The Story of Arthur Truluv, by Elizabeth Berg

If you’ve been teaching the apartheid in South Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, and the human rights violations of the chocolate industry in western Africa, then you absolutely should be reading The Story of Arthur Truluv at the end of your day.  But even if this hasn’t been your week, Berg’s novel is something everyone can enjoy after surviving whatever stressors life used to toss you under the bus with today.  (Sidenote: I LOVE teaching the richness and beauty and incredible history and geography of Africa.  It exhausts me every year, but I wouldn’t trade these amazing conversations with my students for anything.)

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a truly NICE tale.  Quiet.  Simple.  Powerful.  From page one, we fall in love with Arthur who visits his dead wife, Nola, at the cemetery every day, rain or shine.  There is tragedy in the story, of course.  And a fair amount of grief, but 85-year-old Arthur and his eclectic group of new friends learn ways to lean on each other and find their way through.  It’s a book you can relax with, a nice warm bath for sore muscles.  That first sip of wine or beer (or Sprite with a shot of grenadine) after the shoes come off at the end of the day.  It’s that delicious silence when everyone else in the house has taken their questions and problems and demands on your time to bed with them.

Read The Story of Arthur Truluv to remember that there ARE good people in the world, even when the news and social media and the comments in YouTube might convince you otherwise.  Read the book to explore a perhaps simpler way of looking at the loss of our loved ones, either through death or desertion.  And read the story to meet Gordan the cat, who, not unsurprisingly, steals every scene he’s in and seems truly indifferent to whatever plot schemes the author might have had in mind and simply does what he wishes in his onery, cat-like ways. 

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