The Story of Arthur Truluv Summary & Study Guide

Elizabeth Berg
This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Story of Arthur Truluv.
This section contains 699 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Story of Arthur Truluv Summary & Study Guide Description

The Story of Arthur Truluv Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg.

This guide was made with the following version of this book: Berg, Elizabeth. The Story of Arthur Truluv. New York: Ballantine Books, 2018.

Arthur Moses, 85-year-old, visits his wife Nora's grave every afternoon for lunch. Six months have passed since her death, and on his visits to the cemetery, Arthur walks along the graves and imagines the lives of the people who reside in them. In the cemetery, he comes across Maddy Harris, a teenager who spends her time amongst the dead rather than her abusive high school peers. Having lost her mother at a young age, Maddy has a distant relationship with her father and is dating an older boy, Anderson, who is dismissive and abusive towards her. One day Anderson breaks up with Maddy, leaving her distraught.

Meanwhile, Arthur has a cautious relationship with his neighbor Lucille Howard. Lucille spends a lot of her time baking and is often dismissed by Arthur. After a particularly bad lunch that causes him discomfort, Arthur goes to visit Lucille but has to leave immediately as he is not feeling well. The incident makes Arthur feel guilty and he tries to explain to Lucille, who herself becomes cold towards him. Some time after Maddy's breakup with Anderson, she and Arthur meet at the graveyard and begin to talk. Arthur invites her to his home for lunch and they discuss their problems, including Maddy's issues with Anderson and Arthur's problem with Lucille. After that, Arthur and Maddy continue to meet at the cemetery, while Lucille begins to see Frank Pearson, and old boyfriend she had never stopped loving. Lucille and Arthur make up over dinner and she tells him about Frank, and that they plan to be married. On a night that Arthur is meant to have dinner with the couple, Frank is admitted into a hospital for a heart attack and passes away, leaving Lucille distraught.

Maddy soon finds out that she is pregnant and fights with her father over whether to get an abortion or keep the baby. She decides to keep the baby but her father strongly disagrees, prompting her to leave home. Arthur receives a note from Maddy, where she says she hopes to see him at Nora's grave because it is her birthday. Though Arthur has a present wrapped, he is unable to go due to feeling unwell. Maddy then stops arriving at the cemetery. Arthur is approached by Maddy's father, who apprises him of Maddy having left home, telling him that she maintains contact but will not meet him. Arthur helps Lucille gradually get back on her feet, encouraging her to begin baking lessons in her home. One day, Arthur comes across Maddy at the cemetery and she tells him she has been living with her teacher Mr. Lyon, who has arranged for her to attend a college with facilities for single mothers. Maddy then asks to become Arthur's housekeeper in exchange for room and board and he agrees.

As Maddy moves in and settles into life with Arthur, she takes over the work of the house, letting the older man feel content with his life. Soon thereafter, Lucille begins to feel increasingly lonely in her home, so she asks Arthur if she could move in with him and Maddy, and he acquiesces. Though there is some friction between Maddy and Lucille early on, they soon get used to one another. One day, Maddy sees Anderson at Walmart while shopping and brushes him off. At Thanksgiving, Maddy invites her father to Thanksgiving at Arthur's home and they have a pleasant evening together. Determined not to be alone, Lucille sells her home.

Maddy progresses in her pregnancy and deals with the turbulent anxiety of her delivery and what will come after. Despite his failing health that he refuses to see a doctor about, Arthur remains involved in Maddy and Lucille's life, providing the younger girl with emotional support as she comes closer to her delivery. Arthur is incapacitated by the time of the child's birth, and Maddy brings her daughter to him. Some time after Arthur has passed away, Maddy visits the cemetery as Arthur used, and brings her daughter, who she named Nora.

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