Longing for a Place to Belong in What Happened to Goodbye
Growing up in a divorced family is never easy. Arguments are escalated, tension is high, and inevitably someone gets hurt in the end. The reason I know these feelings is because I experienced them first hand, as did Sarah Dessen's main character, Mclean, in What Happened to Goodbye.
Mclean never imagined her parents were anything but happy until that fateful day when her mom dropped the news that she’d met someone else. Feeling like she needed a new start, Mclean decided to pack up the life she’d only ever known and move from city to city with her father and his restaurant consulting job. It wasn’t until she arrived in Lakeview that she finally felt at home, however she had to jump a lot of hurdles before she realized it.
The character of Mclean was someone I saw a younger version of myself in. Although I didn’t pack up my life after my parent’s divorce, I did find myself longing for that feeling of family and a place to belong very frequently. As a child of a divorced family, it’s almost a harder position than the people actually getting a divorce because the child is usually the one trying to keep the calm while the parents are generally the ones who are starting the storm. But luckily, more times than not, after the storm passes, a common ground is found and a new normal is created, which is what happened for Mclean and myself.
I found this book to be a fast read, which by my standards is a good book! It didn’t take long for me to imagine all of the characters and walk through the story with them. Another plus for me was that the relationships that were formed throughout the storyline seemed real and genuine, something that hooks me almost immediately.