Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Operator by Gretchen Berg

The Operator
Good Day!  Silent Shadows by Natalie Walters will be out on March 31 along with Thursday's Bride by Patricia JohnsDeep Fried Revenge by Lynn Cahoon releases on April 7 as well as Death of a Bean Counter by Sandra Balzo.  Is there a upcoming release you are looking forward to reading?  Please let me know!
The Operator by Gretchen Berg takes readers to Wooster, Ohio in December of 1952.  Vivian Dalton has been working at Ohio Bell Telephone Company since she was fifteen years old.  It was the perfect job for Vivian since she has loved listening to gossip since she was a child.  Now she gets to listen in on phone calls and get the dirt on all her neighbors.  On this cold December evening, Vivian puts a call through to Betty Miller, a rich, snooty woman who considers herself above others. Vivian hears some shocking information about her family.  If this information gets out, Vivian will be humiliated.  Vivian sets out to learn if there is truth to the rumor.  If Vivian can get ahead of the gossip, she can put her own spin on it.  She forgets, though, that where there is one secret, there are bound to be others.
Telephone Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Operator by Gretchen Berg is a lighthearted historical novel about gossip, eavesdropping and scandal.  Vivian Dalton works as a telephone operator at Ohio Bell.  She began eavesdropping on conversations at an earlier age and working at the telephone company allowed her to continue this hobby. Late one December evening, Vivian overhears a conversation between the hoity toity Betty Miller and a stranger.  The stranger tells Betty a secret about Vivian’s family which, if it gets out, will embarrass Vivian.  After getting over her anger, Vivian sets out to learn if the information is accurate.  While the story plays out in the present, we get to learn about Vivian’s growing up years and her relationship with her family.  We also learn about Betty Miller’s family and the robbery of the bank managed by Betty’s father, J. Ellis Reed.  This side story does not make sense until the end of the book.  I had a hard time getting into The Operator.  The first chapter did not pull me in (it was a turn off).  I found The Operator easier to read as I got further into the story.  I also think I had trouble because it is hard to like the main character (or any of them for that matter).  I felt the author captured the time period with the fashions, vehicles, the language, and events.  I like how Gretchen Berg included Orson Welles’s “War of the Worlds’ Martian invasion broadcast.  She captured the panic it created beautifully.  I did feel The Operator was too long.  It could have benefited from some judicious editing.  This is Gretchen Berg’s debut novel which is loosely based on her grandmother (author’s note at end explains about newspaper articles and poems included).  There are some recipes included in The Operator.  The Operator is a blithe story about rampant rumormongering, endless eavesdropping, superior standards, and harmful hearsay.
"The Party Line" by Norman Rockwell
The Operator is available from Amazon* and other major booksellers.  Thank you for joining me today. Tomorrow I am sharing my review of The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason. It is the third book in the Canadian Crossings series.  I hope that you have a magical day.  By the way. . . Did you hear about the librarian who was sent to jail?  The judge threw the book at him.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Speed Bump Comic Strip, August 04, 2015     on
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