I’ve been meaning to write about this book for so long (I can be a terrible book blogger, I know) and it’s made worse by the fact that I loved the novel. Frankel has developed a book that can be at once philosophical, funny and emotional. Goodbye For Now entertains in the same way as One Day, by slathering the emotion in plenty of humour so that the dark can play off of the light. The most interesting aspect is that it feels as if the novel is straddling contemporary fiction and speculative fiction.
Sam Elling is a genius at developing software and designs a groundbreaking program – so good it gets him fired from the dating website he works for – and after he meets his girlfriend Meredith, Sam uses the program for something very different. They haven’t been together long when one of Meredith’s closest relatives passes away and Sam has an idea to help his girlfriend grieve. Using his software, Sam can let people email (and not long after, video chat) their deceased loved ones. His program scans their emails, tweets, Facebook updates and develops a persona that is undistinguishable from their living self.
Of course this comes with many ramifications and Frankel manages to move from sweet and wry love story to ponderous and thought provoking in one paragraph. There are many instances where the ethics of what Sam has created are discussed and Frankel never really allows one side to shout louder than the other which leaves the reader to make up their own mind. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the book, but I never expected to laugh out loud or disguise a tear in my eye.
Anyone who reads my blog often, or knows me well, will know I’ve got a soft spot for romance in novels. Not the cheesy ‘Mills and Boon’ style, but love that shows real world, natural relationships. Frankel writes the love story brilliantly and steers clear of being overly saccharine which would make the partnership unbelievable. There’s always plenty of banter between Meredith and Sam in that comforting style that is a joy to read.
The central premise is so intriguing and I’m sure every reader will have their own opinions, but particularly ones who have lost a loved one. As someone who has lost somebody incredibly close I felt a comfort from reading this novel. It breaks down bereavement and grief in many differing situations and with various characters. The novel explores so many nuances that it ultimately feels uplifting despite some dark moments.
Published by Headline. This book was kindly sent by the publisher for review.