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Until The Real Thing Comes Along " Signed "

Berg, Elizabeth

ISBN 10: 0679457224 / ISBN 13: 9780679457220
Published by Random House, 1999
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

1999. Hardback. Fine first edition first print in fine dust jacket protected with Mylar cover. Signed by author on title page. Bookseller Inventory # 1058

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Until The Real Thing Comes Along " Signed "

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Hardback

About this title

Synopsis:

What do you do when your life isn't living up to your dreams? When the man you love is unavailable, and yet you long for a family, a home? What is the cost of compromising until the real thing comes along?
     Reading Elizabeth Berg is like having a friend sit down and talk with you about the deepest truths and most perplexing issues in life, and in this exquisite new novel the bestselling author of Talk Before Sleep and The Pull of the Moon once again gives us superb fiction about a passionate woman who solves life's problems in a way that is far from traditional, but close to the wise dictums of the heart.
        Patty Ann Murphy says she's "Ms. Runner-Up" in life. Rarely the bridesmaid, never mind the bride, Patty sells houses for a living (well, she's sold one house so far), longs to be married and have a family, but is irresistibly drawn to the wrong man. Ethan seems perfect for Patty--handsome, generous, and sensitive--but he's hopelessly unavailable. Patty's frustration leads her to feelings she doesn't admire--jealousy of her beautiful best friend, Elaine, for instance, about whom she says, "Find me one woman who doesn't withhold just a bit from another woman who looks like that." She's also worried about her mother, with whom she's very close but who is beginning to act strangely. Patty longs more and more for the consolation of loving and being loved, but for the moment feels she must content herself with waiting--until she can wait no more.
   Andre Dubus said about Elizabeth Berg's Durable Goods, "Elizabeth Berg writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, loneliness, love and hope. And the transcendence that redeems." And the same will be said about Until the Real Thing Comes Along.

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

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