I Didn't Want to Say Goodbye to What Happened to Goodbye!
Mclean is a typical teenage girl in What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, smacking headfirst into the ancient conundrum of identity. Her parents went through a bitter divorce after her mother cheated on her father with a famous and wealthy basketball coach. This has left her floundering and torn between loyalty to her father and the love of her mother. After the divorce, her dad becomes a fictional Gordon Ramsay (without the television show) and his job is to go around the country fixing up faltering restaurants. Instead of staying with the mother she worshiped, Mclean went on the road with the father who hadn’t betrayed her. As she jumped from town to town, she changed her identity and reinvented herself to fit the image she now wanted to portray: similar to zipping on a new skin suit every few months.
Reinvention. This book circles around the concept of reinvention. Mclean changes her entire personality, wardrobe, interests, personal website, and even her name each time she moves, reinventing her life. Her mother, who was unhappy with her workaholic husband of Mclean’s father, reinvented her life with the basketball coach changing from a humble middle-income wife to a wealthy and sophisticated woman. Mclean’s father changes from a restaurant owner to a restaurant fixer and starts a life of travel. He hops from girlfriend to girlfriend and town to town, seemingly lost in his own memories. Each restaurant is reinvented by Mclean’s father as he “fixes it.” Most interesting is the conclusion -- although you’ll have to read for yourself to see if each individual is happy with their reinvented persona.
I can’t rave enough about this book. Wholesome and light, yet delving into emotional subjects, it should be on the go-to list for a troubled teen seeking their identity amongst chaos. The romance between Mclean and Dave is pure and honest (even if Mclean isn’t always). He’s a “good guy” (my favorite) and very reminiscent of my own teenage love interest.
I even liked the cover of the book and think it perfectly sums up the character of the story. One of the most poignant moments happened nearly at the beginning when Mclean checked the home page for her last personality and four words showed up in the comments after she left. Mclean had been gently romancing a boy named Michael and all he had to say was, “What happened to goodbye?” Indeed, Mclean! I can’t fault her when no one else in her life was giving her concrete and gentle goodbyes; where was her role model?
I’ve already recommended this book to multiple people and now I’m recommending it to you. I can’t even come up with a single negative. I’m certainly going to be checking out Sarah Dessen’s other books and I hope they are as tender and deep. Thank you Ms. Dessen for giving me an entertaining several hours. I greatly enjoyed the trip.
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