Anyone who never returned for their class reunion wonders what it might be like. And, the longer it's been since graduation, the more curious you become. Elizabeth Berg takes that curiosity, anticipation, and dread, and packages it all in her latest book, The Last Time I Saw You.
It's been forty years, and it's going to be the last reunion for a class from Clear Springs, Ohio. Berg picks a handful of people from that graduating class to focus on. Dorothy Shauman still has two loyal friends from those years, but she's divorced now, and still longs for Pete Decker, the high school quarterback. And, she's dieted, primped, and she's ready and willing to finally have another crack at the hottest male in their class. Decker himself cheated on his wife, and is now eager to get back with her, although she's seeing another man. There's Candy Sullivan Armstrong, who was the hottest girl in class, and now faces a health crisis, and a husband she fears. And, there's the two people that seemed to be losers to their classmates, Lester Hessenpfeffer and Mary Alice Mayhew.
At eighteen, we never really know what's going to happen to us, or our classmates. Berg's story really has no surprises. Those five characters relate their thoughts, fears, and hopes. There are some happy endings wrapped up a little too neatly. Even so, it's fascinating to watch people return for a dreaded or anticipated reunion. One of the characters sums it up neatly when she says, "It's not that you can't go home again; it's that you can never leave." And, in some ways, we always carry that insecure eighteen-year-old, and our class relationships, with us. Elizabeth Berg acknowledges the immaturity in each of us in her knowing book, The Last Time I Saw You.
Elizabeth Berg's website is www.elizabeth-berg.net
The last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg. Random House, ©2010. ISBN 9781400068647 (hardcover), 256p.
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