The Story of Arthur Truluv. Finished 3-27-18, 4/5 stars, pub. 2017
Unabridged audio read by the author, Elizabeth Berg, 6.75 hours
A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness. Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who is avoiding school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared. from Goodreads
This opens with Arthur in the cemetery at the grave of his wife, so it immediately brought shades of A Man Called Ove, but these two widowers were different types of men. Where Ove was crusty and had to be drawn into relationships, Arthur was open and friendly and sought ways to reach out. Ove was cloudy and Arthur sunny, but they also ended up being drawn into makeshift families that they didn’t have when their wives were with them and their fates in the end were the same. I particularly loved Arthur’s insight into the buried dead at the cemetery. Cemeteries speak to me.
I liked the three main characters of this one. Arthur was great, obviously, but Maddy as the neglected and friendless teen and Louise as the lonely next door neighbor with a second chance at love, were both great too. Maddy broke my heart. Her mother died when she was 2 and her father has never forgiven her for it. She is bullied at school and tries to find someone to love her in a yucky boy and pays for it dearly. Louise came off a little strident, but under that was a woman looking for a purpose in her retirement years.
I like Elizabeth Berg and was glad to catch up with her latest. This is an uplifting book at its heart.
If you read both Ove and this one, did you feel similarities too?