Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chenoweth, Emily Hello Goodbye.

Chenoweth, Emily Hello Goodbye.
Random House/Knopf/Anchor/Three Rivers 2009 272p 25.00 978-1-4000-6517-2 hs/adult

Vacationing at an exclusive New Hampshire resort gives friends and family an opportunity to say their goodbyes to Helen, who has been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. A beautifully written and compelling novel of love and loss, the story begins with Helen collapsing in the kitchen after her morning run. Only her husband, Elliott, has been told by the doctors that she only has nine months to live. Keeping the secret from her and teenage Abby, Elliott plans a vacation at an exclusive resort to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. While the story revolves around Helen, with third person narratives, Elliot and Abby, as well as their friends, deal with her decline.

Elliott is beautifully portrayed as the solicitous husband, who drinks to deal with his impending grief. Abby grows from a self-absorbed teen to grieving but competent young woman. The story glows with love and loss, and all the characters are believably portrayed.

A mild sexual encounter, drug and alcohol use make this a novel for older teens, and the subject matter seems more appropriate for adult readers. PN

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