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.
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