Originally published at Reading Reality What happens to us after we die is the province of religion and philosophy. The ones we leave behind go through an entirely different process, we grieve the loss. We mourn the hole that person has left in our lives; we heal the broken places, we eventually move past it. But what happens when, out of a different kind of love, someone uses technology to short-circuit that grieving process? If you can stay in denial indefinitely, are you healed, or are you just Originally published at Reading Reality What happens to us after we die is the province of religion and philosophy.
If you can stay in denial indefinitely, are you healed, or are you just broken differently? In Laurie Frankel's latest novel, Goodbye for Now, she asks one of the biggest questions of all. What if love, with a little help from technology, meant that you really never did have to say goodbye?
Would that be wonderful? Or terrible? Or both? Sam Elling is definitely a genius programmer. It's both the good news and the bad news. Like so many very geeky people, he's great at the technical stuff, but not necessarily so good at the social stuff. Considering that Sam works for an internet dating company, it's almost ironic. So Sam creates an algorithm that matches people with their soul mate, and it works perfectly. He knows it works perfectly because he uses it for himself first, and it brings him the love of his life, Meredith.
It also gets him fired. Internet dating companies thrive on repeat business. People who find their soul mates on the first try, well, they don't come back. Sam still figures he's ahead. He not only got a terrific severance package, he got Meredith. He can always find another job, but another soul mate? Not a chance. But Meredith's love for Sam has come with a profound loss. At the same time that Sam walked into her life, her beloved grandmother Livvie stepped out of it.
Livvie died. In the fullness of her years, but still, Livvie was Meredith's rock, and now, Livvie is gone. Sam has time on his hands, and Meredith wants Livvie back. Just a bit of her. Meredith wants to be able to email her and get a response, just like she used to do when Livvie was in Florida for the winter. There's lots of email to work with, and well, it's just another algorithm.
And a little artificial intelligence. And more addictive. Once Meredith gets that first email from Livvie, she's hooked. She has her grandmother back. Livvie's just in Florida. Merde Sam really does call her Merde knows it's not really Livvie, but it sounds just like her.
It does. And Merde is happy again. And she wants to share the gift with other people who are grieving. From Sam's need to help the woman he loves, suddenly they have a business ameliorating, or is it extending? Until it all crashes down. Escape Rating B: Goodbye for Now sticks with you because of the questions it asks.
As a love story, it is heartbreaking, but I'm not sure that was the point. I keep going back to what it says about those we leave behind, and how people deal with getting over the loss of a loved one. You probably will have the same reaction I did when I finished, which was to go hug everyone you love including petting any animals you have. Goodbye for Now definitely gets at that sense of how grief mows you down.
Then I started thinking, not so much about the tech as about the human side. The fascinating and scary thing about the tech side is that it will probably become possible sooner than we think. And would people become addicted to "emailing" the dead? Even knowing it wasn't real? Heck yes, some people will get addicted to anything. Looking toward the past would be more comfortable than forging a new and scary future. As a story, I think I was expecting more tech gadgetry and less contemplation.
But the questions that Goodbye for Now asks about grief and the human response are profound and well worth contemplating.
View 1 comment. I know this will be one of my bests for The set-up is just genius. A crack programmer figures out how to run a database on all the videos, emails, texts, tweets, social media blurbs, blogs, etc of a person's life So the first of many book club questions--is it good to "speak" with a video of a DLO dead loved one to get closure or creepy? Second book club question--Are our conversations all o I know this will be one of my bests for Second book club question--Are our conversations all on an endless loop as we get older?
For example, when Grandma DLO is called in the book, she repeatedly asks the grandkids to come visit her. And over. Obviously there's alot of death and dying in the book. One of the strongest points Frankel makes and one of those things I knew, but couldn't put in words myself is that the person left behind has changed. They're growing in a different direction than the DLO. How can you chat with a DLO and complain, say about insurance claims or being lonely, when the DLO has no point of reference dealing with that?
Third book club question: Who deals with the virtual DLOs when their main contact dies themself? If the chain continues, is it possible to feel responsible and answer calls from more DLOs than live people? One comment about the cover. Bring that pretty blue cover back with the model planes. If I had seen this fuzzy sillouette cover I would have thought it was a tragic romance and never checked it out.
Dec 11, M rated it really liked it. But I feel that a book like this needs to be viewed in two different ways - the what, and the how. The what here is awesome, the how not so much. I will therefore start with the what. Many authors will tell you that their stories are often born about by a simple game of what if. What if a star pitcher broke his arm, what if the world began to freeze over, what if everyone died and one person remained?
And now we have the big what if - what if afte 3. And now we have the big what if - what if after people died, we could still be in touch with them? Or rather, not them exactly, but a computer generated them, complete with texting, emailing, and most haunting of all, video chat.
In this book, Sam computer geek first creates an alogorithm to help online daters find their real match, rather than the ones they seek through their wistful but woefully inaccurate profiles. This proves successful in that it matches Sam with his intended, Meredith, but proves too successful in that Sam is then fired for having put the online dating service out of business. Around this time, Meredith's beloved grandmother dies rather suddenly, and Meredith is distraught.
On a bit of a whim, Sam suggests Meredith email her, and by loading a computer with all of the communications she shared with her grandmother, the new program generates a very grandmother sounding email back. This soon moves on to video chat, and soon becomes a business larger than life - or at least, larger than death. People can now connect with the ones they have lost, and discover they do not need to say goodbye.
With this fantasy, however, comes a lot of complications as far as the grieving and ultimately healing process, the ever present conundrum of man versus machine, and how we view life once we see it as somewhat eternal. This reminded me of that Jose Saramago book where no one died sounds good, doesn't it, but it's actually a really bad plan and a little bit of Frankenstein and some others I am now blanking on. The bottom line is, it presented a really fascinating look at something we might all dream about now I don't need to miss X anymore!
It gets to the heart of loss and how we suffer in order to move forward but short sightedly want to skip the suffering and we simply cannot. And by exploring both the staggering strengths of machines as well as their fundamental limitations, we have both a frightening look at how easily we can be replaced as well as a reassuring sense that, no, not really. Now the how. Sorry, Frankel, but here's where we part ways.
I kept thinking while reading this, Are you really allowed to write like this? By which I mean, you know how sometimes you read a book and you're like, I could never do that. Well this read more like a book that you could write if you never bothered editing or going for subtlety or trying to develop characters or make dialog at all believable. A study in craft this is not.
The humor is often painfully obvious and contrived ala Tropper but not as witty , the love of the main characters veers from not at all explored or believable to being beyond pukey and TMI. Those charming rom com perfect lines spoken moments?
Maybe they're cute in a theatre, they're nice when they happen to you, but man they do NOT translate onto the page. So, the thing is this. Easy read? Thought provoking and kind of fascinating? Not even slightly, and the very present narrator and its highly irritating and overdone snarky "humor" did not help. Well written? Not remotely. But I whipped through this one and, thought the 'twist' was incredibly predictable rather early on, I still felt compelled to see it through.
So, I recommend the what, but for the sake of my integrity, heed my caution as to the how. I laughed, I cried, I honestly loved this book. Goodbye for Now is a truly unique novel that focuses on how we love, how we grieve and how we let go.
Sam, a computer programmer, works for an online dating company and develops a program that can match people with their one true soul mate by looking at their true interests and honest online communication. Sam tests the program on himself and is matched up with Meredith, a woman who works just down the hall from him; their relationship quickly prov I laughed, I cried, I honestly loved this book.
Sam tests the program on himself and is matched up with Meredith, a woman who works just down the hall from him; their relationship quickly proves that Sam's program was right on - the couple is a perfect match.
Suddenly, everything from croquet to badminton seems more fun! There's something incredibly calming about staring up at the night sky. On a clear night, let the kids stay up a little later than usual to look at the stars. Even if you don't have a telescope, you can spot plenty of heavenly bodies in the night sky, from the moon to planets like Saturn to bright constellations like the Little Dipper.
Man' Donald Trump? One of them is of him with that 9-year-old boy whose name is Zachary Ro. You seem pretty strong. And last night, just as they had days earlier, the Buttigiegs — Pete and Chasten — kissed in front of the roaring crowd, on live television broadcast around the globe. When Bree confronts Rex about it, he denies it but then has a heart attack on top of it all.
Bree hesitates to get help but when Danielle tells Bree that Rex is in pain she drives him to the hospital. Gabrielle gets the cold shoulder from Justin who tells him that she should have come clean since it could be John's child. She tells him that the situation is a delicate one and then proceeds to slap him.
Carlos sees this and gets suspicious. When Gabrielle plans to leave, Carlos tries to stop her which leads to Gabrielle saying "Whoever said you were the father". Vacation quotes. Summertime quotes. Goodbye quotes. Sometimes to someone you love you want to say goodbye, but you can't get the words out.
Because in your heart saying goodbye would just be a lie. Letting Go quotes. Losing Someone quotes. Hurt quotes. Lies quotes. There's Hell in Hello and Good in Goodbye. That's why you shouldn't be afraid of goodbye, but careful with hello.
Moving On quotes. Whenever you have to say farewell to someone don't ever say goodbye, say see you later or in till next time but never goodbye. Saying goodbye is like saying see you never.Goodbye for Now is t Pooh and Piglet's silhouettes in the book, showing them going home. he closing theme song for The Book of Pooh. It is performed by the cast and was written by Brian Woodbury and Mitchell Kriegman.