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Review & Giveaway: Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel

[ 39 ] August 1, 2012 |

Reviewed by Jill Franclemont

Goodbye for Now is ostensibly the story of Sam Elling, a computer coding whiz-kid who works for an internet dating company. But it seems to me it’s really the tale of the quest for love and happiness in a technologically overwhelmed world that continually blurs the lines between physical reality and cyber-simulation. This overlay is precisely the kind of goofy juxtaposition of people and situations that the author, Laurie Frankel, expertly weaves throughout this surprisingly touching and deftly navigated tale of life, love, and loss.

In a very small nutshell, Sam develops a computer program to match people with their soul mate, gets fired by the dating company because they lose business, develops a computer program that helps the girl of his dreams “talk” to her dead grandmother – and then turns that program into a business to help others deal with the death of loved ones. Hard to imagine how that could go wrong in any way, shape, or form, isn’t it? (I’m not making light of this, don’t misunderstand; my point is that, as with all things, no good deed of Sam’s goes unpunished.)

Of course, things don’t play out the way Sam intends them to. We all know how good intentions usually play out, now don’t we? But the journey Sam, his girlfriend Meredith, and their friends and family take is a fascinating and well-crafted one, full of the bumps and bruises and life-altering-but-seemingly-unimportant-at-the-time moments that make real life frustrating and challenging and beautiful and magical and devastating and uplifting in turns.

There’s a lot of food for thought here, packaged nicely in a very palatable and enjoyable love story. In this world in which the boundaries of the possible are constantly being pushed, in which the aforementioned lines between reality and simulation are constantly growing fuzzier, all focus is on what can be done. Frankel reminds us that there’s another vastly element in the equation of possibility that gets ignored all too often: the difference between ‘can’ and ‘should’ – and that difference is Grand Canyon-wide.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Also by Laurie Frankel: Atlas of Love

A former corporate attorney and government relations/health policy executive, Jill-Elizabeth walked away from that world (well, skipped actually) and toward a more literary life (equally challenging, but infinitely more enjoyable). If you enjoyed this review, please visit her at Jill-Elizabeth.com, the official home of All Things Jill-Elizabeth – that is, all of the teehees, musings, rants, book reviews, writing exercises, and witticisms of her burgeoning writing career.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Doubleday. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Category: Contemporary, Giveaways, Literature & Fiction, Romance

Comments (39)

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  1. 33

    [...] Book Review: Goodbye for Now Jill Elizabeth posted this on September 11th, 2012 Happy Book Review Tuesday!  Today we’re venturing into a world of technology, death, and hope for the living – but, surprise surprise, it’s actually quite an uplifting trip…  My review copy of Goodbye for Nowwas provided courtesy of LuxuryReading.com, which also hosted the original (shorter) post of this book review on August 2, 2012 (available here). [...]

  2. 32
  3. 31
    lindsey says:

    just about everything, if something ever happened where “gadgets” wouldn’t worked, humanity for the most part would be royaly screwed

  4. 30
    Michael says:

    Existential novels always get my attention

    • 30.1

      This was an interesting one Michael – a premise that sounds sci-fi futuristic, until you start thinking about the realities of the world we live in. Then you realize it’s probably NOT that far-fetched, and that’s when the story takes on a whole new level of interesting, I think. There are a couple of parts where it dragged a bit and could have used some tighter editing, but by and large it was quite a thought-provoking piece – wrapped in the trappings of a love story…

      Thanks for the book-related comment! :) (Incidentally, that’s why I haven’t responded to the others; as a guest reviewer, I don’t feel comfortable commenting beyond the scope of the book. Thanks for understanding.)
      Jill Elizabeth recently posted..The State of the Union, Jill-Elizabeth Style

  5. 29
    Evan says:

    Facebook privacy issues in recent years. Definitely questionable at times.

  6. 28
    latisha mcclarin says:

    the only tech would be cloning definitely

  7. 27
    Jennifer Ryder says:

    Cell phones and texting.

  8. 26
    Maureen says:

    I think cloning goes too far.

  9. 25
    rachel m says:

    Having internet and a camera on your phone. You never know when some random stranger will snap a picture of you and you’ll be their next facebook status update.

  10. 24
    Lori P says:

    Genetic Engineering really pushes the limits!

  11. 23
    librarypat says:

    I don’t like the idea that devices like Kindle can track what you read, for how long, and where. Other internet functions track your searches and use. We should be able to relax and read or look something up without someone looking over our shoulder.

  12. 22
    Anita Yancey says:

    I think that the internet has gone to far. It makes it so easy for people to get your personal information. I would love to read this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  13. 21
    Alyce says:

    There’s a relatively new MRI called fMRI which can look at the brain waves and project an image of what your brain is seeing. It’s got some very useful applications, but I find it too close to mind reading for comfort. I can just imagine some horrid dictator using something more sophisticated to mistreat people in the future. The mind is truly the last bastion of privacy.
    Alyce recently posted..Saturday Snapshot – August 4

  14. 20
    Daniel M says:

    cell phones, i’m sick of them everywhere all the time nonstop

  15. 19
    Chelsea says:

    Twitter or Foursquare. I never liked those much.
    Chelsea recently posted..Gift Hulk Announcement

  16. 18
    Beth C says:

    Cell phones and texting!

  17. 17
    Sammi says:

    facebook – sick of it being mandatory for companies

  18. 16
    gail says:

    facebook

  19. 15
    Justine says:

    I agree with other commenters that the default privacy settings on Facebook (and other social media) are scary. Check your settings!

  20. 14
    Lisa Garrett says:

    I think sometimes that all technology has replaced our socialization.

    • 14.1
      Jhon says:

      Beverly Thomas I like to think being addicted to exescire is better then being addicted to food. A few years ago I was in a downward spiral where I could not eat enough to stuff my feelings and I found that I could put on weight very fast. this was before my first child. Once I was pregnant I used it as excuse to eat and gain weight. I finally had to give my will to god and he helped me see that i could no longer stuff my feelings. I went to therapy for some undelt with child hood junk and for the first time started exercising. I have never stopped! So I think exescire is a good thing and I think everyone is different with how often they should do it. For me it’s a daily habit that has helped me rid of the 40 excesses pounds I had on my body and has also left me feeling very healthy. Great information Jill! I have appreciated your tips all summer long.

  21. 13
    KATHLEEN BIANCHI says:

    I think the book sounded the scariest of all to me.

    • 13.1

      It was eerie, Kathleen. Definitely. There is, as you’d expect, a lot of discussion in the narrative about the implications of the program to “bring back” the dead. Characters disagree wildly about the motivation, the purpose, the ethics, and the practicality of doing so. For me, that was one of the most interesting aspects of the story – watching the characters present their positions and the rationales behind them…
      Jill Elizabeth recently posted..Book Review: Visit Sunny Chernobyl

  22. 12
    Cindi says:

    Cell phones, texting, people talking on their
    phones, instead of acknowledging people…
    Unsafe and rude!
    Thanks, Cindi

  23. 11
    Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I think telephone technology has gone too far. Tore923@aol.com

  24. 10
    nylne says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of Goodby For Now!

  25. 9
    Carl says:

    I actually think that telephone technology has really gone over the top. Texting while driving scares me to death and what on earth do people talk about all the time?

  26. 8
    Colleen Turner says:

    I think the various types of “online” dating and “speed” dating have gone way too far! The idea that you can be matched up with your soul mate or someone you will fall in love with based on some questions and online interactions is ridiculous to me…also a little scary as you never know what you will get!

    • 8.1

      I’m inclined to agree Colleen – there are so many intangibles/unexplainables (if I can make up a word) involved in connecting with someone else… A list of compatible characteristics just isn’t enough.
      Jill Elizabeth recently posted..Book Review: Visit Sunny Chernobyl

    • 8.2

      For all the commenters on online privacy/content:

      There are a slew of places where the book dances around on this topic. It avoids dealing directly with it, at least as far as any resolution or definite author-opinion. There is a lot of time spent on the effects of using online information but not a lot of discussion of the ramifications of doing so. There is a very interesting plot line involving one of the main characters’ parents that delves into the “can” vs. “should” nature of the online “simulations” of the people who have died, that I think you might find interesting in this vein…

      Thanks for the comments.
      Jill Elizabeth recently posted..Book Review: Visit Sunny Chernobyl

  27. 7
    Cyndee Thomas says:

    I think chat rooms on the Internet are out of control. Sex predators are getting to our innocent children who are easily talked in to meeting up and being taken.This was a very good question to ask!
    Cyndee Thomas
    cyndee.thomas0@gmail.com

  28. 6

    I think the technology that has gone too far is the FourSquare thing where people check in where they are. No one online needs to know where you are all the time – that could be dangerous!
    StephTheBookworm recently posted..Review: With My Body by Nikki Gemmell

  29. 5
    Sandra K321 says:

    Facebook privacy requirements are getting quite out of hand.

  30. 4
    Linda Kish says:

    I think it’s amazing how much we can do with computers and phones now that we couldn’t do in the past but people need to give it a rest once in awhile. Turn things off and give your brain a rest and actually talk to people face to face. You don’t need to be connected 24/7.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  31. 3
    Chrissy says:

    I’m not sure. I don’t like the decreased privacy on social networking sites…that can be fixed, but the companies don’t seem to want to.
    Chrissy recently posted..Blog Tour: Spotlight – Immigration and Adaptation by Haskell D. Edwards

  32. 2
    Ana Cunha says:

    Time traveling. I hope we never get there.

  33. 1
    Carol Wong says:

    Thank you for this review. I have reviewed it for GoodReads. I thought that the beginning would have been better if it was shortened but I did enjoy it and caused me to stop reading several time and consider the ideas presented:

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13155271-goodbye-for-now

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

    • 1.1

      Excellent – I like seeing other people’s reviews! I’m always curious if people find the same things interesting/not so interesting… I will check out your review Carol, thanks for the link!

      I definitely liked the premise a lot; there were a handful of spots where tighter editing could have evened out the pace and I think that would have made the book even better. Overall though, I did quite enjoy it. Thanks for the comment!
      Jill Elizabeth recently posted..Book Review: Visit Sunny Chernobyl

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