The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

And Other Small Acts of Liberation

Book - 2008 | 1st large print ed
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Random House, Inc.
Exhilarating short stories of women breaking free from convention

Every now and then, right in the middle of an ordinary day, a woman rebels, kicks up her heels, and commits a small act of liberation.

What would you do, if you were going to break out and away? Go AWOL from Weight Watchers and spend an entire day eating every single thing you want–and then some? Start a dating service for people over fifty to reclaim the razzle-dazzle in your life–or your marriage? Seek comfort in the face of aging, look for love in the midst of loss, find friendship in the most surprising of places?

Imagine that the people in these wonderful stories–who do all of these things and more–are asking you: What would you do, if nobody was looking?

From the Hardcover edition.

Baker & Taylor
An anthology of short fiction explores the lives of women breaking free of the convention that controls their lives, in a collection that includes the title story about a woman who goes on a happiness binge after ditching Weight Watchers.

Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, c2008
Edition: 1st large print ed
ISBN: 9780739327838
Branch Call Number: Lg Print Fiction Ber
Characteristics: 251 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Aug 19, 2020

Loved this simple but elegant collection of stories. Elizabeth Berg is a wonderful writer. Some essays were lighthearted but some had a deeper message. Berg uses simple analogies like when she describes a fantasy as "like a bug under a leaf." Perhaps the best piece in the collection is the rambling "how to make an apple pie." Flo is hilarious in her descriptions such as, "that is so the apples have time to meet and greet before they go into the oven." The underlined sentence, "You must not let the crust know you are afraid of it," is so true. Cooking is like riding a bike. First you painstakingly follow a recipe and then one day the training wheels come off and you just go with the flow. Berg has captured this beautifully through Flo's letter. "Sin City" may be all about fun but is just as profound as when Rita comments looking out of the airplane window that it seems to that the earth is being offered up by a benevolent force that understands nothing belongs to anyone unless it belongs to everyone.

FindingJane Jun 23, 2016

In this shining collection of short stories, various people decide to cast caution to the winds and do just as they like, if only for a short while. In tales alternately bittersweet, amusing, tender, heartbreaking and quietly contemplative and often revolving around food or consumption, Berg’s cast of characters coaxes the reader to dare—just a little—with her own act of rebellion. For those who have never read Berg’s fiction before now, this book graced with a friendly lemon yellow cover and a line drawing that reverses and winkingly twists Jean-Baptiste-Dominique Ingres’s “La Grande Odalisque” is a perfect introduction, with each story like a small sweet to be popped into the mouth and savored.

Mar 29, 2015

Humorous and liberating, this collection of short stories addresses the anxieties, humiliations, stresses, and ultimate joy experienced throughout life.

BrigidScott May 06, 2013


Jun 19, 2012

I would rather read a novel by Elizabeth Berg (one of my favorite authors), but she cracked me up with some of her witty observations.

Jul 11, 2011

Great title, and there were some lovely bits of writing in this collection, but somehow the individual stories didn't add up to a great read for me. I've enjoyed Berg's novels more.

madame_librarian Jan 20, 2011

Berg’s wonderful short stories—witty and droll yet expressing a knowing sympathy for her characters—are perfectly crafted gems of self discovery, change, and renewal. The stories contain a broad range of personalities and situations: the pre-teen on the edge of puberty whose self image as a cute girl is devastatingly changed when she overhears a cousin call her a fatty; the older couple reduced to ridiculous displays grief and wondering if life’s worth living when their aged dog is dying; a recipe for apple pie in a charming, chatty letter that reveals a great deal about the love for simple things the writer wishes to share; and my favorite about three women friends of a certain age who make a pact to reconnect with old flames and return to a dinner gathering to report on the results (the rapid-fire dialogue in this one is simply spot on). The title story is about every dieter’s dream rebellion. For a whole day the narrator splurges on whatever foods she wants, and delights in recounting her choices and the delicious sinfulness of it all. Why don’t you splurge on this gourmet selection of great reading? I promise it’s low cal, but oh, so yummy.

-Madame Librarian


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Jul 11, 2011

What does she expect? That her children will one day come to her with a long list of things for which they finally want to thank her? No. They will not do that. Nor will they come to her with a long list of slights. She will hide her list and they will hide theirs.

Jul 11, 2011

Every day, take a walk unless you are too tired or it's cold out. Do not pass grocery stores. Or bakeries. Or restaurants. Basically, walk in the woods and worry that someone will kill you for recreational sport before you've even come close to your target weight.

Jul 11, 2011

Do you think that people ever really do believe they will die, that the world will just go along as always without them? I wonder if we aren't all just a little surprised at the moment of crossover, if we don't look back over our shoulders saying, Now hold on.


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