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This book will stay with me for a long time. I was fascinated by the story, the technology, and charmed by the delightful characters. It gave me much food for thought and discussion and I have recommended it to all if my reader friends. Keep writing Laurie! (I also loved That’s the Way...)
Amazon told me I would like this book. Amazon actually 'recommended' it for me.
Amazon was right.
Goodbye for now is all about algorithms and computer programing and how we can use these new tools to enhance our life, our love lives and even help us mourn the loss of loved ones.
In this story however, I kept thinking that it is really about that old saying--"...just because you can, doesn't mean you should..."
Sam is a brilliant, if not genius, computer programer who falls in love with Meredith and together they build a start-up company that takes all of the texts, emails, blogs, video chats, etc, from people who have passed and create exact 'mirror images' of the deceased. The mourners and newly grief stricken are able to video chat, text and email their loved ones in the great beyond because of computer programming. Together they name the company 'Re-pose'.
Of course, Re-pose is a huge hit. We never really lose our loved ones, as they are still texting, emailing and video chatting with us. Re-pose is supposed to take the pain and suffering out of grieving. It's purpose is to slowly allow us to let go. Gently.
Problems arise. Grey areas present themselves at every turn. Dying patients are spending all of their last moments online, so enough data can be collected for their loved ones to continue talking with them once they pass.
Ironically, they are spending all of their very real, very present last moments with a computer so they can be conversing with their loved ones after they're gone. But not really.
What I found truly interesting was the fact that Sam, the creator of Re-pose, lost his own mother when he was a toddler and has no memories of her what so ever. He describes growing up trying and trying to remember her, even going so far as to go through all of her belongings, searching for stray strands of hair, hoping this would trigger his memory. Nothing. He just couldn't remember her.
So, (I love psychology) I think Sam's mother was the actual muse that helped him develop an algorithm to keep our loved ones with us forever. But, not really. It's just an illusion after all.
From page 278...
"...You are the paragon of animals, my love. You aspire to such greatness, to miracle, to newness and wonder. And that's great. I'm so proud of you. But you forgot about the part that's been around for time immemorial. Love, death, loss. You've run up against it. And there's no getting around or over it. You stop and build your life right there at the base of that wall. But it's okay. That's where everyone else is too. Everyone else is either there or on their way. There is no other side, but there's plenty of space there to build a life and plenty of company. Welcome to the wall, Sam..."
There are no words to describe how I'm feeling now that I've finished Laurie Frankel's hopeful and heartbreaking Goodbye for Now. I absolutely loved the book although it really affected me emotionally, and I'm also sad I'm done with it.
Sam Elling is an extremely intelligent computer programmer who works for an internet dating company. He creates an algorithm to find your perfect soul mate, and testing it out on himself, meets the love of his life, Meredith, who works for the same company. The bad news is that Sam gets fired because the algorithm is so successful that his company starts losing money, because people don't need to try and find their soul mate more than once.
One day Meredith's beloved grandmother, Livvie, dies. She is devastated by this loss and wishes she could keep communicating with her. To try and help Meredith through the grieving process, Sam creates a computer program through which Meredith can email Livvie and Livvie--or a computer simulation of her--responds, as it accesses previous emails and other online conversations to develop its communications. And then, because Meredith used to chat via video with her grandmother a lot, Sam creates a video simulation as well. But does this truly help the grieving process?
Sam, Meredith, and her cousin, Dash, begin adapting the program (now called Re-Pose) to help grieving people communicate with their dead loved ones. For some it's cathartic, for some it's necessary, and for some it brings comfort. But as they see the ramifications of their innovation they begin to wonder if they're doing the right thing. And when tragedy strikes, they are confronted with the decision of whether being able to communicate with the one they lost is really helping.
If you've ever lost someone you cared about deeply--parent, spouse, partner, child, sibling, grandparent, friend, or anyone you loved--and wished you could talk to them one more time, this is a book for you. For me, it hit home on so many levels, as I identified with the emotions and desires these characters had. This was such an innovative yet meaningful idea, and not only does Laurie Frankel pull it off magnificently, but she helps you to see both sides of the idea. This book made me laugh and boy, did it make me cry.
Read this book. Have tissues at the ready, but read it.
Grief is an incomprehensibly weird experience, and it is entirely clear that Laurie Frankel comprehends it anyway.I
Goodbye For Now begins as a love story—part realistic fiction, part speculative fiction—grounded in the most universal of experiences, which is the loss of a loved one to death. It's beautifully real in its exploration of new love and of new loss, and of the way new loss begins to become not-so-new, and then familiar.
And then the story takes an unexpected turn (friends, it's rare that I don't see something this big coming a mile off in a book, and I didn't) and gets even realer.
There's tenderness and lyricism and a deep, profound empathy here. If you are someone who has Dead Loved Ones, Frankel's clear understanding of loss and grieving will speak to you. It's hard to say more without giving anything away, so I'm gimp to leave it at that.
Oh, and there are dogs, and they are used sublimely—not Hollywood slapstick dogs, buffooning and blundering their way though the middle of everything, but real dogs, with their knack for being there just when we need them: just when we need the instructions to be glued to both dogs, or for them to lick away our tears.
I started to read this book on a plane. As soon as I landed, I went home and threw myself down on my couch and read the rest of it! Heck, I even read some in the cab on the way home from the airport. For me, this is the sheer definition of a page turner. From start to finish, I found myself pushing to read faster, so that I could find out what happens!
Beyond the book itself, the content really makes you think a bit. If the technology were possible to allow you to communicate to loved ones who passed on, would you? C'mon, you know deep down that the simple curiosity of it all would be hard to resist.
In the end, this book has a bit for everyone. An outstanding love story, some very cool computer geek concepts, maybe a little sci fi (for lack of a better term) and of course a ton of laughs and some tears.
This is the summer book to read on vacation or by the pool!
Plus, the rights have been purchased to make this a movie!
I read this about a month ago, and I was deeply affected by it. Hard to put down, and intensely involving. Very likeable characters, which is important for me in my reading. I don't want to read about unpleasant people any more. I cared a lot about them, all of them, and spent a lot of time thinking about the issues raised. Highly recommended.
Frankel writes so well, so humanly. Her characters are accessible, vivid through brilliant use of dialogue. Humor, even when the topic of grief is central, somehow keeps maudlin at bay, and the reader immerses in an unlikely reality. I’ll read anything Frankel.
I just finished goodbye for now and loved it. My aunt was bugging me to read it for months, starting when we were dealing with my moms declining health. I wasn't ready for it then, we were dealing with death and dying in real life every day and I didn't want another thing to be sad about.
But I finally did read it, after my mom passed away. It's a beautiful story, very touching and insightful into what it means to love and lose somebody and want to have just another email or one more conversation with them.
For anybody who feared it would make them sad like I did, don't. It's a touching story that will warm your heart and inspire you.
Great book. It was fascinating if you could program a computer to talk with the dead. There were parts of the book that were really emotional and others made you laugh. I would highly recommend this book to read.
this thoughtful book has many messages for the reader, all of them important and meaningful. I will reread the book sometime soon, but for now I can highly recommend it to anyone who is dealing with loss of a loved one. You will enjoy the read while you sob in sympathy with the main characters, who are well-drawn and fine tuned. The author has tackled a subject which many ignore, and done so in a respectful and novel manner. If anyone suggested writing a book dealing with death and mourning, most of us would shy away but here the author has done a fine job. Read it and enjoy!