I really enjoy the novels of Elizabeth Berg — I’ve read almost all of them. So when I saw that she had a new one out this spring I decided to purchase it. The Last Time I Saw You focuses on a group of people attending their 40th and final high school reunion.
First let me say, in case you don’t know me personally, I am one of those people who just love, love, love their high school reunions. It may be due to the fact that I moved 3,000 miles away to go to grad school and I’ve stayed 3,000 miles away – or perhaps because I really did enjoy my time in high school – but regardless, sign me up, put me first in line, make me help organize it, whatever — I just love a reunion.
Now when I first ordered this book from Amazon I mistakenly thought it was about a 30th reunion. As I’m in my forties, I thought that’d be a perfect fit. However, when the book arrived I realized the people were attending their 40th reunion. I wondered: do I really have much in common with people who are 58?? Well, here’s the shocker, friends — yes, I do. With the exception that the offspring of the characters were grown and on their own and most of my friends and I still have children at home — these people worried about and were dealing with the same issues that face me and my peers every day: relationships, marriages, children, careers, health, and – yep – growing older.
So, without giving too much away (which you know I hate to do!), this novel follows several different characters as they plan for and attend the reunion — their hopes, their insecurities, their dreams, their realities. I have to say, I was at first worried that Ms. Berg might be writing in clichés: the gorgeous woman whose perfectionism hides a less than perfect life, the good-looking bit-of-a-jerk who is now less good-looking but still a bit-of-a-jerk, the outcast, the athletes, the cheerleaders, the nerd, the desperate female. However, once I really thought about it, I had to wonder: are these clichés or archetypes? Doesn’t just about every high school class have a nerd, an outcast, a cheerleader? Is Berg really writing about universals here? Because the more I read of these people, the more I read of myself and my friends.
I really enjoyed the book, as I do most of Elizabeth Berg’s novels. I highly recommend it if you like this type of “slice of life” read.
I give it 4 1/2 Stars!