The Story of Arthur Truluv

The Story of Arthur Truluv

by Elizabeth Berg


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“I dare you to read this novel and not fall in love with Arthur Truluv. His story will make you laugh and cry, and will show you a love that never ends, and what it means to be truly human.”—Fannie Flagg

An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them

“Fans of Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, or [Elizabeth] Berg’s previous novels will appreciate the richly complex characters and clear prose. Redemptive without being maudlin, this story of two misfits lucky to have found one another will tug at readers’ heartstrings.”—Booklist

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. 

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.

Look for a sneak peek of Elizabeth Berg’s delightful new novel, Night of Miracles, in the back of the book.

“For several days after [finishing The Story of Arthur Truluv], I felt lifted by it, and I found myself telling friends, also feeling overwhelmed by 2017, about the book. Read this, I said, it will offer some balance to all that has happened, and it is a welcome reminder we’re all neighbors here.”Chicago Tribune

“Not since Paul Zindel’s classic The Pigman have we seen such a unique bond between people who might not look twice at each other in real life. This small, mighty novel offers proof that they should.”People, Book of the Week

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594900139
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/21/2017
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 17,236
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago.


Chicago, Illinois

Date of Birth:

December 2, 1948

Place of Birth:

St. Paul, Minnesota


Attended the University of Minnesota; St. Mary¿s College, A.A.S.

Read an Excerpt

In the six months since the November day that his wife, Nola, was buried, Arthur Moses has been having lunch with her every day. He rides the bus to the cemetery and when he gets there, he takes his sweet time walking over to her plot: she will be there no matter when he arrives. She will be there and be there and be there.

Excerpted from "The Story of Arthur Truluv"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Elizabeth Berg.
Excerpted by permission of Diversified Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

pie crust makes 2
1 cup Crisco
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup ice-­cold water
Use a pastry blender or fork to mix the Crisco into the flour, salt, and sugar until the dough is pea-­sized. Add the water gradually until the dough forms itself into a ball (you may use a bit more or less water, as needed). Divide the dough and roll it out with a good rolling pin on a floured surface (I use a pastry cloth); move quickly, rolling in one direction, not back and forth. Act like you know what you’re doing. The pie crust will rebel if it knows you’re afraid.

1. What did the epigraphs mean to you before you read the book? Did they seem to hint at any major themes in The Story of Arthur Truluv? How did the meaning of the epigraphs change for you, after you finished the book?

2. Arthur has a special connection to the dead. Every day he talks to his late wife, and he sees glimpses into the lives of other people who are buried in the cemetery. Do you think the connection he has with the dead influences how he views and lives his life?

3. Maddy is bullied by her classmates, both at her school and online. How does this effect the choices she makes early in the book, and how is she eventually able to overcome it?

4. Lucille is an incredibly talented baker. She puts so much time and effort into her recipes that it seems like more than just a hobby to her. What role does baking play in her life, and in the relationships she has with others?

5. Maddy and her father have a strained relationship. Why is it so difficult for him to give Maddy the affection and support she needs? Do you feel sympathy for him and the situation he is in? Does their relationship change over the course of the book?

6. Maddy and Arthur have many differences, the biggest of which is their difference in age. When they first get to know each other, there is a funny scene that highlights this, in which Maddy tries to get Arthur to use a curse word. Do you think differences in a friendship are an advantage or a disadvantage? Can you think of an example where this is true in other works of literature or in your own life?

7. Although Maddy never knew Nola, she honors her in a beautiful way at the end of the book. Why do you think she does this?

8. There is a popular adage that says: “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” That statement feels especially true for the characters in The Story of Arthur Truluv, who build an unconventional family out of friendship. Have you ever had friends that are as dear to you as family, or who are even closer to you than your relatives?

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The Story of Arthur Truluv 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a sweet book about a sweet elderly man who is mourning the death of his wife. During this time he befriends a teenage girl that he meets in the cemetery where his wife is buried. He and his elderly next door neighbor help each other navigate the avenues of their individual grief while giving the young girl the love and attention that is missing in her life. It is a feel good book that I highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful story - very touching AND emotional. Pulls at the heart strings as only Elizabeth Berg can do with her fantastic writing. Thank you for another great book to add to my collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted this book to never end and I would love to know and be friends with the three main characters, it would be an honor I
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! Just finished reading this book. How powerful! What lessons to be learned from it. Ms. Berg has outdone herself. One of the most engrossing novels I've ever read. Right up there with To Kill A Mockingbird. Thank you Ms. Berg for time well spent reading this novel.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Truly dipped his ladle in a bucket of love which never ran dry. That is how he shared his gift with all.
Windi 5 months ago
This world needs more Arthur Truluvs! Elizabeth Berg has written a beautiful story, and though the characters are fictitious, I could feel them in my heart and know that there is a version of them somewhere in this world all around us, if only we will open our eyes and our hearts to see. I chose to read this book after reading the Confession Club, not realizing that book was the third in the series. Having loved it so much I knew I had to go back and start from the beginning. I am so happy I did and I can't get the 2nd book fast enough (waiting for it to show up on my library shelf - someone else has it out at the moment). Great Book Elizabeth Berg! Thank you for writing this - and reminding us there are truly good people in this world - and those who need to just be loved! Readers - read this but go on and get the 2nd and 3rd books in the series while you are at it - you won't want to wait; I promise. Favorite quote: "Sometimes I wonder what the world would sound like if everybody stopped their complaining. It sure would be a quiet place." (If only!) Funniest quote: "Like farting into a thunderstorm?" (giggling again - can't wait to use this one!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great feel good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You won't be disappointed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MamaHendo More than 1 year ago
Every day at noon 85 year old Arthur Moses can be found in the same place - eating his lunch at his wife Nola's grave. Arthur wouldn't miss his daily visits to her for anything. He fills her in on his day to day happenings since she passed six months ago. Arthur misses Nola so very much. Maddy is a girl on the verge of adulthood whose home life is less than miserable and is on her way out of an unhealthy relationship. Maddy can't wait to escape the hell that is High School. She has no friends, can't go a day without someone tossing a disparaging comment her way and finds her only peace among the trees at the cemetery during her lunch breaks. This is where the unlikely duo meet for the first time, on one of their daily lunch trips. Arthur's neighbor, Lucille, is a retired school teacher and is equally lonely. She keeps Arthur's cookie jar full with her homemade baking. The three of them become an unlikely trio that prove that sometimes its the family that you create for yourself that ends up being the greatest blessing. Berg has written an absolutely heartwarming book. Some compare Arthur to Ove from Fredrick Backman's book "A Man Called Ove" but I found Arthur to be much more of a genuinely caring soul right from the start. Nothing had to be chipped away for the reader to fall in love with his heart of gold. Add this one to your must read list. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love stories by Elizabeth Berg and this is no exception. Really a good feel book. Read it in one setting. Thank you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a true "feel good" story. Well written, it not only lifts your spirits, it hold your interest all the way. Highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet wonderful book; could hardly put it down. Elizabeth Berg has become a favorite author.
SGMomma More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful story with wonderful characters. Definitely need the tissues handy for this story. Left me with a happy and satisfied feeling when I put it down. I normally read murder mysteries and science fiction, but wasn't ready for how quickly this story.pulled me in. You won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a lovely story, Arthur was special and taught Maddie so much. I loved this book.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
This was a charming story, I appreciated the diverse ages of the characters and how the women grew. Arthur will remind many of a Backman character or two, but that's ok. I think this would make a great book club read, I would have loved to discuss it with someone after I read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Similar to Ove, but different enough. Makes you think. Hopefully makes us kinder. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It's so true to life to people as they age. It's filled with unexpected flashes of delightful humor. What a treasure!
Rubyroo1 More than 1 year ago
How utterly delightful! This book really played on my heartstrings. It is unusual for an avid reader to get to the end of a book and not wish that something had played out just a little differently, but as I finished "The Story of Arthur Truluv", I thought that each line in this book was exactly as it should be. Lots of reviewers describe this as a feel-good book, and maybe it is. I found it to be transformational- making the ordinary into extraordinary. Within this book is this transformative individual, Arthur, who chooses to look beyond the ordinary and be awakened to delight by the love he continues to share with his newly deceased wife. He is a simple old man who has a sixth sense about the world of both the living and the dead. His ability to know things about the people who are buried in the cemetery where he visits his wife's grave is indicative of his insight and openness to the world in spite of his age. Rather than seeming supernatural, he seems more in touch with the world around him to the point that he experiences things that other people miss. This genuine concern for others is what brings he, Maddy, and Lucille together. The magic is that he is able to transform the lives of these two people who he welcomes into his home. Ms. Berg creates a direct inference from his life skills as a gardener to his ability to grow and bring these women's lives into full flower. I agree with many readers, including the author, who have already said that we all need an Arthur in our life. Speaking of Ms. Berg, she can rest assured that I "got it", and I suspect so will many other readers. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Not everyone will appreciate it, but the world would be a much better place if they did. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title. Please give us more like this, Random House and Ms. Berg!
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this story of three lonely people who come together as a family with heartwarming details and lots of laughs. The style of writing reminded me very much of Frederik Backman and I truly love his books. My first book by this author, however, it won't be my last. A very emotional, poignant and funny, at times, story that will either leave you needing tissues, or at least with tears in your eyes. Thanks to Random House and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the sweetest and best books that I have ever read. A warm story of generations of simple people bringing each other what each needs in life. Truly heartwarming.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Oh Arthur! This guy had a soft heart and these two ladies waltzed right into it. I really loved Maddie. Arthur met Maddie in the cemetery where she would sit and draw. They had a comfortable relationship, where nothing was expected, and it was as if the air relaxed a bit when they were together. Arthur went to the cemetery daily to visit his wife, Nola. He would keep Nola up-to-date with all the latest information he had, as he missed her so. Lucille lives across the street from Arthur and she has good intentions but she also has high energy. Lucille is a busy-body and boy, does she like to talk. The three of these individuals make a great mix in this novel. Maddie is pretty much a loner who goes to school. She hangs out at the cemetery where she sees Arthur daily but really doesn’t say anything to him. Arthur notices Maddie at the cemetery daily too while he’s eating his lunch and talking to Nola but again, he doesn’t converse with Maddie. It only takes one day and then, the two of them finally start talking and a friendship emerges. Lucille, from across the street gets involved when Maddie begins coming over to Arthur’s house. I like the difference in ages between the characters and how they each have something to offer to each other. With different personalities, they can compromise and talk to work things out. It’s a sweet book and one that will leave a smile on your face.
bookaholique More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a book that will make you chuckle and warm your heart, this is it! A delightful story of three individuals and the path they took to become a family. This was truly a gem of a story. ARC from Random House via Netgalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One special story that shows families come in different ways.
ForTheArtOfIt More than 1 year ago
The cover of this book made me think of the movie "Up!" which is why I requested it. I find stories that capture the relationship between young people and older people enchanting. Arthur is not a grumpy old man, though he is lonely. He visits the cemetery every day to share lunch with his deceased wife and one day meets a young teen named Maddie who is also starved for connection with people. Arthur reaches out to her and without hesitation invites her into his sphere. She is doubtful of his friendship and invitation to visit anytime; he is quick to reassure that she she should have "come yesterday". Arthur recognizes the need for human interaction in those in his neighborhood and seeks to include them. He opens his home to a troubled teen and a grieving neighbor and the three of them form a unique family that has such a deep bond even though nothing else connects them. It's really magical to experience. Berg has done a masterful job of exploring the ideas of love and acceptance and the gentle caring for each other. This book makes me realize: it really can be this easy to love our neighbors - and what a rich blessing to all involved when we choose to be open and accepting. Additionally, Berg has some exquisite writing in this novel. She has a way of writing and my heart responds: "Yes, that's exactly how it is/was/feels". One of my favorite quotes from the book is this: For everything there truly is a season; if his life's work has not taught him that, it has taught him nothing. The birth of spring, the fullness of summer, the push of glory in the fall, the quiet of winter. (location 2279)