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The Sunshine When She's Gone

2.79  ·  Rating Details ·  767 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
A fresh, funny, and wisely observed debut novel about marriage—about the love, longing and ambivalence exposed when a husband takes the baby on a highly unusual outing

When Veronica Reed wakes up one frigid January morning, two things are “off”—first of all, she has had a good night’s sleep, which hasn’t happened in months, and second, both her husband and her baby are gone
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published January 1st 2013)
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Apr 02, 2013 Jessica rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: did-not-like
I received this book for review from the PR company who is promoting it. My best friend Anne and I both read The Sunshine When She's Gone. Neither of us liked it nor understood the motivation of the characters.

In the press release, the PR company refers to this story as a farce. Neither Anne nor I were able to find the humor/farce in this novel. Other reviewers on Amazon have referred to this book as a satire, yet I find nothing satirical in the writing style or content.

It is a well written te
Mar 05, 2013 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Although Goodman’s book may appear to be a kind of romantic novel, it is actually a poetic and rueful skewer of modern urban parenthood. For a book about a new baby, its plot is incredibly gripping and it’s hard to put down. Goodman’s prose is filled with all kinds of exquisite details, rueful insights, and unexpected hilarity. Warning: those looking for heroic characters to live vicariously through are likely to be disappointed. Its protagonists are flawed and narcissistic and their lack of sel ...more
Matt Konda
Mar 16, 2013 Matt Konda rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be well written, entertaining and thought provoking. Especially for people who are parents or have long term partners, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

The Sunshine When She is Gone tells an honest story about the struggles relationships endure with the introduction of children from the perspective of each parent. It pushes the boundaries of those perspectives by allowing each of the main characters to break a few (big) rules, which makes it funny, produces anxiety, and keeps o
Mar 22, 2013 Victoria rated it did not like it
Shelves: lit-fic, not-for-me
Though very well-written, this is not the hilarious and touching novel that the endorsements claim. The characters do not evoke any sympathy at all. John and Veronica’s alternating chapters reveal a couple who are both incredibly self-involved, selfish and overly analytical about their own thoughts and actions. They are difficult to identify with, and though they are certainly drawn with great detail, it amounts to the sort of people I, at least, would not want to be friends with.

The premise (hu
Miriam Downey
Apr 13, 2013 Miriam Downey rated it liked it
Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

My daughter called me the other day, "Mom, can you come over? I just need a moment." I empathize with her because she copes daily with a toddler's incessant chatter and an infant clamoring for the breast every hour or so. I trotted over to her house to offer some relief. She thrust the baby in my arms, grabbed the car keys, and said, "I'll be back in an hour." Sometimes, parenting is just too much.

Certainly that is the case for
Whitney Oaks
May 07, 2013 Whitney Oaks rated it did not like it
**Spoiler alert**

The PM sent me the hardback copy of this book and I really wanted to like it. It has a great title and the cover was very eye-catching. However, the characters were somewhat boring and the entire plot was just weird. I can understand the wife, Veronica, not being interested in having sex with her husband--She just had a baby and a hysterectomy. Ok, it's awesome that the husband, John, takes the baby out for awhile so she can get some much-needed and deserved rest. I don't really
Jan 03, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
I got this advance copy from the early reviewer's program through Library Thing. I don't want to say too much about the plot line, because I hate to give anything away. But anyone who has ever had a baby, and six months later looked at their husband and said "who is THAT guy" --- or looked at themselves and said "who am *I*" for that matter, will love this book. She captures so well that first year of parenthood and the way everything shifts on it's axis and we re-invent ourselves and come out d ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carrie Holder
Oct 23, 2013 Carrie Holder rated it it was amazing
The writing in this book is exquisite and the characters are psychologically complicated. I am in the minority of fans of this book. I found the story interesting and I could totally relate to it. If the reader hasn't experienced the same or similar situations and feelings as the characters in this book, then the reader just won't get it and will most likely hate it. One aspect of this writer's work I admired was the fact that when she wrote about a character, she would describe the character an ...more
Melissa LaSalle
Mar 04, 2013 Melissa LaSalle rated it liked it
Admittedly, I may be a bit biased in this review, because the author is a friend of mine and I think the publication of this book is tremendously well-deserved for her. That said, it's a highly enjoyable read, as much for the tight, perceptive writing as for the page-by-page unfolding of a domestic drama. Some have criticized the novel for an unrealistic, too far-fetched plot (a father spontaneously takes his infant to Barbados for 48 hours without his wife knowing, under the premise of "letting ...more
May 07, 2013 Debbie rated it it was ok
The title of the book drew me in, and as it was an easy and quick read I finished it in no time, but it definitely was not as good as I had hoped. Yes having a baby is stressful, yes having to have an c-section and then an emergency hysterectomy would most definitely raise that stress level up several rungs on the ladder, but John and Veronica let these stresses pull them apart rather than try to work together on things. After all, what dad, taking the baby out for the morning so mom could rest, ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Maryann rated it it was ok
This was not enjoyable. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. If so, mission accomplished. The story is that John and Veronica are new parents and Veronica's delivery was pretty traumatic. She's really not the same since, and one morning, John decides to take the baby out for breakfast and let Veronica sleep. He doesn't stop at breakfast and flies to Barbados, all on a whim. Veronica at first relishes the alone time and then starts to miss them. John realizes the magnitude of the responsibility he's unde ...more
Dec 10, 2012 Nicole rated it it was ok
I got a pre-release copy of this book as part of an Elle Readers panel, and I was so excited read it, thinking I would completely relate to. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I assume that Goodman intends this book to be a cautionary tale for couples with young children to find the balance between marriage and children; however, for someone like me who is debating if I want to bring children in to my marriage, this book comes off as a terrible warning.

At first I found the husband to be sweet
Jun 24, 2014 Debi rated it did not like it
Shelves: underrated, hopscotch
The Sunshine When She's Goneis finished. The jacket spoke of humor but it was humorless. The main couple had few redeeming qualities and I don't think they would be relate-able to most people.
Really this takes ordinary problems and explores them through the eyes of the 1%. Much ado about nothing.
Apr 21, 2013 Marcia rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
Someone commented that this book is a skewed example of the plight of urban parenting. Hah. It is an example of the plight of our self centered entitled population. If one reads this book and thinks that this type of behavior is acceptable, our society is really in trouble. I hope this was meant to be a fantasy. I realize that one does not read novels for parenting advice, but this was just so far off base.
Jan 17, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it
This was a fast, intense read. I was stressed out the whole time I read it; I imagined all the terrible things that could be about to happen in the book. The plot was unique and I couldn't help but fly through the book. I would recommend it to people who liked Gone, Girl. I read an ARC of this book.
Brandy Hills
Apr 08, 2013 Brandy Hills rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest to skipped half the book. It got a little long and boring. But managed to finish it.
Mar 18, 2013 Jaclyn rated it did not like it
Aside from the baby, everyone in this book was horrible. Just... ugh.
Viviane Crystal
Mar 07, 2013 Viviane Crystal rated it really liked it
Veronica and John Reed are two very, very, very tired parents! Clara is a typical infant who has quite literally, albeit totally unconscious of her effect, sucked the passion out of her parents. Veronica has post-partum depression and John thinks why not give her a break; yes, a break is just what will help her and perhaps bring backs some zip into their sexless lives.

What starts out as a well-intentioned plan on John's part begins to spin out of control. The reader wishes he would go home when
Lacey Louwagie
So ... I knew this book had sort of an "out there" premise when it caught my interest ... a husband feels that his wife has "changed" since their baby was born, so he takes the baby to Barbados for a weekend -- without telling her -- to give her a break.

I think this kind of premise can work if executed properly. But everyone in the book came across as incredibly selfish and self-absorbed. He's not taking the baby to give her a break, he's taking the baby because he's impulsive, and he's a total
Apr 02, 2013 Karla rated it it was ok
The Sunshine When She’s Gone, Thea Goodman (2.5)
For such a bright and cheery book cover, I found this to be a depressing book. The married main characters narrate a weekend in alternate chapters. I don’t mind giving away the main plot point – as it happens quickly in the book and hopefully none of you will read it anyway. They have a baby and are dealing with new parenthood. The book begins with the father deciding to take the baby for an early morning trip to a diner (they live in NYC) on the c
Feb 23, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was ok
John and Veronica are new parents to daughter, Clara. Veronica is not feeling well. John decides to take Clara out to breakfast and just have a father and daughter day. Giving his wife, Veronica some free time alone.

John does not know what comes over him but he gets a sudden urge to book a flight and go to the Caribbean. A new father and a baby in the Caribbean. This will be interesting.

I wanted to read this book because it sounded like a comedic read. I am always in the mood for a good book t
Wendy Hines
Apr 14, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it liked it
I'm sure you've heard it thousands of times "Parenting is the hardest job you'll ever have." It's true though. I never realized parenting would be so hard. I have teenagers - what I wouldn't give to go back to when they were little. It doesn't get any easier, you just face different challenges.

In The Sunshine When She's Gone, Goodman takes us on a journey through two individuals as they struggle with their new bundle of joy and responsibility. Veronica is still depressed after giving birth six m
Apr 02, 2013 Jenn rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2012 Jolene rated it really liked it
John and Veronica are the loving and continually sleep-deprived parents of newborn baby Clara. On a wintry Friday morning, John decides to take Clara out and give his wife a chance to sleep-in and recover from a bad cold. While checking through the mail, John comes across the newly arrived family passports and the spontaneous, impulsive dad decides to take his daughter on a quick trip to Barbados--without mom. The ensuing drama could very well change John and Veronica's relationship for the wors ...more
Jun 20, 2013 Juliette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-book
This almost didn't get finished. In fact had this been a book, there is a point where I would have flung it across the room and left it on the floor to be stomped on. Instead it was audio and I'm not throwing that across the room, plus I was making dinner while listening to it and had my hands full of bacon grease, which is the only reason I listened to the rest of the CD, and then I only had two left to go, so I finished them to be done with the book.

My biggest beef with this book is that I fo
Dec 03, 2012 Tonya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-reads
Every person should read this book. As a parent, if you are being honest, sleep deprivation is terrible! And what seemed like something nice to do for his wife, turned out to be not so good. A little extreme perhaps. Most dads might do the park or something else?

Haha, I think most people will adore this book. I didn't think I would like it as much as I did! You might not agree with their decisions, both poorly at times, but you will enjoy it either way!

Told from both Veronica and John's voices,
Apr 30, 2013 Jean rated it liked it
This was a rip roaring story that made me glad my child rearing days were long gone! I liked it and I cared about the two parents in the novel, but I confess, I began to worry if the Dad was really having a breakdown and was ever going to make it back home. I totally get the demands of modern day parenting, working Moms and urban stress, so the beginning of the story was not too much of a stretch. After a while, however, I began to wonder how an innocent idea could go oh so wrong when Dad seemed ...more
Sara Palacios
Apr 29, 2013 Sara Palacios rated it really liked it
As a new mom myself, this book was definitely right up my alley. Goodman does an amazing job at giving us the real deal when it comes to these parents. Some new parents think of their baby a certain way and it just so happens that these characters are flawed and very, very honest and raw. Like I said before, I too am a new mom and I can definitely relate to the sleep deprived stupor that happens with a newborn and although I found the parents actions to be somewhat selfish, I think it is definit ...more
Apr 24, 2014 April rated it liked it
This is a kind of quirky young-parent novel in which a somewhat mismatched couple have a baby, and the following typical scenarios ensue: no sleep, arguing, no sleep, feeling misunderstood, no sleep, feeling unsexy and unloved, etc. When the baby is 6 months old the spontaneous free-wheeling dad decides to take her out for breakfast to give Mommy a break. One thing leads to another and he and the baby end up in Barbados. Most of the book is him trying to dodge her at first greatful and then incr ...more
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