Published by Spark Press ISBN 9781940716336
Trade paperback, $17, 312 pages
Many of my friends (myself included) have hit the crossroads of life called "empty nest". Our children have grown up and gone away to college to leave us all wondering how we deal with the fact that we are no longer needed in the same way.
Kaira Rouda addresses this situation through her novel The Goodbye Year. In it we meet a group of families who live in a well-to-do beach town in Southern California. There are several couples who are on the cusp of empty nest, including power couple plastic surgeon Jud and his perfectly put together (partially through plastic surgery) wife Sarah, who have the perfect daughter Ashley.
Ashley is a great girl, a hard-working student, beautiful, president of everything. She is dating a football player, but becomes friendly with Collin, the son of two recent Ohio transplants. His mom Melanie works hard to make sure every post on her Facebook page represents the kind of family she wants everyone to believe she has.
Collin is musically gifted but not academically motivated like his older brother Seth, which drives Melanie crazy. She can't understand why he doesn't try harder in school. It caused much friction between them.
Will works as a building inspector for the town, and his wife is the uber-organized principal of the middle school. She has her entire family's lives on a color-coordinated schedule, with nothing left to chance or circumstance. Will is tired of being scheduled to death and is having an affair with the mother of one of the students in his daughter's class.
Rouda takes us through the senior year of high school, alternating narration from the adults and their children. I liked the differing perspectives we get from this, not only what the parents are dealing with, but also the pressures of being a high school senior with everyone coming at you about your future. It is much different than when I was in school.
The one thing I took away from this is that you never know what the person next to you is dealing with. Someone may look so together on the outside, but on the inside they may be just as conflicted or lonely or scared as the next person. Maybe it will make someone reading this feel not so alone with their own issues.
The Goodbye Year can be a little Desperate Housewives-like, with the scandals and affairs and secret lives, but it also makes you think as well as entertain you. And if empty nest is sneaking up on you, reading this may make you feel like you can handle whatever comes your way.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Kaira Rouda's tour. The rest of her stops are here:
Kaira Rouda’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Thursday, September 1st: The Baking Bookworm
Friday, September 2nd: FictionZeal
Tuesday, September 6th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, September 7th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, September 8th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, September 9th: Bookmark Lit
Monday, September 12th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, September 13th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, September 14th: Dreaming Big – author Q&A
Thursday, September 15th: Bookchickdi
Friday, September 16th: Brooklyn Berry Designs
Monday, September 19th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, September 20th: 5 Minutes for Books
Wednesday, September 21st: Lavish Bookshelf
Thursday, September 22nd: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, September 23rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, September 26th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, September 27th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Wednesday, September 28th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Thursday, September 29th: Laura’s Review