Review: Surviving Goodbye by Morgan Parker

Surviving Goodbye Cover

5 spectacular Stars

I read A LOT of books. Most of them are really good. Most of them I spend a lot of time talking about and putting them into people’s hands because they deserve to be read. Every so often, however, I get a truly special book. I end up savoring it. Wanting it to last because the story is so good, I want to live there forever. The characters are so alive, so three dimensional, that I want to invite them over for dinner. Everything about it just thoroughly leaves me smitten, exhilarated and begging for more.

This book is one of those few. This book is one of the most gorgeous stories I’ve ever had the honor to read. This book had me smirking, belly laughing, growling and sobbing several times over.

Elliott Fitch learns from his wife that his daughter is not his biologically – while his wife is on her deathbed. So not only is Elliott left to deal with the death of the love of his life, but her confessed infidelity. He has to figure out how and if that affects his relationship with his daughter. How much is biology worth when it comes to real family? How much is motive worth when it comes to something like adultery? Elliott is left in a swirling vortex of anger, hatred, betrayal and confusion that sucks a year away from him before he comes out of the emotional coma enough to start semi-functioning again. Before he can consciously decide what he needs to do to make peace with his life as it stands currently tipped on its axis with no hope of every righting itself again.

Lena Fitch is Elliott’s daughter and she has no intention of making his life any easier. In fact, in her 17-year-old wisdom she’s going out of her way to help wake her Papa Bear up out of his comatose state. And it works. They find their way back to each other despite the hurt and abandonment and confusion.

Watching this lost father and this lost daughter figure it out and end up solid is one of the most beautiful journeys I’ve ever read. It is intense and honest and tremendously heartfelt.

You’d think Elliott’s life would be plenty full with a dead wife, her life altering confession and a teenage daughter. But no. He needs a love interest too. And that love interest is Veronica. She of blue hair, tattoos and an ability to get anyone and every one to talk to her. She is much younger than Elliott, has a 5 year old daughter and crawls under his skin from the very moment he first lays eyes on her. Knows he is immediately attracted to her and intrigued by her. And as with all the very best literary relationships – she brings out the very best in him. Takes his very best qualities and amps them up 110% until they are so overwhelmingly charming, I wanted to crawl into the book and steal him away from her.

This book is Morgan Parker’s masterpiece. If you’ve been following my reviews at all, you know already know how much I love and admire his writing. But this one? This one is inspired. This one is so lovely I wanted to read it again the moment it ended. This one is a perfectly told story about love that so fearlessly explores every single facet of the concept that I willingly was swept up with the characters in every minute.

I am unabashedly, all out, no hold barred in love with this book. The writing is flawless. The pacing is perfect and keeps you perfectly perched on the edge of your seat for its entirety. The characters are subtle and relatable and so real that I want to move next door to them. Parker always shows me how perfectly he balances the innate subtlety of his writing with the incredible heat and intelligent humor intrinsically encapsulated by it. It inspired me to bark with laughter, pant from the heat and sink into the story of it all without even thinking about it. His writing takes me away from conscious choice and simply allows me to feel.

Books are written about love every day. I read books about love every single day. Ninety percent of them are really good and appeal whole-heartedly to the hopeless romantic in me. But this one? This one appeals to my very human nature. Appeals to that in me that believes that, in the end, love is always right and love always wins. Even when it’s saying goodbye.

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