Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I must begin this review with a full confession: Elizabeth Berg is my aunt. I adore her and I want to be her when I grow up. :-) There. The secret is out.

Beth's new book of short stories, The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation, was released yesterday, and I immediately acquired a copy for myself and sat down to read the title story. Anyone who has ever been on a diet will relate to the narrator's defiant act of hookey from her Weight Watcher's meeting. And the giggly elation of eating all day with no boundaries! And, most likely, that final unfulfilled feeling.

Then I moved on to the second story about a middle-aged woman who unexpectedly comes face to face with her first love. Remember all the amazing feelings your first love was able to conjure up? Would you still feel that way now?

I have another confession to make. I have only read three of Beth's books. Why? Because she's so real that it hurts. I love Beth's writing. I always feel like we're having a private conversation when I read her work, and these little stories are no exception. It's like gossiping with a really funny friend. A really funny friend who is acutely aware of what makes us human, aware of the insecurities and tears beneath the laughter. She doesn't always point it out directly, but you know she knows. And you love her for it, because she makes it okay to be imperfect.

I only read the first two stories in this collection, because I want to stretch these little nuggets of fun and real life out for a while. I'm going to laugh out loud, and I know for a fact she's going to make me cry. And I'm going to feel vulnerable, empowered, ridiculous, smart and okay just the way I am. Thanks, Beth!


This review is cross-posted on my blog at


Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing, Lezlie! I will definitely be acquiring and reading this at some point. I love your Aunt too :) And you are right - her stories are just so real, I feel like I know her (which I don't!).

Lezlie said...

If you've read her books, you're coming close to knowing her. There is a lot of her in there.