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Goodbye Emily
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Goodbye Emily

4.55 of 5 stars 4.55  ·  rating details  ·  73 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Three baby boomers relive their 1969 trip to Woodstock. One final roadtrip. One last chance to say Goodbye Emily.

They met at Woodstock, and the love lasted a lifetime. Then she was gone, and so was his college teaching job. Heartbroken but determined, he calls on his two best friends to help him return to the place it all began.The professor and his Woodstock buddy need t...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Koehler Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Kathryn Long
Oh my ... I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading this book. Wonderfully engaging, heart-warming, entertaining and soooooo very good that it had me taking a walk down memory lane with the story's flashbacks to the sixties and Woodstock. (And no, I wasn't a member of the Woodstock Nation, but I can safely claim that my Woodstock album has more grooves and scratch marks than any other album I've owned!)

Honestly, I don't think I've ever read a book where I connected with that many i...more
Marsha Roberts
Goodbye Emily is not about what we lose in life, it's about what we gain. It is a positive, life-affirming novel that wins you over quickly with its humanity and charms you with its vivid characters.

It's no secret what Goodbye Emily is about. The author tells you up front what to expect, "Three baby boomers relive their trip to Woodstock in '69. One final road trip. One last chance to say Goodbye Emily." But what that means is that Mr. Murphy doesn't have the element of surprise to rely on. You...more
Sarah Weathersby
Technically I was born a year too soon to be called a Baby Boomer. I was not part of the Woodstock generation; I grew up on Motown. I'll trade Purple Haze for Purple Rain, my children's generation. Because I appreciate whatever music defines a generation, I loved this book.

As a BoomerLit novel it delves into the struggles of Professor Walter ("Sparky") Ellington, after the death of his wife, Emily, and the subsequent loss of his job. He suffers from depression, alcoholism and his doctor fears he...more
Betsy Ashton
Michael Murphy's Goodbye Emily is an homage to friendship and the Woodstock Nation. Part road trip, part buddy book, all interesting, Goodbye Emily takes the reader back in time when Sparky, the main character, decides to fulfill a promise he made to his wife and two male friends to return to Max Yasgur's farm outside Bethel, NY, where the Woodstock concert took place.

Sparky met Emily at Woodstock and married her. Dead two years from cancer when the book opens, Sparky has yet to deal with his gr...more
Lynne Spreen
I read seventy pages the first night, and the remaining two hundred the second night, because I could not put this book down. The author, Michael Murphy, suggested I might like it because I'm passionate about finding good fiction featuring older people. Goodbye, Emily was so enjoyable I am pleased to feature it on my blog's Midlife Fiction page.

Walter "Sparky" Ellington is a recently fired English professor who's dying of a broken heart. His beloved Emily, who he met at Woodstock, passed away tw...more
Broken heart syndrome is a real disease and Sparky's life is on the line. Grieving over the loss of his beloved Emily has weakened his heart and ruined his relationships with his friends and daughter. Adding to his life stressors is his forced retirement from Milton College where he was an adored professor. Unable to focus on anything but the downward spiral of life, he self medicates with booze. After seeing his doctor, he realizes he needs to make big changes unless he wants Sparky's spark to...more
Who else missed Woodstock and regretted it? Three baby boomers relive their 1969 trip to Woodstock. One final road trip. One last chance to say Goodbye Emily.

Walt and Emily met at Woodstock, and the love lasted a lifetime. Then she was gone, cancer took her away. Within a short time so was his college teaching job. Heartbroken and lost Walt is on a dangerous path between depression and broken heart syndrome. Being determined, he reunites with his two best friends to help him return to the place...more
All I can say is, do not pass on this one. There are not enough stars to rate this book! This book not only took me down memory lane, it had me re-living it. There are many laugh out loud pieces as well as emotional tearful ones. I found myself always with a tissue in hand, dabbing my eyes that had watered from either laughing or from crying. Don't think it won't happen to you, it will. Michael Murphy's writing is extraordinary. He blends past and present as effortlessly as walking into another...more
C.J. Shane
I am a member of the Woodstock Nation, and I remember what it was like to be a hippie back then. I was curious about how a contemporary author would handle that time. I haven't read anything yet that has even begun to capture the magic, the bitter-sweet magic, of the Nation and the times. I've tried to describe it myself to younger folk, and I ended up choking - words failed me. I have found that the best way to describe the time is just to play some music: Baez and Dylan, Arlo and Gracie, the D...more
Linda Lange
I loved “Goodbye Emily”! I tore through Michael Murphy’s novel in a day and a half. I couldn’t wait to learn how it all turned out.

“Goodbye Emily” tells the story of Walter “Sparky” Ellington, who is suffering from broken heart syndrome (an actual ailment) after losing his wife and his job. Sparky reconnects with his longtime friends, Buck and Josh, and asks them to take one last road trip with him. The trip becomes a journey of self-discovery and healing as the trio returns to Woodstock to scat...more
Jo Ann Bennett
Michael and I met on Goodreads and he asked me if I would read and review his new book, Goodbye Emily. He was kind enough to send me a gift copy. I am grateful that I committed to read his book because I could easily have missed something wonderful. The first scene in Goodbye Emily, that takes place in a bar and introduces the reader to the main character, Sparky, was a turnoff for me. I did not particularly like Sparky and thought I might be in for a 'macho man' tale. Almost magically, just a f...more
Goodbye Emily is 100% Boomer Lit. What could be more a symbol of our generation than Woodstock, which is where Walter aka Sparky met his wife, Emily. He was there at the festival with his two good friends from high school, Buck and Josh, and together the three of them formed The Buck Naked Band. The references to music are priceless, and made me want to find some of those sixties rock songs again and download them. What a great time it was, and this novel recaptures all of that. The author is a...more
Lisa Deckert
Feb 26, 2013 Lisa Deckert rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Boomer Lit Book of the Month
Before you begin reading Goodbye Emily, set aside some time because you won't want to stop. It's a wonderful story of coming to terms with loss, and of embracing the blessings of the past without letting them limit the future. It's funny and heartwarming, irreverent, and yet respectful of relationships and people. The characters were very real to me, and I admit, I needed a tissue by the end.

I'm a baby boomer, but I was only eight when Woodstock happened, so it's only a legend to me. I enjoyed...more
Sandra Nachlinger
Goodbye Emily is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Sparky, a Baby Boomer and the main character, comes to life in Michael Murphy's pages as he struggles to come to terms with his circumstances. I couldn't put the book down. This isn't just a 1960s flashback or a rehash of the Woodstock experience--it's a tale of friendship, love, and healing that will appeal to all ages. I read the book in one day.
Tyler Roberts
Havent read a book this good in a long time. I was a tad young at the age of 16 to travel from Washington State to Woodstock, but its about the only thing I missed from that time period and this book took me back. A terrific read that would make a great movie!
Claude Nougat
Like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, this is an example of Boomer lit, the new genre focused on issues faced by boomers now that they are leaving behind their working years and have to face the challenges of a new phase in their lives. In this case, the challenges are many: loss of a loved one (the professor's wife, Emily), Alzheimer's (affecting one of the professor's closest friend) and traumatic memories of the Vietnam war (affecting his other friend). The three will make a trip togeth...more
Alana Woods
This is a memoir with each chapter devoted to significant times in the author’s life. It is a retrospective, a looking back, at the situations and events that have made her who she is today.
Confessions is categorised as Boomer literature but I’m not sure. My understanding of the genre is that the principle character or characters are boomer agers in the present day and the story is an exploration of how they are looking ahead and coming to terms with aging and pursuing a worthy life after retiri...more
Patricia Sands

I want to begin by quoting another reviewer: "I approach reviewing books, all books, not as a professional critic but as an avid reader. If they aren't run of the mill, if they entertain or enlighten me, I'll rate them highly and review them generously." My sentiments exactly.

Like most people, I enjoy a 'good read'. Generally speaking, for me that means characters, whether good or evil, that grab my attention and a plot that carries me through a well-paced, full-bodied narrative. I want to eager...more
Susan Barton
A friend recommended this book to me and am I glad she did! This was, by far, one of THE best books I’ve ever read. I LOVED this book. It’s sweet, touching and at times heartbreaking.

The story follows Sparky, the main character, on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Michael Murphy does an excellent job of portraying the devastation a terminal illness can have on survivors.

When eighteen year old Sparky and his two best friends, Buck and Josh, decide to drive from Pennsylvania to rural Upstate NY...more
Michael Petrie
Goodbye Emily is a fun, exciting story – part love story, part buddy story – reviving memories of days gone by.

What I liked about this book:
1. The cover. Loved it. Perfect cover for this story.
2. A terrific title.
3. The look of the numbering on each chapter. A nice detail, consistent with the whole 60s feel.
4. I enjoyed the way we discover that the "wrong girl" he meets at Woodstock is actually Emily. Nicely written.
5. The way the author wrote about the professor's feelings for his beloved wife...more
Michael Murphy's novel, Goodbye Emily, is a touching look back to the era of Woodstock and the 60s. Murphy expertly weaves the main character Walter Ellington, a.k.a. Sparky, back and forth from the present to 1969 and his experiences with his two best friends at Woodstock where he relives the first meeting of his beloved and now deceased wife, Emily.

Now, a recently fired professor and a bit of a curmudgeon, Sparky Ellington faces heart problems aggravated by his inability to put Emily to rest...more
Goodbye Emily

Michael Murphy

Three young men created their own history in 1969 when they decided to attend a monumental and historical event called Woodstock. The memories precious, the songs, music and experiences a once in a lifetime occurrence where so many gathered to sings, search and hope for peace and enlighten the word to the many social, environmental and political causes of the times. Creative and freedom of expression has often been stifled but this event was so remarkable so amazing th...more
Michael Murphy has offered to come to the Prescott Public Library and talk about his book on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 10 a.m. so I thought I should read it. He was nice enough to send a copy to be added to the library collection and I checked it out. I was expecting a good book - but this one blew me away. An aging professor has been forcibly retired and still has trouble getting past the death of his beloved wife, Emily, two years previous. He's having panic attacks and his lifestyle is...more
Courtney Pierce
I love a good story that I can wrap my arms around. Goodbye Emily is one of those. Although the generation-defining moment of Woodstock serves as the catalyst for the plot, the emotions of the characters cross many generations, whether you remember Woodstock or not. As a boomer, I connected with Sparky immediately. The emotional conflicts he experiences are universal to us boomers as we age: love and loss, guilt and resolution, fear and inspiration. Above all, though, it is Sparky and gang's que...more
This book has been on my kindle for some time only to be overlooked. But I finally decided to start it and enjoyed it so much that I finished it the same day. Made a nice change from my usual Murder Thriller genre telling a story full of all the emotions possible. If you want a good read don't put of reading this very good novel as long as I did.
June McCullough
If you haven't read Goodbye Emily by Michael Murphy, you need to put it on your must read list. This is more than boomer lit. Yes, the main characters are baby boomers and they did attend Woodstock, but this is a book that every age can enjoy. It is a story about love and loss, friendship and family. It is about life and it is inspirational. Goodbye Emily will draw you in and you will be right there with Sparky, Buck, and Josh experiencing the ride of a lifetime. This book is so well written tha...more
Lee Holz
Goodbye Emily is a wonderfully told story of love and loss, of joy and sorrow, of courage and compassion, of mistakes and, ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit. The book is about the Woodstock generation with its liberal, anti-war attitudes and its predilection for sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. It is about reaching that stage in life where first (or second) marriages are over, children are grown and retirement has been reached or looms ahead. It’s about what’s next. However, this very goo...more
John Capraro
Life is worth living. That's the theme that spoke to me when I read Michael Murphy's wonderful novel "Goodbye Emily." The characters came alive and played out a journey that graciously brought me along. Plot and subplots were seemlessly--skillfully--interwoven, immersing me in a mixture of nostalgia, friendship, love, loss, heartache, humor, rock and roll, and, ultimately, an uplifting of the soul. This heart-warming story would not release me from its emotional power, and I imagine it won't for...more
Dixie Brown
You'll cry, you'll laugh, you'll remember...
Whether you were there or you only heard about it on the news, you owe it to yourself to take this ride. Michael Murphy's GOODBYE EMILY takes you back to Woodstock - to a time of war and activism, peace and love, and rock & roll. Mr. Murphy's characters will charm you and have you rooting for them. If you love a little feel-good nostalgia, pick up GOODBYE EMILY by Michael Murphy. You'll be glad you did!
Susan Union
Goodbye Emily is a tale of long-term friendship that withstands the test of time. Michael Murphy creates snappy dialogue and interesting, well-developed characters to root for as they undertake an obstacle-filled road trip back to Woodstock. The place it all began. I enjoyed this journey so much that I hated for it to end.
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