“With Every Good-bye” by Terri Watrous Berry is a story of a young woman, Marti, who is trying to finally grow up. She is married and has two children, but her husband has recently left her and she is having an extremely hard time dealing with the situation. She grew up well loved and protected, and her early married life seemed to be equally as safe. When it came crashing down, Marti was not well prepared for the harsh reality, retreating behind the walls of her home in the vain hope of staying invisible and thus protected. A well-meant invitation for a night out with her friend, Paula, made her realize that there were other things and other people out there, and she started to explore her newly found freedom and independence. That was quickly threatened by her mother and her soon to be ex-husband, and she was forced to make some really hard decisions, culminating in shocking consequences.
Terri Watrous Berry wrote a book that really made me think about the family dynamics, importance of standing up for oneself and need of finding one’s path in life. Reading about the run-ins that Marti had with her mother, Beatrice, and of all of her attempts to please her mother, was a bittersweet experience. I feel certain that mothers and daughters everywhere will find a lot to relate to in this segment of the story, and they will hopefully learn how important it is to let grown children make their own choices and live their own lives the way they want to. Although very often attempts to block such independence are made with the best intent in mind, the results tend to be disastrous for everybody involved.
I found the characters in the book very well developed, believable and easy to relate to, and although I did not find them likeable I did care about what happened to them. The flow of the narrative was smooth and appropriately paced, the storyline engaging and relevant, and overall I truly enjoyed reading “With Every Good-bye.” The choices Marti made were certainly not those I would have made, but somehow that made the story even more irresistible. I do wish the book had a different ending, but then, I am an incurable optimist and a closet romantic, but I am well aware that life rarely plays out that way. This is a book that should be well received by a wide circle of readers, since it is so realistic and so heartbreakingly down-to-earth. It should be required reading for all mothers and all daughters, who could learn so much from the mistakes Marti and Beatrice made in their relationship.
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With Every Good-bye
Terri Watrous Berry
Morris Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (2/12)