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Once Upon a Time, There Was You

Random. Apr. 2011. 208p. ISBN 9781400068654. $25; eISBN 9781588368935. lrg. prnt. CD: Random Audio.
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Divorced couple John and Irene barely speak—until something awful happens to their beloved 16-year-old daughter, Sadie. Classic Berg, who's always beloved if not always tip-top best seller; with an eight-city tour.
Berg is a prolific writer, but some might say her last few novels () have veered toward lighter fare, approaching fluff. Her new book leaves that designation in the dust, tackling varied, meaty topics with grace, and a pacing that makes it hard to put down. Irene and John are messily divorced, but their shared love for their teenage daughter, Sadie, is a bond that cannot be broken. When Sadie goes missing, they are reunited, like it or not. John's new girlfriend and Irene's serial online dating all fall to the wayside as the exes hunker down and try to find Sadie. Will the forced closeness cause a natural reconciliation? As Sadie's disappearance brings new issues for the couple to deal with, for the first time they examine their past marriage and what it meant to them both. This addictive read shows anew what a wonderful writing talent Berg is: strong characters illuminate a tender story about what makes a marriage work (or not), and how a family binds itself together despite things that pull it apart. [See Prepub Alert, 11/1/10.]—Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC
Berg is a prolific writer, but some might say her last few novels (The Last Time I Saw You) have veered toward lighter fare, approaching fluff. Her new book leaves that designation in the dust, tackling varied, meaty topics with grace, and a pacing that makes it hard to put down. Irene and John are messily divorced, but their shared love for their teenage daughter, Sadie, is a bond that cannot be broken. When Sadie goes missing, they are reunited, like it or not. John's new girlfriend and Irene's serial online dating all fall to the wayside as the exes hunker down and try to find Sadie. Will the forced closeness cause a natural reconciliation? As Sadie's disappearance brings new issues for the couple to deal with, for the first time they examine their past marriage and what it meant to them both.
VERDICT This addictive read shows anew what a wonderful writing talent Berg is: strong characters illuminate a tender story about what makes a marriage work (or not), and how a family binds itself together despite things that pull it apart. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/10.]—Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC

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