Until the Real Thing Comes Along

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9780099451761: Until the Real Thing Comes Along
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Patty Murphy is facing that pivotal point in a woman's life when her biological clock ticks as insistently as a beating heart. Will she find Mr Right and start a family? But Patty is in love - with a man who is not only attractive and financially sound, but sensitive and warmhearted. There's just one small problem: He is also gay. Against her better judgment, and pleas from family and friends, Patty refuses to give up on Ethan. Every man she dates ultimately leaves her aching for the gentle comfort and intimacy she shares with him. But even as she throws eligible bachelors to the wayside to spend yet another platonic night with Ethan, Patty longs more and more for the consolation of loving and being loved. In the meantime she must content herself with waiting - until the real thing comes along . . .

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Review:

For the protagonist of Elizabeth Berg's Until the Real Thing Comes Along, the biological clock is ticking all too loudly. Alas, there are no likely partners on the horizon for Patty Ann Murphy. Even an attractive, appropriately sensitive guy ends up giving her the heebie-jeebies: "Now he is turning my face toward him and kissing me and I feel that as soon as he stops I'll start screaming. I don't, of course. I say, 'Would you like some pretzels?'" The only man who doesn't inspire this kind of junk-food diversionary tactic is Patty's high-school sweetheart Ethan Gaines--but he happens to be gay. What's a woman of the '90s to do?

The answer: she persuades Ethan to impregnate her, and they agree to a marriage of true minds (if not bodies.) They won't, of course, actually marry, or even live together. But Patty signs on for a lifetime of child rearing with her sexually indifferent soul mate--and finds herself wading into a wealth of emotional complications. Will Ethan ever make love to her again? Will her parents accept her (essentially) single-mommy status? Berg manages to cast these thorny issues in a comedic light, without ever consigning Patty and her wisecracking cohorts to a complete farce. And there is that payoff at the end, when Ethan hands her the love child in the delivery room:

With a tenderness I would not have thought possible in earth-bound humans, he gives her to me. Her wet head is cupped; her quivering chest is calmed. What have my hands been doing all my life before this? I see now that they too have just been born. I unwrap the blanket, stop breathing.
Yes, Patty does eventually start breathing again. And readers will share her delight at the undeniable fact that the real thing has finally come along. --Anita Urquhart

From the Back Cover:

"Berg's writing is to literature what Chopin's études are to music--measured, delicate and impossible to walk away from until their completion."

--Entertainment Weekly, about Range of Motion

Praise for Durable Goods

"        A little gem of a book."

--Richard Bausch

Praise for Talk Before Sleep

"        Elizabeth Berg is one of those rare souls who can play with truths as if swinging across the void from one trapeze to another."

--Joan Gould

Praise for Range of Motion

"        Berg's brilliant insights about the human condition, plus her capacity for turning the ordinary into richly detailed prose, make this book the love story of the year."
--Detroit Free Press

Praise for The Pull of the Moon

"        It is wise and witty, thoughtful and exhilarating. It leaves the reader observing life with great hope and satisfaction."


--Jill McCorkle

Praise for What We Keep

"        Berg knows the hearts of her characters intimately, showing them with compassion, humor and an illuminating generosity."

--The Seattle Times

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9780345437396: Until the Real Thing Comes Along (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

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ISBN 10:  034543739X ISBN 13:  9780345437396
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 2000
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