Monday, June 4, 2012

Julie's Review: Dream While You're Feeling Blue

Summary: New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg takes us to Chicago at the time of World War II in this wonderful story about three sisters, their lively Irish family, and the men they love. As the novel opens, Kitty and Louise Heaney say good-bye to their boyfriends Julian and Michael, who are going to fight overseas. On the domestic front, meat is rationed, children participate in metal drives, and Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller play songs that offer hope and lift spirits. And now the Heaney sisters sit at their kitchen table every evening to write letters–Louise to her fiancé, Kitty to the man she wishes fervently would propose, and Tish to an ever-changing group of men she meets at USO dances. In the letters the sisters send and receive are intimate glimpses of life both on the battlefront and at home. For Kitty, a confident, headstrong young woman, the departure of her boyfriend and the lessons she learns about love, resilience, and war will bring a surprise and a secret, and will lead her to a radical action for those she loves. The lifelong consequences of the choices the Heaney sisters make are at the heart of this superb novel about the power of love and the enduring strength of family.

Review: Alice is a huge Elizabeth Berg fan and after reading Dream When You're Feeling Blue, I can definitely see why. She definitely has a gift for transporting her readers to a different era. For this novel it was the era of World War II. The Heaney's are a big Irish Catholic family living in Chicago in the midst of World War II. Pearl Harbor has been bombed and young men are enlisting like crazy. This includes Louise and Kitty's boyfriends who are off to boot camp and then off to fight the evil Axis.

I have to say that I loved all of the characters in the Heaney family. They each had their own personalities. I will say that Tish annoyed me the most. She was a moon-y 17 year old girl who had a major crush on her sister's boyfriend.

Ms. Berg did an excellent job of describing how the war was affecting families. Everything from cooking to having a simple cup of strong coffee wasn't easy to do. The sacrifices every family made to help the war effort was astounding. I wonder if our country could rally like that again?

Kitty is the main character or voice of the novel. She is the oldest sibling in the family. She is a bit lost in the beginning of the novel. She is really unsure of her relationship with Julian. So much that she struggles to write him long letters. Kitty really changes and grows throughout the novel. She gets a job in a factory making airplanes and it gives her purpose. She is an easy character to like and cheer for.

My issue with the novel was the ending. I felt that it came out of nowhere and with no explanation. It seemed to me that it was a sacrifice that really wasn't needed. I did like that we got a glimpse into their futures, that might be the only thing that saved the ending for me.

I can say this, I will be reading Ms. Berg again in the future.

Final Take: 3.75/5



Anonymous ,  June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM  

I love Elizabeth Berg, but the ending had me so mad. I read it earlier this year and I think I'm STILL made at her. If you liked everything but the end (and I agree with everything you said) I think you'll really like her other books.

Julie June 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM  

The ending just came out of left field and just wasn't needed for Louise to move on.

I'm sure I'll read her again.

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