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Durable Goods (Katie Nash, #1)
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Durable Goods

(Katie Nash #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  8,777 ratings  ·  513 reviews
On the hot Texas army base she calls home, Katie spends the lazy days of her summer waiting: waiting to grow up; waiting for Dickie Mack to fall in love with her; waiting for her breasts to blossom; waiting for the beatings to stop. Since their mother died, Katie and her older sister, Diane, have struggled to understand their increasingly distant, often violent father. ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 13th 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published January 6th 1993)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  8,777 ratings  ·  513 reviews

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May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this quite awhile ago when I was on an Elizabeth Berg binge. I checked out every book of hers from the library and went to town. I love her books. TALK BEFORE SLEEP is one of my very favorite books.

So many stick out for me but I really liked this one. Although like most of her books, it was very emotional. I have been meaning to read the other book(s) in this series for a long time. At just over 200 pages it's a very quick read. A wonderful coming of age story that is apparently loosely
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I adore anything and everything written by Elizabeth Berg. She puts words to feelings, creating a tangible description of what we feel at so many times in our lives. This book so sweetly describes a time of change, most of it unwelcome, in the life of a young girl in the south. Follow up with Joy School as it takes the story further.
Elizabeth Berg is a remarkable author! I hope you'll love her works as much as I do!
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This author has a real talent for rendering the small details of girlhood. The first in a series of novels focusing on the same character (the others are Joy School and True to Form), Durable Goods introduces Katie, an army brat growing up in TX. Her mother has recently passed away, her father is cold and occasionally abusive, and her sister is itching to get out of town and away from their dad.
Yet, for me, the heart of the book is not the family drama, but the spot-on descriptions of the
Mar 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: xx, ya
It’s rare that a movie sequel surpasses the original. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Terminator 2 and Before Sunset. It’s even rarer that a book sequel is better than the original because I think most authors pour most of their creativity into the first one and then half-ass the others. Or am I just being cynical?

Anyway, I prefer Joy School, the second book in this series. I read it first and loved it without realizing it was a sequel. The writing was so sweet and fresh and
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
There were times when I liked her writing style- I loved the way she described things sometimes- my senses were awakened and I could almost touch, see, hear, taste, and smell with Katie- but the story seemed unfinished somehow- like there was something missing or something not said...I don't know how to describe it except an elephant in the room feeling the whole time I was reading.
It just felt like the author was meandering around sometimes- I don't know if there was a point or not- the story
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just under 200 pages, this book is delicious. It's a semi-autobiographical book based loosely on her dad and in Berg's words, she said she wanted to write about what is was like being an army brat. She said she learned alot of what her feelings for her father were when writing this book.

The book is told from a 12 year old girl's perspective. It was a one sitting book for me. I couldn't put it down. The words on the pages were so lovely. I wanted more. Berg has such a way with words. Love her
I believe this was Elizabeth Berg's first novel. In very spare, beautiful prose, she tells the story through the eyes of twelve-year-old Katie. Katie's mother has recently died of cancer. Katie is left to navigate the moods of her distant and sometimes abusive father, while at the same time adolescing, trying to figure out how to become a young woman and fit in with her peers. Berg does a wonderful job of expressing Katie's feelings and worries, as well as her wishful thinking that her mother ...more
Sonja Yoerg
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: character-driven, wow
One of the best books I've read in a long time. Berg's tone is precise and she handles a difficult topic with grace and compassion, never veering toward the maudlin. If someone asked me for an example of fine, clear, deft writing that is never self-conscious, I would hold up this book and wave it around madly. Off to read more Elizabeth Berg.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I love stories about family.
I read this in one day.
Then I read it again the next day.
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read Durable Goods after reading its sequel Joy School. I just love the narrator and main character Katie; such an authentic voice of a 12-year-old girl growing up in the time of transistor radios and drive-in movies and muscle cars. I find it relaxing the way the author shows the time and place of the novel - there are no computers or cell phones or DVD's - by using the "technology" that was there at the time. I hear "transistor radio" and I remember the radio we had with the leather cover ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I like Elizabeth Berg's style of writing but I can't stand the way she finishes, or should I say doesn't finish, her novels. This is the third book of her's that I have read but I find I am disappointed that these stories don't have better endings. She seems to like to leave the reader hanging in mid air. I kind of feel like she ran out of ideas or just decided she was done. He books are easy to read and her characters draw you in but then you are left wondering, and I don't mean in a good way. ...more
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another late to the party book. Picked it off of my library staff pick shelf. I see now it's first in a series, that Berg's main character was so loved that fans asked for more, and that Berg feels this is her best book. It is a sweet summer read, with lovely writing and some quietly profound ideas. The plot's been done (daughter in rural Texas with abusive father), but Berg's insights and prose make this worth reading. Loved her sentiment at the end, that her abusive father was "only what I was ...more
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
This was a pleasing enough read but lacking a bit in substance.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I find it interesting that this was Elizabeth Berg’s favorite book she’d written prior to “The Story of Arthur Truluv.” I loved Arthur Truluv, but this book...not so much. It is the story of Katie, a young girl navigating life with her sister and her widowed, abusive father. I struggled with getting into any of the characters in this book and really didn’t find it the compelling read I was expecting.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bittersweet introduction to a series - Katie Nash by Elizabeth Berg. The story of growing up with huge losses and tender relationships. The struggle of loving and respecting authority yet learning to deal with consequences when those we love disappoint. The author does a beautiful job of creating the characters and has the reader "love and hate" particular individuals throughout the story. My heart is heavy for Katie as she faces each new day and situation.
Well written, Elizabeth!
Kevin Kern
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teens-ya
This is an awesome book, about a preteen in the '60s. Her mother has died and her father has issues. It is 1 of 3 books and I originally read it about 15 years ago. There are 2 more in the series and the author captures her characters perfectly. I will get the other 2 books from thrift books, read and then share them with a pastor who works with youth. Teens need to understand that life wasn't that different for us in the old days. Certain aspects, yes, but not the hurt and anguish that ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: current-lit
This was a really quick read, although it helped that I read a bunch of it on the beach before I could put it on here. So it probably was more like 4 days to read.

I've read other Elizabeth Berg books and seen the author speak several times so I really wanted to read her first published book. It was good, but not one of my favorites. It's interesting to look at an author's first work and see how far he/she has come. Her writing was good in 1993 but has become more rich and developed in her later
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Berg's narrative voice is so perfect and expressive. The oddity of the characters is described with exquisite pathos. It moved me to read in the questions and answers how she says that her stories are most often about compassion and friendship.
I had the marvelous fortune of meeting her briefly at a book fair earlier this month and I have her autograph in my brand new copy of "Tapestry of Fortunes."
Parts of Katie's story, like the slightly perverse influence Cherylanne has over her, disturb me,
Oct 27, 2010 rated it liked it
durable goods is about a girl who is growing up beside her sister and father. Her mom died some time ago and her father works for the military; he is very strict. This girl can't do anything she wants because her father is always after them and looking what their doing. They can barely talk to him because if they say something wrong he beats them up or talks to them really bad. She wants a boyfriend and is in love with her sister's boyfriend. Her sister is always sneaking out but never gets ...more
Theresa Alan
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Great writing, enviable talent. I will read more of her books.

In Durable Goods, twelve-year-old Katie’s mother has died, and we meet Katie when she’s hiding under her bed to avoid the wrath of her father. As an Army kid, moving around constantly, Katie has unique insights on saying goodbye to friends and a home she just started feeling comfortable in. Her friend Cherylanne, who is obsessed with fashion magazine’s tips for looking good, is a fun supporting character—timing her
Cathryn Conroy
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, the angst of growing up female! No matter how much things change, one thing stays the same: Being a 12-year-old girl is rife with the chaos of feelings. Author Elizabeth Berg tells the story of Katie Nash, who is on the cusp of adolescence, in such a compassionate and authentic way that every woman will recall that tender and emotionally-filled time of life.

Living in the early 1960s on an Army base in Texas, Katie has an 18-year-old sister, a mother who has recently died of cancer and an
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
The voice of the precocious 12 year old narrator is "spot on." She loved and admired her older sister and longed for her life to change. She was longing to grow up. At some points the tone reminded me of "I Am 16 Going on 17." Katie's mother had died that year. As most of you know, I'm a sucker for "dead parents" stories. Elizabeth Berg is able to give voice to the inexpressible and that is what I love about her writing. This is not a sad story; it just brought me back to when I was 12.
Aug 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Angela
Elizabeth Berg's first novel and my favorite book. The heroine, 12-year-old Katie Nash, who lives on an army base with her strict father and older sister, has a uniquely compelling voice. She narrates the story in a conversational tone, sharing her hopes and dreams as well as her fears as she tries to adjust to life without her mother, who has recently died. Katie also appears in Joy School and True to Form.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a quick read, only 99 pages, but it's really good. I have read several books by Elizabeth Berg and I really enjoy them. She writes beautifully touching books that causes the reader to think long after the book is finished. This particular book is about the frustration and uncertainty of growing up, understanding changes and being able to find your place when the dust settles.
Beth Bonini
May 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked the spunky young narrator in this book. Berg created a distinctive character in Katie, but the 12 year old voice seemed authentic. A great period piece: something about the time/place (late 1950s? on an army base in Texas)really suited the pivotal moment between childhood and adolescence.

Berg's writing is particularly poetic, yet simple, in this novel.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, cadet-blue
Durable goods was a good (nor wonderful) and insightful book that I read in 1 sitting. The chapters are short and engaging which made me keeping at it. Overall the story was good and even though the heroine was 12 years old I could relate to some aspects of her inner life. I might continue the series. 3.5 stars
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found me a new author to love, Elizabeth Berg! When I bought this book from some second hand book shop, I didn't realize it was a three book series, and I don't have the other 2. Waaah! Under 200 pages, this book was a fast read, and read within 2 days.

Katie is 12 years old. Her mother recently died of cancer (Ugh! This is my second book in a row with the mother dying of cancer!) though it happened before the book/story begins. There's Katie's 18 year old sister, Diane and their abusive
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng471-part2
Twelve-year-old Katie lives with her military father, rebellious older sister, and the constant hope for change. With her mother’s death, father’s abuse, and the struggles of adolescence, Katie finds solace in hope and the protection the underside of her bed provides. Though her older sister Diane is there for Katie, she’s constantly out with her boyfriend Dickie, forcing Katie to find a mother figure in her best friend Cherylanne. When Diane has had enough of her father’s constant physically ...more
Vicki Carbone
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't realize until I brought this book up to review that this is part of a series. I fell in love with this poor little girl. Her mom has recently died; her sister, six years her senior, champing at the bit to escape her own home life; her dad, a product of his own sad childhood is abusive. Katie is a 12 year old, currently living in Texas with her father, who is a colonel in the army and her sister, Diane, aged 18. Whenever things get to be too much with their father, Diane retreats to her ...more
I’ve read a number of Elizabeth Berg’s books and one of my favourites is True to Form. I read it in 2012 but somehow it totally escaped me that it was the third book in a trilogy. Obviously it worked well as a stand-alone novel. I very belatedly realized last week, five years after the fact, that there were two more books in the set. Bonus! I immediately got my hands on the first one (Durable Goods), and have the second one sitting on the coffee table, just waiting for me.

This first book
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #55 Durable Goods 1 1 Sep 03, 2015 06:38AM  
Short & Sweet Treats: Durable Goods ~ September 2013 30 36 Oct 02, 2013 01:37AM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0380728842 2 22 Nov 05, 2012 04:34PM  

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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 ...more

Other books in the series

Katie Nash (3 books)
  • Joy School (Katie Nash, #2)
  • True to Form (Katie Nash, #3)
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