Review by Dinh.
I have been wanting to read a book that moves you and leave you satisfied at the end of it. I have found it in The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg.
The Story of Arthur Truluv (2017) is the first novel in the Mason series. There are two more books to follow, A Night of Miracles (2018), and The Confession Club (2019).
Berg is a prolific writer. Her book Open House was Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000.
This is my first book by this author and I am impressed with her work. For a book of only 218 pages it packs a lot in. It’s well worth the read.
Here’s why you should read it:
I love the simple story line of this book.
It’s a heartwarming story of 3 people who come together as friends and then become an unconventional family.
Arthur Moses is eighty five years old and goes to visit his deceased wife Nola at the cemetery each day. He has been doing this for six months since she passed away and this ritual is his way of grieving for his loss.
At the cemetery, Arthur meets seventeen years old Maddy. Maddy goes to the cemetery to escape the loneliness and bullying at school, and a miserable home life with a distant father.
Berg style of writing is direct and to the point. There’s no fluff padding this book! I love how the characters are expressed in a way you can just imagine them. It’s like being inside their head directly.
Berg’s greatest strength is her keen understanding in the human conditions of aging, grief, and loneliness. Arthur and and Lucille are in their 80s and Berg’s writing of their physical fragility and their fears are astute.
Whilst many themes are touched upon, the theme of second chances is most prevalent for me.
I love Berg’s message of new beginnings are possible. Maddy made some bad choices but was able to have a second chance with a little help from Mr. Lyons (a school teacher), Arthur and Lucille.
I also love that Lucille got a second chance in love, however brief it was. Eighties is like the ‘new seventies.’ It’s never too late to start a life you want.
What a great cast of memorable characters!
I loved Arthur, Lucille, and Maddy even though they are all completely different.
Berg does a great job in writing realistic characters, their hopes and fears and their love and loss and the connections between friends and family.
- Arthur Moses
When we first meet Arthur, I thought he was going to be one lonely old man with not much else going on his life except his visits to the cemetery.
Later we find that Arthur is a kind old man and a gentleman at heart. Although his is old and rickety, it doesn’t let that stop him from being a kind and brave soul.
One of my my favorite part is when Arthur tries to get rid of Anderson (Maddy’s ex-boyfriend) from upsetting Maddy. Arthur could barely get his breathe after shooing Anderson away with a bat. It was comical!
- Lucille Howard
Lucille who is 83 years old, is Arthur’s neighbor. She was a fourth grade teacher for many years and loves to bake. Lucille also suffers from loss and she finds comfort in her passion from baking.
- Maddy Harris
Maddy’s story is sad. She is sad from being bullied at school. She got dumped by her older boyfriend Anderson. Her relationship with her dad is non existent. All this makes her life miserable. Her mother died when she was younger and Maddy does not have any emotional support or comfort from her dad.
Maddy’s life takes a turn for the better after an unfortunate event happens and Arthur and Lucille are there to support and love her.
I think Mr. Lyons the school teacher was an under appreciated character. I would love to read a book about Mr. Lyons and how he helps school kids.
I love the bitter sweet ending. It was heartbreaking but also uplifting.
I expected it to be predictable and it was but it was a satisfying ending.
We get to see what happens with Maddy and what the future holds for her.
My Final Thoughts
I loved The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg!
What a great moving book! It evoked a lot of feelings such as sadness, joy and humor. I loved the message of second chances and how a small act of kindness can lead to friendship and happiness.
I highly recommend you to read it!
Belong to a book club? Check out The Story of Arthur Truluv book club discussion questions!