What We Keep: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Do you ever really know your mother, your daughter, the people in your family? In this rich and rewarding new novel by the beloved bestselling author of Talk Before Sleep and The Pull of the Moon, a reunion between two sisters and their mother reveals how the secrets and complexities of the past have shaped the lives of the women in a family.
Ginny Young is on a plane, en route to see her mother, whom she hasn't seen or spoken to for thirty-five years. She thinks back to the summer of 1958, when she and her sister, Sharla, were young girls. At that time,a series of dramatic events--beginning with the arrival of a mysterious and sensual next-door neighbor--divided the family, separating the sisters from their mother. Moving back and forth in time between the girl she once was and the woman she's become, Ginny at last confronts painful choices that occur in almost any woman's life, and learns surprising truths about the people she thought she knew best.
Emotional honesty and a true understanding of people and relationships are combined in this moving and deeply satisfying new book by the novelist who "writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, love and hope. And the transcendence that redeems" (Andre Dubus).
From the Hardcover edition.
A Tale of Mothers and Daughters!
By Nancy R. Katz "NancyK18" - August 12, 2000
As a daughter and mother of a daughter, I am always intrigued by the thought of a book which explores the nuances of these relationships. But if I was looking for a sweet read depicting mother knows best and daughter is listeneing, I should have read something else. For in What we Keep, the author relates the story of a mother and her two daughters in an overwhelmingly sad story.The opening pages of this book begin on an airplane ride as Ginny, Marion's younger daughter and sister of Sharla, explains to another passenger the nature of her trip West. Ginny is meeting up with her sister to visit the mother they haven't seen in 35 years. Then in a series of Ginny's reflections throughout the plane ride, we learn the how and why Marion left her daughters when they were only 14 and 12. Naturally thoughout the book we hear and feel Ginny's struggles with this trip, her recollections of their family life and how she will ultimately feel about her mother.I found this to be... read more
A Story of a mother-daughter relationship
By Ratmammy "The Ratmammy" - October 13, 2000
WHAT WE KEEP was the story of a woman (Ginny Young ) who is about to meet her mother for the first time after being apart for 35 years. During the flight to California, she remembers the events that lead up to her mother's departure. Ginny was 12 years old when she last sees her mother, and we see the events through Ginny's 12 year old eyes. And although the 12 year old Ginny does not fully understand why things happened the way they did, the reader will note things that the young inexperienced Ginny could not understand. The adult Ginny finally is able to understand, and it takes the reunion with Ginny, older sister Sharla, and their mother Marion to help her realize why her mother left them all those years ago.This was the first time I read a book by Elizabeth Berg and I was very pleased. I found it to be a fast read. Her descriptions were so vivid that I could imagine the characters as if watching a movie. I also found her characters to be interesting and real. I could... read more
youth makes us see things that are not really there
By A Customer - September 9, 1999
This book gives a good example of how the world looks through a child's eyes. It also shows that as we mature, we still do not always understand what was really happening during our childhood. Ginny lived for 35 years still believing that her mother was completely responsible for her parents divorce, when really her father was as much to blame. I found What We Keep to be interesting throughout, and not as predictable as I thought. An important lesson is learned; it is never too late to reconcile with a loved one, you may be just as wrong as you believe the other person to be. I enjoyed this book, even though it is not action-packed. I would encourage everyone to give it a try.