Reviews for Earth's the right place for love : a novel

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A coming-of-age story about two brothers supporting each other through life’s twists and turns in Mason, Missouri. It is the spring of 1947, and 16-year-old Arthur Moses is in love. Not the fleeting puppy love of his peers, but a deep, all-consuming love that he's certain is real. The only problem is that Nola McCollum doesn’t look his way, and when she finally does, it’s to ask Arthur to pass her number on to his older brother, Frank. Arthur says he will but instead hides the note in his desk and asks Frank for his advice on how to win Nola over. Frank needs advice for his own troubles, and Berg’s narration of the two young men whispering to each other at night in their shared bedroom lends a profound sweetness to the novel even as the boys deal with the harsh realities of their lives such as an abusive father. Despite his lack of success wooing Nola, Arthur, who loves trees and his hometown and treats everyone he meets with gentle kindness, soldiers on with calm resolve, certain that someday his brother’s advice will lead Nola to him. But when a gut-wrenching tragedy hits the Moses household, Arthur is not sure he can or should ever try to be happy again. While the relationship between the brothers is the novel’s crowning jewel, Berg’s ability to create characters—even some we meet for only a few scenes—with rich inner lives cannot be overpraised: “But he knew that now he would be seeing her in an altogether different way. There she would be, standing fierce on her stoop, but behind her would be a lot of other hers, younger hers, wearing a polka-dotted dress or a red wool suit, or the cotton-print robe she’d had to cut extra-careful to keep whole the wings of the big white birds.” A poignant tale of love, grief, and the resiliency of the human spirit. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.