Rebecca's Reviews > Talk Before Sleep

Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg
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really liked it
bookshelves: illness-and-death

This would make a great fictional counterpart to Gail Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home and Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, books that celebrate the strength of female friendship. Ruth, a divorcee with a college-age son, is dying of metastatic breast cancer and Ann and their group of friends have become like her substitute family, trading overnight shifts at Ruth’s house and bringing her extravagant treats like ice cream and lobster with McDonald’s French fries to distract from the pain and lethargy. Ann’s narration moves between these regular vigils and her past with Ruth, with whom she shared an “immediate and easy intimacy” after they met at a party. Ruth has made mistakes but lived with passion and “a scary kind of honesty” that Ann cannot help but admire, wondering whether she’s let habit and fear trap her in a safe life. It’s a simple but wrenching story, and it’s not surprising that Berg wrote it after losing a close friend to breast cancer, to “testify to the emotional truth of all that happened.”
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Reading Progress

July 20, 2018 – Started Reading
July 21, 2018 – Shelved
July 24, 2018 – Finished Reading
June 14, 2021 – Shelved as: illness-and-death

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