Reliving My Childhood While Reading What Happened To Goodbye

BlogHer Review

In Sarah Dessen's What Happened to Goodbye I relived my childhood of moving and relocating from place to place; as a child, we moved a lot!! My dad was good at what he did –- re-organize retail stores, from the warehouse to the management; very similar to the restaurant consulting job of Gus Sweet, only in a store instead of a restaurant.

I moved and started a new school more times that I can count, each time wishing it would be the last; I did not have the ability to recreate who I was at each place, and I didn’t have the need to. For McLean, following her parents’ high profile divorce and her mother’s affair with the new college basketball coach, reinventing herself was almost necessary –- it was her escape. When she decided to live with her father, she knew she was going to move from place to place as he was reassigned to new restaurants. Each place she was a new person, knowing they would only be in each town a short time, she reinvents herself over and over again, gives herself a new name, a new look, new hobbies. Carefully divulging only what she is comfortable with to those “friends” she chooses.

Their newest town doesn’t seem too different than the last. She arrives, chooses her new name, and starts to think about what this new person will be like. Her plans are foiled when she’s caught off guard and her given name sticks -– now what is she supposed to do? Every attempt to create a fictitious persona, keep her true identity and past hidden, dodge her mother fail. She is faced with dealing with her mother and her past head on. Dessen’s writing makes you fall in love with the characters, you feel for McLean and your heart breaks for her mom. McLean’s friends become your friends and you are cheering them on as you read. This is a great book for teenage readers as well as adults.

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