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

We Are All Welcome Here

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  10,223 ratings  ·  968 reviews
It is the summer of 1964. In Tupelo, Mississippi, the town of Elvis�s birth, tensions are mounting over civil-rights demonstrations occurring ever more frequently - and violently - across the state. But in Paige Dunn�s small, ramshackle house, there are more immediate concerns. Challenged by the effects of the polio she contracted during her last month of pregnancy, Paige ...more
Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
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 We Are All Welcome Here, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,223 ratings  ·  968 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of We Are All Welcome Here
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Flannery O'Connor's "A Circle in the Fire," Mrs. Pritchard tries to engage Mrs. Cope in a conversation about "that woman that had that baby in that iron lung"(The Complete Stories 175). She justifies her freakish interest in the unusual birth and in the deaths of both mother and baby by mentioning that she and the woman were related --"sixth or seventh cousin[s] by marriage"(175). Later in that conversation, which can more aptly be described as "parallel talking," Mrs. Pritchard delivers one ...more
I haven't read an Elizabeth Berg book in a very long time. I had forgotten that I liked her writing style. She writes good characters. I enjoyed this quick read, and really liked the main character, Diana. She's a young girl whose Mom contracted polio when she was pregnant with her. The polio left her mother a quadriplegic, and she was determined to raise her daughter with the help of her black maid Peacie. It's a coming of age story set in the 1960s during the civil rights movement.
I would rec
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If she doesn't already, Elizabeth Berg should write movies for Lifetime (Television for Idiots). Her other two books I read/listened to starred a divorced woman and a widowed woman. This one stars a woman with polio who can only move her head. I moved mine to roll my eyes and sigh a lot.
Oh, brother, is this schmaltzy. It's narrated by her pre-teen daughter who she's raising in the 1950's with the help of (of course) a Sassy Black Lady, the ultimate insulting stereotype. Also, if you know your G
♥ Sandi ❣
3 stars

A quadriplegic woman, in an iron lung, is being cared for by her 14 yr old daughter and a part time housekeeper. Each of the three have an individual destiny they are trying to achieve.

That is the premise of the book. Berg, as she so often does, builds a compelling story around this premise. It is based on the true story of one of her fans, however changed to create its own story. Berg, in the fashion of Anne Tyler, Anita Shreve or Anna Quindlin, can take the everyday circumstances of li
I wish I had the words to describe Elizabeth Berg's wonderful writing so that everyone would run out and read her. This is not chick-lit, it is more like relationship fiction. Her prose is so descriptive, warm and encompassing yet simple and true. I feel drawn into each character, their feelings, experiences and their relationships. Yet it is not dramatic over the top stuff. The characters are ordinary yet extraordinary.

I have read virtually all her novels but somehow missed this one. She was m
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read many of Elizabeth's Berg's books but this is truly one of her best. Such a beautiful story of a teenaged girl and her Mother who is paralyzed from the neck down from polio. Set in Tupelo Miss in 1964 EB weaves the struggles of that time into the novel effortlessly.

Based on the real life story of a fan who wrote to EB, she took that story and wrote a remarkable fictionalized account of the lives of Pat and Marianne Raming.

Loved every word of it and you will too.
Jeanette (Again)
I listened to the audio book of this one a couple of years ago, which I highly recommend. It's read by the author, and she's quite a skilled dramatist. She really brings all the characters to life. ...more
Rosina Lippi
Domestic drama like this can easily sink into the melodramatic abyss. You've got a quadriplegic woman struggling to keep afloat financially; her husband left her when she came down with polio -- at nine months pregnant -- and the only help he offered was to get the baby adopted. A real peach of a guy.

The daughter (Diana) narrates. She's thirteen at as the novel opens, so this is a coming of age story. Her relationship with her mother, with Peacie, the black woman who has cared for them both sinc
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
This was based on a true story. A fan asked the author to write about her mother. She agreed but only if she could fictionalize it. Paige Dunn gets polio when she is pregnant with her daughter, Diana, and after the baby is born her husband leaves her. She decides that she wants to raise Diana herself. I do believe that Paige could accomplish all that she did but at times the book really seemed improbable. Diana is great taking care of her mom but at other times it surprises me how unsympathetic ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fictional account of teenage Dianna Dunn who lives in Tupelo, Mississippi in the 1960’s with her mother Paige who because of polio is in an iron lung and a black caregiver who makes the living situation possible.
According to the author’s notes she was approached by someone to write this story based on their mother’s life. Knowing this made it quite interesting even though it’s an easy to read and brief story.
3.5,stars Read for Retired Bookworms club. 12/2019
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Berg is incapable of writing a bad book. How I wish she were my neighbor.
May 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is 1964, in Tupelo, Mississippi, and a young mother, Paige Dunn – paralyzed by polio while pregnant with her daughter Diana – lives a life limited by her condition and as a single mother. But because of her inner strength and determination, she is raising her daughter, now entering her teens. Paige’s in-home help (she is a quadriplegic) consists of a young black woman (Peacie) who comes in the daytime, and another helper who comes for part of each night.

Against this backdrop, Peacie and her
Kathy Szydlo
A departure for Elizabeth Berg, in that she bases this novel on a real person, a mother in California who contracts polio in 1951. She delivers her third child while in an iron lung, in which she remains for 3 years. Her husband divorces her and offers to have the children adopted out, which she refuses to allow. She eventually is able to raise her children and earn a college degree, with help from caregivers.
In the novel the main character is an only child, a 13 year old girl, who lives in the
14 year old Diana is used to doing her share of looking after her mother Paige, who has been left badly disabled by polio,with help only from Peacie,the daytime caregiver who Diana has a strained relationship with. Diana and her friend both have dreams of fame and a better life,so when a handsome man moves into the town,both girls want him to date their single mothers. This rivalry leads to a terrible change in the lives of Paige,Diana and Peacie.
This book couldn't make up its mind what it want
What an excellent read We Are All Welcome Here byElizabeth Berg was! I don't usually like coming of age stories, but this one was outstanding. This is a story based on a true story, but I felt Berg's characters were just as real.

It is 1964 and Diana Dunn is a 14-year-old girl trying to live a normal life with her mother Paige who is confined to an iron lung due to polio. Peacie is the African American woman who takes care of both Paige and Diana. This is a wonderful story of facing adversity wit
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Being from Chicago, Elizabeth Berg is a familiar and much loved author. This book, inspired by a true story, was winsome, poignant and inspired. The story centers on a mother, who is a "quad" due to polio and gave birth to her daughter while in an iron lung, and her relationship with her daughter. Set against a backdrop of civil rights struggles in 1964, themes of freedom, voice and acceptance move through the narrative -- giving breath to a story sure to cause one to squirm, pause, reflect, and ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We Are All Welcome Here is one of two Elizabeth Berg books I chose to take on a summer cottage vacation. The previous winter, I discovered Berg and read her most recent novel The Story of Arthur Truluv, which I very much enjoyed. It was a feel good book filled with wonderful and wonderfully described characters. I wanted to read similar joy filled books on my holidays and take a break from the heavier and more difficult books, in terms of content, that I had been reading.

We Are All Welcome Here
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I got the suggestion for this book from an Amazon "Customers who bought this book also bought ..." I believe the suggestion was on the Amazon page for The Help, which I loved and was looking for suggestions of similar books. Elizabeth Berg is always good for a nice, sweet story, one that is light but doesn't insult your intelligence. (Ditto Ann Tyler. They may, in fact, be the same person.)

This book, based on a true story suggested to Berg by a reader, is about a woman who contracts polio while
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is maybe my fifth or sixth Elizabeth Berg novel and, despite the fact that it was missing a characteristically laugh-out-loud moment that I've come to look forward to in Berg's work, this might just be my favorite.

I loved the point of view of the 13 year old, whom I so identified with. I cringe to think of my narcissistic, naive, 13 year old self and I believe Berg captured this painfully unaware stage of life really well. I enjoyed watching the drama of her mother's "romance" unfold from D
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
1964 Mississippi. Paige is determined to raise her daughter herself, even though Paige is paralyzed from the neck down by polio. Her daughter Diana loves her mom deeply, no matter how difficult it is for her to take care of her. It isn't easy to find good caregivers around the clock, especially when they have to be paid out of state disability benefits. Diana has had resentfully to adapt herself to Peacie, which she can do because Peacie's boyfriend LaRue is so nice. Then LaRue devotes himself t ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like all of Elizabeth Berg's stuff. She has a way of describing simple things that make them glimmer somehow. The story is told from a 13 year-old girl's point of view, which she does a terrific job of, and takes place during the civil rights movement. Her mom contracts polio just before her birth, leaving her paralyzed, and her husband leaves her when he finds out she'll always be a quadriplegic. She is an incredibly strong woman, and so is her main caregiver, an African-American woman. There ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing, ho-hum
The Author's Note and the first bit of this book were brilliant -- the end a bit far-fetched, but hopeful. The bits in between okay, but a little like one of those movies on the Hallmark channel. But it was a quick read, written in a memoir style, and an interesting tie in (in my mind) to my recent reading of The Help. It also called to mind An American Summer, by Frank Deford, which I read a while back and liked. I think I'd hoped for more, but at least was able to get some bits and pieces out ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Berg is one of my favorite writers. She doesn't write from the heart - she FEELS from the heart and soul and somehow gets that elusive combination of joy and pain and sorrow and love alive on the page. "We are all welcome here" (a horrible title, I must say) shows off Berg's talent beautifully. The main character's 14-year-old voice is real and true. What she learns through her year of difficulties and discoveries via her amazing invalid mom and their strong, bitter, amazing caretaker ...more
I'd prefer to give this 2.5 stars as I nearly liked it. I loved the writing but I really didn't warm to any of the characters. Diana was a moody teenager who I didn't like at all, Peacie seemed very mean and Paige herself wasn't really involved that much. Its a hard story of a hard life, set in hard times. ...more
Diane Chamberlain
I love Berg's books, and I was particularly drawn to the title of this one. It really sums up the love and compassion in the story. ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a gorgeous, precious tale of sacrificial love in all different forms. Of the tender treatment of racism during the Freedom Summer in MS 60’s— of the author’s love for getting dirty and hanging in there with others who are suffering. I had wandering thots of The Help here and there.

Life is unfair— don’t take no rocket scientist to see this shouted from the mountain tops in our quotidian happenings. But there is beautiful, lovely redemption when we lean on and accept someone leaning against u
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven't read an Elizabeth Berg book, you should do so! This is the third book I have read by this author this year, and this one was just as good and as completely different than any of the others. The book is loosely based on a real person, Paige Dunn, who contracted polio while pregnant with her daughter, Diana. During the summer of 1964, Diana learns that she needs her mother just as much as her mother needs Diana. Once again, Ms. Berg writes an amazing story filled with characters who ...more
“Choosing to live is an act of defiance; a form of heroism.”

This was a quick, easy-to-read, heart warming story. I won’t give the synopsis of the story, you can read the little blurb up ⬆️there.

Based on a true a fan shared with Berg about her own mother and begged her to write about.

I love the resilience of a fiercely loving mom with severe disabilities. I love that she shows up strong and constant for her daughter when parenting might have seemed impossible. Dad leaves...too hard. M
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quick and excellent read.
I have read several of her books and this story may be my favorite so far.
A unique story line and engrossing characters set in interesting times for America.
Loved the fact that this was a fictionalized account of a real story that was submitted to her by a fan.
Plus who doesnt like a story that involves Elvis!
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-owned-kindle
This was a solid 3.5 star rating from me.
The story of a mother who is a paralyzed from the beck down due to polio, and her 12 year old daughter taking place in the early 1960’s. There were parts of this story that I really enjoyed. I liked all of the characters. It just felt rushed and I felt like it lacked some important storyline development.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: This topic has been closed to new comments. We Are All Welcome Here 1 2 Feb 12, 2013 11:44AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • This Magnificent Dappled Sea
  • Redhead by the Side of the Road
  • The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop
  • Heading Out to Wonderful
  • The Children's Blizzard
  • The Book of Lost Friends
  • Their Frozen Graves (Detective Mackenzie Price, #2)
  • Run Rabbit Run (DCI Kett, #5)
  • Silver Threads (Memory House #5)
  • An Unfinished Score
  • Welcome to the Great Mysterious
  • The One-Hour Activist: The 15 Most Powerful Actions You Can Take to Fight for the Issues and Candidates You Care about
  • Breakneck (Kitt Lundgren, #2)
  • The Forgotten Daughter
  • The Adoption Reunion Handbook
  • Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest
  • Living in the Labyrinth: A Personal Journey Through the Maze of Alzheimer's
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
“I wondered what my father had looked like that day, how he had felt, marrying the lively and beautiful girl who was my mother. I wondered what his life was like now. Did he ever think of us? I wanted to hate him, but I couldn't; I didn't know him well enough. Instead, I wondered about him occasionally, with a confused kind of longing. There was a place inside me carved out for him; I didn't want it to be there, but it was. Once, at the hardware store, Brooks had shown me how to use a drill. I'd made a tiny hole that went deep. The place for my father was like that.” 33 likes
“We're all trapped in a body with limitations, even the most able-bodied among us! And we're all guided by minds with limitations of their own. You want to know my philosophy? It's this: Our job, regardless of our bodily circumstances is to rise above what holds us down, and to help others do the same.” 2 likes
More quotes…