Elizabeth Berg's Durable Goods is a poignant and enduring vel -- a masterful work that gently captures the subtle nuances of childhood's end and the pain, sorrow and stirring promise of inevitable transformation. It is the story of Katie, a young girl struggling with her life and emotions in the sweltering heat of a Southwestern summer, on a small army base in rural Texas. Though she's been wounded by the loss of her mother to cancer and her father to grief, anger, and isolation, Katie's spirit remains miraculously strong and full of hope. She is filled with unsuppressed longings: for a boy to fall in love with her the way Dickie Mac has fallen for her sister; for the day her father stops hitting her; for everything in her life to change. And she kws that day is coming soon.