Frank Griffin loves his wife and his eight-year-old
daughter Zoe and is prepared to do everything in his power
to keep his family together. He suspects his wife Ellen is
having an affair with her teacher who is giving a night
course in auto repair, but Frank is prepared to wait until
she comes to her senses and gets it out of her system and
never confront her with it.
It is Ellen who brings things out in the open by admitting
she is in love with Peter and wants a divorce. Griffin
refuses to give her one and won't move out of the house or
their bedroom. Ellen finds the whole situation awkward and
finally moves into her own apartment but she's at the house
every day to take care of their daughter until Griffin
comes home. Their impasse is finally broken when Griffin
is ready to listen to what Ellen needs to say.
There is not a lot of action in SAY WHEN but it is a
fascinating character study about two people who share
space but fail to communicate. There are many funny
moments in the book especially the scene when Ellen and her
date meet Griffin and his date at the movie house. The two
protagonists are both decent and kind people who go out of
their way to make sure any disruptions in their daughter's
life are kept to a minimum. Elizabeth Berg has written a
heartwarming tale focusing on human frailties.