Thursday, 16 April 2015

Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel

Hardcover, 289 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2012)

My copy of this book came from doing work experience at Headline Review.

Blurb: "In the spirit of ONE DAY, comes a fresh and warmhearted love story for the 21st century. Sometimes the end is just the beginning . . .

Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can't get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Sam meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith, but he also gets fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right.

When Meredith's grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother. Mining from all her correspondence—email, Facebook, Skype, texts—Sam constructs a computer simulation of Livvie who can respond to email or video chat just as if she were still alive. It's not supernatural, it's computer science.

Meredith loves it, and the couple begins to wonder if this is something that could help more people through their grief. And thus, the company RePose is born. The business takes off, but for every person who just wants to say good-bye, there is someone who can't let go.

In the meantime, Sam and Meredith's affection for one another deepens into the kind of love that once tasted, you can't live without. But what if one of them suddenly had to? This entertaining novel, delivers a charming and bittersweet romance as well as a lump in the throat exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life (both real and computer simulated). Maybe nothing was meant to last forever, but then again, sometimes love takes on a life of its own."

I really enjoyed reading Goodbye for Now. The premise of this book is that when our loved ones die, we would do anything to see or speak to them again. The main character, Sam, develops software based on his girlfriend's grandmother's email communications in order to replicate and create her conversations so that Meredith (the girlfriend) can continue to speak to her grandmother who had recently passed away. His one small idea expands and they then explore helping others to speak to people they've lost.

The book explores the ideas of loss and finding ways to move on very sympathetically and the implications of the software were very interesting, some of which I wouldn't have thought about. For example, the idea that people would get carried away with creating communications with loved ones who were terminally ill in order to speak to them when they're gone but in doing so were spoiling the time they had left with the person themselves.

However, before I put you off the idea of reading this, the book isn't all sad, there are funny and uplifting moments. I really enjoyed the style of the writing and the development of the characters and their relationships. The only downside of this for me was that the author added in one too many sad plot points (which I won't elaborate on).

This book especially spoke to me as I lost a loved one recently who I would love to speak to again.

I would rate this as 8 out of 10.

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