May 10, 2007
Dream When You're Feeling Blue
Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg
Finished on 5/5/07
Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)
New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg takes us to Chicago at the time of World War II in this wonderful story about three sisters, their lively Irish family, and the men they love.
As the novel opens, Kitty and Louise Heaney say good-bye to their boyfriends Julian and Michael, who are going to fight overseas. On the domestic front, meat is rationed, children participate in metal drives, and Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller play songs that offer hope and lift spirits. And now the Heaney sisters sit at their kitchen table every evening to write letters–Louise to her fiancé, Kitty to the man she wishes fervently would propose, and Tish to an ever-changing group of men she meets at USO dances. In the letters the sisters send and receive are intimate glimpses of life both on the battlefront and at home. For Kitty, a confident, headstrong young woman, the departure of her boyfriend and the lessons she learns about love, resilience, and war will bring a surprise and a secret, and will lead her to a radical action for those she loves. The lifelong consequences of the choices the Heaney sisters make are at the heart of this superb novel about the power of love and the enduring strength of family.
Well, that settles that. After three disappointments, I can safely say that Elizabeth Berg is no longer one of my favorite authors. While I enjoyed Dream When You're Feeling Blue much more than The Handmaid and the Carpenter (which as you'll recall, I didn't bother to finish) and almost as much as We Are All Welcome Here (which was also a letdown), it certainly doesn't compare to her earlier novels. It took me quite a while to get interested in the story, and I never did come to care for any of the one-dimensional characters or their predictable plights. As I read, I couldn't stop thinking that this simplistic narrative was more characteristic of a young adult novel and that the author touched on all the key points about World War II as woodenly as if each were being dutifully ticked off, one by one, from a detailed checklist.
I've gone back over this review (such as it is) for several days now, trying to come up with something else to say. Unfortunately, there's nothing left to say other than meh. Not one to recommend. Glad I saved my money and borrowed a copy.