The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
Dorothy Shauman has been waiting for this day for what seems like forever. Right around the corner is her 40th Class Reunion, the last for her graduating class and there is nothing that is going to stop her from finally (FINALLY) being brave enough to connect with her high school crush,Pete Decker (football star and prom king) *swoon*. Dorothy has lost weight and primped and primmed for this day – much to the eye roll of her adult daughter, but to the glee of her two bestest (they really are the best!) friends from those glory day.
“Dorothy has never gone to a high school reunion. She was always married when they had them before, and who wanted to bring THAT to a reunion? Now she is divorced, plus she saw that movie about saying yes to life. She steps closer to the mirror and raises her chin so her turkey neck disappears. She’ll hold her head like this when she walks past Pete Decker. Later, when they’re making out in his car, it will be dark, and she won’t have to be so vigilant. Oh, she hopes they can make out in his car; she’s heard people always make out in cars at high school reunions.” ~ The Last Time I Saw You, Berg
Pete Decker however is hoping to repair his much damaged marriage by reminding his soon to be ex-wife who he used to be by attending the reunion. Sure, the damage to their marriage is mainly due to his wandering eye, and yeah sure he recently has been living with his much younger girlfriend…. but she doesn’t make his heart pound like his wife does.
Mary Alice, she just wants to go. She loved the people she went to school with, even if they did not give her the time of day. It will be fun to see them. Maybe. Well… won’t it?
Lester is very comfortable with who he is and really is not even sure if he can take the time from his busy veterinarian business to attend the reunion at all. Really there is no love lost between himself and his once classmates… it doesn’t really matter that he stills lives in town and the reunion is merely a short drive away…
Candy just wants to go. She was the girl who every guy wanted. Beautiful and blonde, even she has to admit that she has held up pretty well over the years (thank you daily workouts!), but for Candy, this reunion has more meaning to her. Living a life that from the outside looks pretty great, Candy carries a lot of hurt in her and now with a new diagnosis, really…. this is probably the last time she will see any of her once friends.
For each attendee, there is a feeling of hope, of anxiety…. some are looking to repair lost friendships, lost loves rekindled, current relationships strengthened, and some just hope to be acknowledged as more than that geeky shy person they were in high school.
Did anyone else just love high school or is it just me? The excitement of seeing your friends every day, not to mention that cute guy…. ;). (Oops – I guess I did mention…) Pep fests, school rallys, weekend sports events, crazy days like – hat day, pajama day…, the adrenaline of being a part of something big…. the final years of school and then freedom to be whoever you were going to be.
Is that just me?
I enjoyed this book very much. It was a nice continuation to my goal to read all the Berg books in 2011. Maybe I liked it so much because I have fond memories of high school, memories that still make my heart beat a little faster when I think of all the high energy we had as a class…. as a group, really we were invincible. And this is not because I was super popular either, I wasn’t. I was middle ground… actually tending to be a bit shy and quiet unless you were in my close-knit group of friends. I just loved school….. 😛
The characters that Elizabeth Berg has given life to in this book are real. I can imagine (thanks to Elizabeth Berg) what a 40th class reunion would probably feel like. The main characters are 58 years old. Their bodies are not what they once were no matter how much you tried to maintain your youth. They are older and they are wiser (well…. not all of them… :D), and to go and put yourself out in front of all the people you knew at that invincible age of 18… well, I can imagine some anxiety in doing so – and Elizabeth Berg captures that well.
There is a point when one of the characters comes upstairs during the reunion and catches herself in the mirror… she is actually surprised to see how old she looks when after seeing all her friends again she felt 18. That’s an image that will stick with me. We are as old as we feel…. mirror be damned.
Overall, this was a pleasant read. It left me with warm feelings of reunions, and memories of my own high school experiences. I felt it didn’t matter that my own 40th class reunion is a great distance away, I could still put myself right there with a little bit of each character stirring within me…. (well, maybe not Pete…LOL).
The Last Time I Saw You was the book chosen to be read by the Wordshakers On-Line Book Group. I posted about this in January – generated the excitement from 16 participants besides myself, planned to post and do a group review in late February…. and I totally proceeded to drop the ball. 😳
First off, life became busy again (how does that always happen?), I did not get the review questions sent out as I said I would, fell further and further behind… and honestly I did not get it read myself until the middle of last month. über embarrassing. And truly – I am sorry, to those of you who were waiting on me to get cracking… I just lost my focus.
From the comments I did gather from the reading group, it was overall an enjoyable read. We discussed if we had attended our own reunions and found that again we were mixed – some finding it much more fun than anticipated and others found it just…awkward. 😛 As far as favorite characters, it was interesting that we were all drawn to the gentler softer ones…. the ones that perhaps didn’t seem like much in high school. We were also drawn to Candy, although the popular girl in school… her life had taken on a whole new meaning.
A few of the Wordshakers were kind enough to link their reviews here. If you have read this book,please let me know and I will gladly add you to the group:
Teresa’s Reading Corner *audio review
The WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include The Last Time I Saw You
Borrowed this one from my local library ♥