The Art of Mending, by Elizabeth Berg

The Art of MendingFinished audio 2-24-12, rating 3.25/5, fiction, pub. 2004

Unabridged audio read by Joyce Bean.  6 hours.

Laura and her family of four make the annual trip back to her hometown in Minnesota and to the fair that draws her brother and sister too.  This year, Laura’s sister Caroline, asks that Laura and their brother Steve meet with her away from their parent’s home, and they do without enthusiasm since Caroline has always been full of drama.  What she tells them is shocking, she claims that she was mistreated by their mother all throughout her childhood.

I am an only child, so I like to live vicariously through novels about complicated sibling relationships and this one did not disappoint.  Laura and Caroline had never been close, but they were sisters and when Caroline’s confession coincides with a family tragedy Laura wasn’t all that receptive to Caroline.  For most of the book I found Laura too cool and dismissive of her sister to really like her, but as she worked to come to terms with this new vision of her mother I started to warm to her.

I love reading (or listening to) Elizabeth Berg novels, most of them are slice of life stories that are insightful and have the familiarity of talking to a friend.  This was a good story about how three kids living in a house can have such different feelings and memories about their childhood.  I liked it even if it fell a bit short of expectations for me. I think it could have delved a little deeper and adding a few more chapters wouldn’t have hurt.  It was still a solid story.

This audio was checked out of the library.