Do you ever read something in a book that makes you pause, back up, read it again, and eventually fold the edge of the paper down so you can revisit it over and over? I can’t count how many times I’ve done that while reading Elizabeth Berg.

I thought, how can it be that two strangers are exchanging such intimate things? Well, most women are full to the brim, that’s all. That’s what I think. I think we are most of us ready to explode, especially when our children are small and we are so weary with the demands for love and attention and the kind of service that makes you feel you should be wearing a uniform with “Mommy” embroidered over the left breast, over the heart. I (used to sit) half watching Ruthie and half dreaming—trying, I think, to recall my former self. If a stranger had come up to me and said, “Do you want to talk about it? I have time to listen,” I think I might have burst into tears at the relief of it. It wasn’t that I was really unhappy. It was the constancy of my load and the awesome importance of it; and it was my isolation.

—Elizabeth Berg, The Pull of the Moon

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Pete
Pete
11 years ago

Nice Quote.

Erica
11 years ago

Beautiful. Perfect.

Heather
Heather
11 years ago

Yes.

Betsy
Betsy
11 years ago

I love and adore Elizabeth Berg. She writes the best kind of books!

Trina
Trina
11 years ago

YES!!!!!

Rachel
11 years ago

Elizabeth Berg does that to me ALL THE TIME. She has a way (in which she reminds me a lot of you, actually) of writing the things that have always been in my head but never made it into words. I have a Post-It note in her newest one marking a quote that I want to share with everyone I know, as a matter of fact. See also: Anne Tyler.

Erica
11 years ago

Wow. Just wow. So perfectly true.

Erin
11 years ago

Wow. Thanks for sharing this.

Michelle
11 years ago

yeah, that.

Lisa
Lisa
11 years ago

She is one of my favorite authors and I have many, many of her pages dog-eared. Like Rachel, her writing feels familiar which also feels like your writing. One day, I will trace my finger along the spines of the books on one of my bookshelves, and the tips will run along a spine which says Linda Sharps. I know that like I know I will walk my dog tonight, or I will brush my teeth. These things will happen.

whoorl
11 years ago

Wow.

jody
11 years ago

Whenever a new post of yours shows up in my Google Reader, I can’t click on it fast enough. LOVE this quote. Thanks for sharing.

Valarie
Valarie
11 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful and oh sooooo true.
I also want to mention how much I love your blog. Your Mother’s Day post made me laugh out loud and today’s post had me cry a few tears.
Thank you for being real….

Brenda
11 years ago

This is one of the best books I have ever read. I think that all women should read it at some point in their lives.

jennifer
11 years ago

Thank God I’m not the only one feeling this. Thank You for the proof of that.

Janet
Janet
11 years ago

…only to outdone years later by the weight of the teenage years with said children…

Sonia
Sonia
11 years ago

Oh. Yes.

Kate
Kate
11 years ago

I love Elizabeth Berg! And I have felt like this so, so, so many times.

Jessica
11 years ago

I love that. It’s so true.

bouncy
11 years ago

Every time I leave the house now with my toddler and my 6 week old baby I HAVE to restrain myself from assaulting the nearest grownup with the latest information on our lack of sleep or toddler related food issues.

Thank you for posting this.

Melissa
Melissa
11 years ago

I almost cried at that. And I would like to echo the comments that the Truth in that quotation felt a lot like your writing. Which I’d like to thank you for again. (Particularly at the end of a long whine-filled day.)

AnotherErin
AnotherErin
11 years ago

A couple of months after the birth of my first child, I was living in a place where I literally knew no one. I was so isolated. There were no parks; it was this tiny town. I was invited to a dinner for my husband’s work, and after dessert, all the women started talking about how lonely new motherhood was, how miserable they’d been. And I was staring at them, and almost burst into tears. I wanted to blurt out: “If you KNOW, why don’t you HELP ME?”

d
d
11 years ago

Amen!

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Love the quotes. I am adding that book to my library list.

And you are always the first blog I click on in my reader.

jodie
jodie
11 years ago

Great book. I first read that when I was unmarried and childless in my early 20’s, and I knew then that it would have so much more meaning later in life. Now that I am married with kids I should read it again…thanks for this. ps, Anita Shreve has the same effect on me as well.

Stephanie
11 years ago

Love it. Here’s one I saved from her book Ordinary Life: A Love Story:

“She had just learned that afternoon that she was pregnant . . . She was twenty-five then. How can she be seventy-nine now? It occurs to her that she thought she would always be . . . oh, thirty-two. She would grow older, but she would be thirty-two. She could be ninety, but she would still be thirty-two; and she would set the table and all her family would come when she called, the children bumping into one another as they came through the kitchen door . . .”

It makes me cry every time . . . not just this week, when I am selling my girls’ babyhood things in a garage sale.

Katy
Katy
11 years ago

Oh, me too. I love her books.

“‘Thanks,’ I said, and something inside me stopped looking down.”

I read this in Talk Before Sleep last night.

Melissa H
11 years ago

Ok, so this is a new to me author–which of her many books would you most recommend to start with? Clearly a lot of fans amongst your readership….

Kristin
11 years ago

There are so many days that I wish that someone would say that to me…

Lori
Lori
11 years ago

Perfect.

Katie
Katie
11 years ago

LOVE Elizabeth Berg and LOVE that quote. Now I need to go back and re-read Pull of the Moon!

Maureen
Maureen
11 years ago

Melissa H-her first fiction book is Durable Goods, and I would start there. Just because it is REALLY good!

I love her books so much, they have such meaning and depth to them. Every few years, I go back and read them all over again. Wonderful, wonderful writer with great appeal, I found out a few years ago she is my brother’s favorite author. How cool is that?

Amber
Amber
11 years ago

That’s an amazing quote – thanks for sharing! I will need to read some Elizabeth Berg PRONTO.

Also, friendly little editing note to you: the last time you reference the author’s name, under the quote – it says Elizabeth Beg, not Berg. I mean, I don’t even CARE, but I thought you might like to know….? Anyhow. Feel free to ignore me and my involuntary proofreading response to things I read.

adequatemom
11 years ago

Man, Elizabeth Berg. She just GETS it. Love this quote – I can definitely relate! Here’s a quote from a very different book, to which I had a similar response: “They were starved for contact and longing to tell the truth.” (Boy in the Moon, by Ian Brown.) It’s referring to special needs parents, specifically, but I think it applies to all parents at some point!

seadragon
11 years ago

Oh yes, I almost burst into tears just reading that quote.

And that is after I was just cracking up reading your commentary on your Mother’s Day pictures.

Run4Donuts
11 years ago

Wow. Just… wow.

Laura
Laura
11 years ago

That touched a nerve with me for sure. Thank you for sharing that. Its been a while since I’ve read anything by her, but you’re right, she’s just ‘knows’. Going to find some Elizabeth Berg to read soon.

T
T
11 years ago

Dammit, woman…I’m going to have to stop reading your posts at work. It’s usually the laugh-snort that gets me, but today you’ve made me weepy. If I had YOUR posts in a book, there would be many a dog-eared page.

Danell
Danell
11 years ago

Ditto what T said…although I would probably end up with more dog eared pages than not.

lindsayc
lindsayc
11 years ago

I am going to go out and find her books, thanks for the inspiration.

Metanoia
11 years ago

Thank you for this quote. I am glad to see you are still blogging and writing. We never “knew” each other, but you were one of my favorites on diaryland and we left messages from time to time. I always enjoyed your wit, enthusiasm, candor and insight. Glad to “read” you again. All the best to you.

Cheryl
11 years ago

OMG – I needed that! I’ve got a five-year-old and a three-month-old (both boys), and today has been rife with “Mamma watch this”, “Mamma hold this”, “Mamma, give me your cup of coffee because my train needs a coffee freight car!”

Absolutely perfect quote for my day :-)

Lindsay
Lindsay
11 years ago

Although I don’t have kids yet, I work in a room of twenty 3 and 4 year olds, and man…That quote really hits home! At least I still have the luxury of turning off those responsibilities when I get home!

Christy
Christy
11 years ago

Yes. Full to the brim.

Jessica
11 years ago

Beautiful. I’m going to try to grab that book from my local library. Thanks for sharing.

Mary
Mary
11 years ago

That quote certainly captures well the loneliness (mixed in with joy) one feels as a mama. Thanks for sharing!

Carrie
Carrie
11 years ago

I need to start reading Elizabeth Berg. Thanks for sharing!

Frannie
Frannie
11 years ago

Thank you for sharing this Linda!

Kris
Kris
11 years ago

Love her, just because she’s able to write so honestly. I get those AHA! moments from Anita Shreve every so often, as well.