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Say When
by Elizabeth Berg

Category: Fiction / General
272 pages; ISBN: 0743411366

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Frank Griffin loves his wife and his eight-year-old daughter Zoe and is prepared to do everything in his power to keep his family together. He suspects his wife Ellen is having an affair with her teacher who is giving a night course in auto repair, but Frank is prepared to wait until she comes to her senses and gets it out of her system and never confront her with it.

It is Ellen who brings things out in the open by admitting she is in love with Peter and wants a divorce. Griffin refuses to give her one and won’t move out of the house or their bedroom. Ellen finds the whole situation awkward and finally moves into her own apartment but she’s at the house every day to take care of their daughter until Griffin comes home. Their impasse is finally broken when Griffin is ready to listen to what Ellen needs to say.

There is not a lot of action in SAY WHEN but it is a fascinating character study about two people who share space but fail to communicate. There are many funny moments in the book especially the scene when Ellen and her date meet Griffin and his date at the movie house. The two protagonists are both decent and kind people who go out of their way to make sure any disruptions in their daughter’s life are kept to a minimum. Elizabeth Berg has written a heartwarming tale focusing on human frailties.

Harriet Klausner


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