Helen Ames was a beloved wife and a prolific author.
Since her husband Dan died she no longer feels that she is either. Unable to move on from his death, Helen is not sure how to do life without him. Her writing is non existent and a particularity disastrous speaking engagement leaves her wondering what purpose she serves without the titles “wife” and “author”.
Meanwhile, Helen’s 27 year old daughter Tessa is losing patience with her now seemingly helpless and smothering mother. Tessa longs for branching out into her own life but feels anchored down by her mom’s overbearing neediness. Tessa is constantly being called upon by Helen to help with the household tasks that used to belong to Dan.
Then Helen discovers that the finances that she never paid much attention too as Dan told her never to worry as there was plenty for her to live on and then some…. these very finances have had a significant withdrawal, made by Dan before he died. Suddenly Helen has a new set of worries…. what did Dan do with all that money? How will she now provide for herself when her accountant tells her she needs to be careful financially but seems to have no skills or ambition to learn anything new?
My adventures with Berg continue. 😀
Out of everything I have read/listened to by Elizabeth Berg this one may have been the biggest stretch for me. And the reason for that is silly. It’s Helen.
Helen has qualities I just don’t like. She is co dependent. Needy and unsure of herself in every way and for some reason these characteristics…..
I know that is ridiculous and I wonder what I find in myself that makes me want women, fiction and not, to be strong, independent, and able to stand on their own two feet.
Ok… that said, I did enjoy listening to this on audio and applaud Elizabeth Berg for not only being an amazing prolific writer, but also reader. I have really come to enjoy her audios and when she reads them herself – even better. I can not say that about every author I have listened to on audio that has read their own work.
While Helen is this character that is not sure which way to turn – I am quite sure she is exactly the character that Elizabeth Berg meant her to be. You can hear it is Elizabeth’s (as the narrator) voice and I wish I had a couple examples in my head right now of that dialogue that Helen would have as she pretty much questioned every step she took. Unfortunately, one of the down falls of audio is that I do not have the pages to flip back through to make that perfect quote so you can go “oh yeah…. I see what you mean.”
As the story line continues you see that Helen does start to find her own way and her relationship with Tessa is very realistic as Tessa tries hard to be patient with her mom while at the same time trying to get her mom to be responsible for her own life and making things happen. One of the things I really enjoyed in this audio was how often Tessa came to this point:
“Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM.”
I think I may have loved this even more because it is said in a dead pan voice.
Final thoughts: I did enjoy this audio. It was not a favorite from this author mainly because some of the plot created many unanswered questions… I did however still appreciate the diversity in writing that I have come to enjoy in Elizabeth Berg’s work.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include Safely Home
This audio was rented from my local library