Susan B. (Coventry, RI)
The Art of Saying Goodbye by Ellyn Bache
I loved this book; I couldn't put it down. It was full of characters who lived in a neighborhood that provided the setting for this absorbing story. The characters were real people; Ellyn did a wonderful job in fleshing out their personalities. For me, it was one of those books that I hated to see come to an end because I wanted to spend more time with them. I think this would be an excellent choice for any book club.
Lucille B. (San Jose, CA)
The Art of Saying Good-bye
It’s mid-October and neighbors in Brightwood Circle are tying white ribbons to trees. Paisley Lam, mother of two children, a leading, lively and eccentric member of the community, has been diagnosed with late stage cancer with a few months to live. In the ensuing weeks four women remember past joys and sorrows, settle unresolved accounts, and forge new futures as they support each other and their dying neighbor. Ellen Bach has created a circle of friendship encompassing woman of different ages that is both inspiring and heartwarming. First chapters are slow; though characters are distinctly drawn, it takes some time to identify who’s who, since points of view shift within each chapter. A good read, especially for book groups
Cindy C. (Owen, WI)
Not what I expected, but enjoyable
I chose to review this book because the description led me to believe it would be about how a group of close knit women deal with one of them dying of cancer. I don't feel the book lives up to this description. I found it a little slow at the start, but after the first few chapters found it difficult to put down. I couldn't wait to find out what Paisley asked her friends to do for her in the end. I feel that the book did a fairly good job of describing how each of her "friends" lives was changed by her illness and death. I would recommend the book as a good read, but would change the description inside the cover.
Lillian D. (Apache Junction, AZ)
The Art of Saying Goodbye by Ellyn Bache
The Art of Saying Goodbye deals with loss. Primarily, it describes how each of five (including the stricken one) women and their families cope with terminal cancer. The insights about the neighbors and their reactions to illness are portrayed realistically. I experienced a sense of peace as this novel ended, believing that each character had found the gem that may be discovered in the loss of a loved one.
Tamara S. (Wenatchee, WA)
Real Women, Real Life
Well-written and a realistic portrayal on how women friends and neighbors react when someone close to them is diagnosed with a terminal condition at the prime of their life. Reminds us that knowing your losing someone you have known for a while results in reflecting on how this person has influenced your personal choices and interpersonal relationships even if they were not your best friend or even a close family member.
Laura L. (Providence, RI)
a topic people don't talk about
I chose to review this book because I have been thinking a lot about life and death. Both of my parents passed away from cancer in the past five years. Both were quick deaths from diagnosis to death. I appreciated that this novel speaks about how things happen that we have no control of. At times I became confused as the characters are not as complicated as they could be, and I think that less characters and deeper inner lives would bring this book to a rating of five. Nevertheless some of the lines hit home.
Marie C. (Wyoming, DE)
I started this book thinking, "Well, this is just shades of 'Desperate Housewives' minus the comedy." As I moved further into the book it settled in to the author's distinct narrative style. It will definitely be appreciated by the 35 - 55 women set. Except for the sometimes confusing flashbacks the story is well written and I found myself living the neighborhood's struggle with one of their own battling cancer. i enjoyed the dynamics of the various relationships between the women and their husbands. I would recommend this book. It's a fast read.