What Happened to Goodbye? Lakeview, That's What!
Sarah Dessen's story captured my attention from the very beginning. It was such an easy, pleasurable read that I didn't put it down ... and it's not often I finish a 402-page book with only breaks for beverage refills.
Mclean's story was sweet and heartwrenching. On one hand I was examining her behavior like the mother I am. On the other, I was identifying with her teen angst decisions to change personality to suit the town.
Who wouldn't like to recreate themselves on occasion? To slip into something new and different? To become someone they've never been before?
Perhaps it was because I so easily identified with her emotions during her parents' divorce. I, too, took sides against the parent who left the equation. I, too, struggled for a bit to figure out the new normal, the new me after the world as I knew it turned upside down. And yeah, I also felt responsible for a parent's happiness. I wasn't the only child, but I was the oldest. I took care of things, as did Mclean. I tried not to read this story through my own filter, though.
I truly enjoyed getting to know Mclean and her friends. I was entertained by the insider view of the restaurant business and yes, by the sweetly innocent budding relationship with Dave. This was a coming of age story, but with real problems, real dramas and decisions. What it lacked was the nasty, reality-show type teenage hype that makes my blood boil. This was a good book, a great story. And it had depth.
Although written for a teen audience, it appealed to me -- a 37 year-old mom of tweens. I found it to be a well-developed tale that left me with thoughts to ponder. While having dinner at the Benson house, Mclean narrates from the food table:
"I watched ... the bread basket move down the table. Steadily, they went from hand to hand, person to person, like links on a chain, making their way to me."
That passage moved me, gave me something 'to chew on' in my own life. To me, that's the sign of a great story and a good book.
Well done, Sarah Dessen!