In this, her most recent novel, Berg uses the tired device of the class reunion to introduce us to a cast of characters in their late 50s. I thought this might be interesting, at least in part because I am the same age (well, actually, I'm now 60, but who's counting?) and have recently experienced something of a virtual high school reunion on Facebook. But Berg's characters are stereotypes--the nerd who is now a successful veterinarian, the semi-popular girl who longs for one night with the quarterback, that very quarterback, who refuses to miss the reunion despite being in the hospital recovering from a heart attack. While it is possible to believe people change after high school, these characters stay essentially the same for 40 years--and then undergo a metamorphosis at the reunion. That seems as unlikely as the series of happy endings Berg jams into the final chapter.
Someday, I hope to be reunited with the Elizabeth Berg who wrote those early novels. I miss her.
She may have gray hair and a few brown spots and her memory may not be quite as excellent as it once was, but the taste of a good vanilla ice cream cone or the sound of church bells on a Sunday morning or the sight of a red sky still thrills her. And in those moments of appreciation she, like all people, becomes ageless.