Samantha (Sam), a wife and mother of one boy, who is a stay at home mom and full time carer for her man and her boy. When her husband leaves her, she f
Mar 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
Samantha is a pathetic, depressing character for 32 of 36 chapters. What a disappointing book!
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really did enjoy this book - it was very readable and fast paced. I cared about the key characters. Alot of what happens in the book felt true to life, and I particularly enjoyed the relationships between Sam and her son, and Sam and her mother. I also thought that Berg used her secondary characters, the people who roomed at Samantha's, quite well. The evolution of the characters was good. The plot was engaging, overall. Some of the imagery is quite stunning.

So why not a full five stars? I've
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
What a fun, crazy book. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to be amused by the antics of a recently separated woman ("Sam") with an 11-year-old son, who takes on a roommate to help pay the mortgage. The subsequent revolving roommates are absolute characters who add immensely to the drama. Sam's preteen son's indifferent, sometimes nasty attitude is right on (I would know). I loved the other characters in the book as well. Sam's long-distance friend, Rita, is blunt and honest and over-the-top bu ...more
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it
This book seemed like an honest look at a woman struggling through a divorce and was a fast read. I But this is the second of Berg’s books that I have read and haven’t really been all that impressed. Some of the writing and content was wonderful and very well written while other parts seemed rushed and undeveloped. There are two significant occurrences at the end of the book that although were life altering changes for Samantha, only garnered a few pages and didn’t really seem resolved. I won’t ...more
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
A satisfying read, great character development and a good pace. The title comes from the idea that if we lifted the roofs off people's houses and saw how they really lived, it'd be a different story from their outward appearances. (copied review) Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem ...more
Dec 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No One
If I could give this book zero stars I most definitely would. I don't know WHAT I was thinking delving into another book on Oprah's book list. I have found very few books on her list that don't make me want to poke myself in the eye with a dull pencil. I listened to this as an audio book and couldn't make it past the 2nd CD (out of 6). The narrator was good, but the story....AAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!

A woman's husband leaves her, she mopes around, cries all the time, begs, pleads and whines to try to get
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
I liked my first Elizabeth berg book so much I decided to go read a second one, and I read what I thought was a popular choice: "Open House." It was an Oprah Book Club selection, and was a bestseller. The first thing I noticed is that it is kind of dated: characters still watch movies via VHS tapes, and people still calculated long distance phone call costs. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the book felt like a historical novel in that sense. I found this book very weird: it seems like Be ...more
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this book, Samantha, a woman in her forties with an eleven year old son, must face her grief, helplessness, and frustration when her husband leaves her. She ends up renting rooms in her house and taking temporary jobs to make ends meet. Through these, she meets characters who help her boost her confidence and build a new life. I love Elizabeth Berg's writing and the way she develops realistic characters, so the only reason I gave the book less than 5 stars was because I felt Samantha was a li ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Oh, of course this isn't anything like I usually read, but sometimes a book can happen at just the right moment. it's pure chick lit. Sam is presented with a divorce she doesn't want, so immediately goes out to Tiffany's and makes $12k worth of purchases. Eye roll, preceded and followed by several pages of eye rolling. I was darned near certain of the ending by about page 71. Still, it was fun, required no thought whatsoever. Sometimes you just have to take a break.
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Well what did you all think? 6 52 Aug 24, 2014 02:21PM  
Oprah's Book Club...: Open House 3 24 Sep 22, 2012 10:27PM  

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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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