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American Poems: Books: Never Change
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 Home » Books » Never Change

Never Change

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  • Sales Rank:180,765
  • Format:Kindle eBook
  • Language:English (Published)
  • Media:Kindle Edition
  • Edition:Reprint
  • Pages:240
  • Publication Date:August 26, 2001
  • ASIN:B0033CS6B2

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Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis
You know people like me. I'm the one who sat in a folding chair out in the hall selling tickets to the prom but never going, the one everybody liked but no one wanted to be with.
A self-anointed spinster at fifty-one, Myra Lipinsky has endured the isolation of her middle life by doting on her dog, Frank, and immersing herself in her career as a visiting nurse. Myra considers herself reasonably content, telling herself, It's enough, work and Frank. And it has been enough -- until Chip Reardon, the too-good-to-be-true golden boy she adored from afar, is assigned to be her new patient. Choosing to forgo invasive treatment for an incurable illness, Chip has returned from Manhattan to the New England home of his childhood to spend what time he has left. Now, Myra and Chip find themselves engaged in a poingnant redefinition of roles, and a complicated dance of memory, ambivalence, and longing.

From the author whose work The New Yorker calls "strong" and "timeless" comes a wry and beautifully distilled portrait of one woman's resilience in the face of loneliness, and of a union that transcends life's most unexpected and challenging circumstances. With effortless warmth, and loving respect for characters that defies easy sentiment, Never Change melds the emotional depth and gentle intensity of poetry with the rich satisfactions of finely wrought fiction.
Amazon.com Review
Elizabeth Berg has a single great gift as a novelist. She creates heroines who are stuck and unhappy, yet deeply sympathetic. This may seem like an easy trick to pull off, but it's not. Think about it: usually when a character is mired in a problem--especially a problem stemming from her own reluctance to change, or fear of commitment, or lack of identity--the reader is ready within a few dozen pages to shout, "Pull yourself together!" and set the book aside. In contrast, Berg's characters seem like enjoyable challenges: problems with actual solutions.

In Never Change, Berg uses her gift to great advantage. Middle-aged Myra Lipinsky describes herself as "the one who sat on a folding chair out in the hall with a cigar box on my lap selling tickets to the prom, but never going." And despite a flourishing career as a visiting nurse, she feels as much an also-ran as ever. As the novel begins, in fact, high school seems to be rearing its ugly head again: Chip Reardon, the heartthrob of Myra's youth, has returned to town to live with his parents. Chip is dying from a brain tumor, and Myra becomes his nurse. Berg is not the kind of writer to lay bare the unsettling power dynamics of such a situation. Instead, Chip and Myra become friends and, well, learn how to love each other. It's a testament to the author's strong sense of character that we actually believe--and what's more, care about--Myra's emergence from her emotional cocoon. And the book is full of nice details, like this snapshot of children being read to at a library, "rising up on their knees to see the pictures, resting their hands unselfconsciously on those ahead of them so that they would not lose their balance." Such careful observations, recounted in Myra's voice, make us believe that she is a character worth knowing, and worth saving. --Claire Dederer

Synopsis
You know people like me. I'm the one who sat in a folding chair out in the hall selling tickets to the prom but never going, the one everybody liked but no one wanted to be with.
A self-anointed spinster at fifty-one, Myra Lipinsky has endured the isolation of her middle life by doting on her dog, Frank, and immersing herself in her career as a visiting nurse. Myra considers herself reasonably content, telling herself, It's enough, work and Frank. And it has been enough -- until Chip Reardon, the too-good-to-be-true golden boy she adored from afar, is assigned to be her new patient. Choosing to forgo invasive treatment for an incurable illness, Chip has returned from Manhattan to the New England home of his childhood to spend what time he has left. Now, Myra and Chip find themselves engaged in a poingnant redefinition of roles, and a complicated dance of memory, ambivalence, and longing.

From the author whose work The New Yorker calls "strong" and "timeless" comes a wry and beautifully distilled portrait of one woman's resilience in the face of loneliness, and of a union that transcends life's most unexpected and challenging circumstances. With effortless warmth, and loving respect for characters that defies easy sentiment, Never Change melds the emotional depth and gentle intensity of poetry with the rich satisfactions of finely wrought fiction.

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