WE ARE ALL WELCOME HERE Welcomes Me Back
I picked We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg off my bookshelf because I had a writing question I thought it might answer in the first couple of chapters (How does a first person narrator tell stories about things that happened before she was born), and I two days later I put it down, not because it answered my question (though it did), but because I had read the whole book. I’d read it before—I don’t know for sure if I would have continued had I not been on my re-reading kick, though I’m not sure I could have stopped myself, even though I knew everything that would happen—but even on this second reading, I finished in tears. The best kind of reading tears: when an ending is sad and happy and painful and beautiful all at once. It’s a book about a girl growing up with a mom who, as a result of polio contracted in her ninth month of pregnancy, cannot breathe or move anything below her neck. But it’s also about civil rights in the 1960’s American south and friendship and Elvis. It’s got lines that hit you with a hard thump in the middle of the chest, but it’s also got a lot of lines that make you smile, or maybe even laugh a little. It’s not a book that I intentionally put on my To Read Again list, but I’m sure happy it made it’s way there on it’s own. It’s a fierce and determined and stubborn book that way, kind of like its heroines.