Since her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out. (From Goodreads.com)
Sissy: In What Happened to Goodbye, the main character McLean deals with her parent’s divorce and frequent moves by becoming a different person in each new place. As a child I moved a lot but while I entertained the idea of changing myself, I never was brave enough to carry it out. I think the idea is good except you never get to truly know yourself, which McLean finds out in the end.
Bubby: I actually tried this once. I’ve always been the loud, out-going, attention seeking type of girl, and I’ve often been told that I needed to be quieter and more reserved. Shortly after I was married, my dear hubster and I moved across the country to a city where I knew absolutely no one. No one knew my family, no one had preconceived notions about me. I decided to be that shy, sweet, quiet girl people kept telling me I should be. And I was. For about 18 months. But it wasn’t really me. And I was so relieved when we moved back to a place where people DID know me – because then I could be myself again. I learned that I don’t have to apologize for the quirks and traits that make me Bubby. I’m pretty awesome just the way I am.
Sissy: Thanks for tuning in to Dr. Bubby’s Self-Therapy Hour. I do think you’ve turned out pretty smashingly, to tell the truth. Sarah Dessen is the quintessential coming-of-age author. We have dysfunctional relationships, secrets and communication failures, self-discovery and first love. This story is beautifully written and I spent the entire afternoon engrossed in it. Nobody cared because they were all out fishing. Although well-written, all of Sarah Dessen’s books are not squeaky clean so let the buyer beware.
Bubby: Yes, I was surprised when you told me to read What Happened to Goodbye. I have read Sarah Dessen before and had been put off by a bit too much something-something (if you get my drift). Just goes to show that authors are subject to whims just like everyone else. I got sucked into this story quickly. It’s such a great concept and it illustrates the truth that if someone really loves you, they love you inside and out, warts and all. McLean and Dave’s relationship starts off rocky – I believe she actually inflicts harm upon his person (unintentionally, of course) but grows so easily and naturally that you can’t help but fall in love right along with them.
Sissy: I think it would be really difficult to recover from the kind of betrayal McLean feels from her mom. It is understandable that she just wants to move from place to place, never getting involved, never putting her heart on the line. But she not only finds the strength to change this pattern in her new town, she also finds unexpected friendship and love from many different people. Maybe she was just ready and didn’t know it or maybe there is something really special about that place and the people she meets there.
Bubby: Can you imagine how our daughters would feel if we not only cheated on their dads, but cheated on them with the coach of their favorite sports team? And then had twins with said coach? I think part of the reason McLean constantly changes herself is because her mother has changed so much in her new role as high-profile coach’s wife. Gone is the laid-back, granola mom of the past, replaced by a woman who is perfectly made-up and coiffed at all times, complete with snooty vacation home on the beach. Who are you supposed to model yourself after when your role model has changed and disappeared?
Sissy: Fetal position, dude! But take heart, happy endings are in sight. You know this because I otherwise would not have read it or reviewed it. Great book. Give your children a Benadryl and spend the afternoon reading. (Just kidding. That would be felonious behavior! No lawsuits, please. Twas only a joke.) Yes, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen gets 4 angsty romance bubbles from me.
Bubby: And now we know why Sissy’s children are the way they are. 3 1/2 bubbles.
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