What Happened to Goodbye: A Book for Anyone Who Has Had To Start Over

BlogHer Review

Although I think Sarah Dessen is slated as a young adult author, her book What Happened to Goodbye is one that will appeal to people of all ages. Her main character, Mclean, is a high school girl who has been uprooted in the aftermath of her mother's affair and her parents' subsequent divorce. She chooses to live with her father, who works as a consultant for failing restaurants, a job which entail him moving to a different location frequently. In each of thee new places, Mclean invents a new personae, complete with new names, in order to find a way to deal with the upheaval in her life.

I really related to Mclean, despite the fact that she is a high school student and I am considerably older than that. Her desire to hide behind a new identity is one I know I have felt before; her ability to simply pack up and walk away from a life and not look back is something that has been a theme in my own life in the past. I love how the book so clearly shows the cost of developing that ability. I watched Mclean become more and more confused about who she really is, while around her people are drawing her into their circle almost without her realizing it. This has happened in my own life, the sudden awareness that I have friends and family and a life almost without knowing how it happened.

I really enjoyed how Sarah Dessen wrote about Mclean's continued conflict with her mother and her relationship with her father, because it seemed so true to life. It becomes so easy to hold on to anger and hurt, even when it is justified! At the end of the day, though, family is still family, and underneath the surface the people we love are still there. It was really neat to watch Mclean come to that conclusion, even though getting there was painful for her.

This is actually the second book I have read by this author, Sarah Dessen, and so far I have really liked both of them. I will be looking for some of her other titles, and this book will be passed around amongst my own friends and family.

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