The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda
May 3, 2016
Genre: Women's Fiction
Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can’t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated façade of her life. Will and his wife are fine―as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).
Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it’s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple’s second act together―empty nesting―might possibly be the end.
Senior year of high school is not only stressful for the students, but for parents as well. Especially as those parents discover they will be empty-nesters in less than a year. This is the simple basis for 'The Goodbye Year.' But simple, this book is not. We all know that more happens behind closed doors than what a person may show in their public persona. These seniors and parents are no exception.
What I particularly liked about this story was all the perspectives we get. We're not just following one family. We're following multiple families. And we're not just one age group. Instead, we get views from students, moms and dads. This gives this story such a well-rounded feel. What I appreciated from all these different viewpoints was how realistic they were. The social pressures, the false personas, the academic competition, the relationship dynamics, the mid-life crises, the lies, deceit and misperceptions, they all played such important roles. I could relate with certain pressures of having a high school student, and I could also see people I know or have been acquainted with in some of these characters. It made the read that much more fascinating, entertaining, and honest.
I loved getting into the lives of all these families, watching the dynamics between parent and child, husband and wife, friend and acquaintance. There was drama and suspense, there were lies and deceit, there was denial and depression. I was hooked on how these families would fair in the end. Some ended up in better places, many were rocked to their core and would never be the same again. This was a fantastic read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm going to suggest it to my book club, as I'd love to discuss it even more.
Helpful hint: I wrote down the families and charaters on an index card when I started reading and kept it in my kindle. This was super helpful in keeping everyone straight, as this is a bg cast of characters.
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