Another bedside drama from prolific bestseller Berg (Open House, 2000, etc.), again featuring her preferred plotline of a woman in emotional distress finding herself against all odds.
At 51, visiting nurse Myra Lipinsky has been lonely for as far back as she can remember. “I come into the evening like I’m coming onto a stretch of bad road. Tighten my hands on the wheel. Sit up straight. Wait for it to be over.” A kindhearted softy, Myra takes a personal interest in all her patients. Among this colorful if standard lot are Rose Banovitz, a forgetful old woman who wears her slip on the outside; Fitz Walters, a blind patron of strip clubs; Grace, a teenaged mother terrified of mishandling her newborn; and DeWitt Washington, a black drug dealer with a gunshot wound who’s nonetheless so charming that anyone would want him for a neighbor and friend. Into this picture come Chip Reardon, the high-school football hero Myra adored from afar, and Diann Briedenbach, his equally popular girlfriend, who used to call upon Myra for consolation when she was feeling insecure. Chip has come home to die from a brain tumor, and Myra has been assigned to his case. He’s happy to see her; she’s delirious with joy to be near him, despite 30 years and the tumor. She even invites Diann to stay at her house, re-creating their ménage à trois. But this time, with Diann’s blessing, Myra wins Chip: only she is able to bear his degeneration. In fact, she is so much in love that when Chip makes the decision to end his life, Myra not only agrees to stay with him but secretly plans to commit suicide as well, although she ultimately grants herself a reprieve.
Berg wastes her considerable writing talent on a contrived, familiar story, and a likable but implausible protagonist. Still, who can argue with success?