Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Goodbye For Now - Laurie Frankel

'It wasn't a miracle. It was computer science.'

Sam Elling is a genius but lonely software engineer working, ironically, at an online dating company creating wondrous algorithms that will find you your soulmate. 'He cracked the code to your heart.' He runs the programme on himself and finds his match within the same company, Meredith Maxwell. His invention is so successful he is fired because it works too well! His next invention will change his life. Meredith suffers a loss and Sam has a computerised answer for it. Does his genius mean that people will no longer have to say goodbye for ever, even when someone dies?

'Forget really good internet dating. Without even trying, without even deciding to really, somehow Sam had invented eternal life. Immortality.
Not for you, but you wouldn't care because you'd be dead. As far as your loved ones were concerned, however, Sam could keep you alive and with them forever. How was that not immortality?'

His invention, which harnesses the modern day social networking and electronic communications methods we seem to prioritise, such as facebook, email, texting, twitter, video chat, means that someone's thoughts and opinions and their love may still be there, still be available to us even after their physical presence is no longer with us. We could still share things with them, tell them what we wish we'd said, talk with them and receive their advice. Can it help those who are bereaved to deal with loss? Or does it merely prolong forever the ache of missing them?

The premise for this story intrigued me straight away. Then, when I started reading, the imaginative storyline grabbed me and kept me reading until the end. The two primary characters, Sam and Meredith, came across as warm, caring human beings. Sam is a geek who is sweet, likeable and romantic, Meredith is a lovely lady and they suit one another so well. Their relationship is touching and believable.

Sam's incredible technological invention, the responsibility for what they have made possible, comes to dominate their lives. It is viewed variously as wondrous, destructive, healing yet pain-inducing, troubling yet miraculous. As it evolves, it could be said to destroy human contact with the living and yet it helps others find it anew. 

At the heart of the matter is the stark loss felt when a loved one dies and that connection is lost: 'You think you'll have all the time in the world. You think there will always be a later. Sometimes, suddenly, horribly, there's not.'

What would we give to have another chance to see and speak to that loved one? There are moral issues. Readers may react differently depending on their own personal views regarding death. It is rich with topics to discuss and debate. 

I don't want to reveal too much about how the story, and the invention, progresses, because this is best discovered as you read the novel. 

I really enjoyed this author's style of writing and her use of language throughout. From the start Laurie Frankel's writing is witty and heartfelt, her words offer us ideas and truths, and the story is both incredibly modern in terms of relationships and technology, and yet completely timeless in its' themes of love, loss, memories and death. 

Goodbye For Now is an insightful, imaginative novel, at times funny, at times heartbreaking, and definitely thought-provoking. 

Published by Headline Review on 16th August 2012

Thank you to the publisher for very kindly sending a copy of this novel to read and review.

You can follow the author on twitter @Laurie_Frankel and also visit her website here.


  1. The premise certainly is interesting, one to look out for.

    1. It's a really good read Sam. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Ooooh this sounds like a really interesting idea, so inventive! I am always drawn to computer geekery!


    1. You would probably really like this one then Marie!


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