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Comment Se Dire Adieu ?
Laurie Colwin
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Comment Se Dire Adieu ?

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  674 ratings  ·  66 reviews
The national bestseller from the highly acclaimed author that tells the hilarious and moving story of one woman's attempt to find happiness.
350 pages
Published 2006 by Éd. France loisirs (first published 1990)
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Really hated the main character and all of her whining, ungratefulness, unfaithful, selfish bitching. I have an extreme hard time with people who choose not to be happy. Life's too short ... CHEER THE HELL UP.
The book, like so much good fiction, is narrowly focused--New York, middle class, Jewish families, set loosely (I think) in the 70's. The main character was a white back up dancer for an black band. Once she leaves that life, she can't or won't define herself going forward. Since she can't settle she interacts with all kinds of people, her reactions saying more about her than them.

The book explores what it means to grow up, have an identity, have a shared history, and the sniping of women defen
I LOVED A Big Storm Knocked It Over and Happy All the Time, so I thought I would love this. But I didn't feel as excited about this one. Colwin's books aren't really plot oriented, but while I enjoyed languishing in the environment created in the other two books, this one felt really slow. I was kind of jealous of the main character for having such a charmed life, but she was always unhappy and I was ever so slightly annoyed by that. I appreciated the sense of feeling lost, and enjoyed the Colwi ...more
Geraldine doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. She chucks her dissertation to go tour as the only white backup singer for Vernon and Ruby Shakely and the Shakettes. Settling down as a wife and mother seems kind of tame after her years as a Shakette.

This book is a first-person account of Geraldine's story. How much you like it will depend on how you react to Geraldine's voice. It worked for me - though the navel-gazing is extensive, there's enough humor to make it tolerable.

St Fu
About a woman, Geraldine, trying to find out where she belongs. (M)others try and tell her but she rejects what they say. Sometimes her very rejection looks like a place to belong. While we enjoy searching with her, rooting for her to succeed, we understand that her search is misguided.

Her friend Mary appears to know where she herself belongs (and eventually goes there). Her husband finds that Geraldine is where he belongs--paradoxical since Geraldine thinks she's nowhere at all. She understand
My mom always asks me for book club suggestions and what she wants is a happy book. Happy books are few and far between. Sometimes I think novelists concoct crazy situations to torture characters for the sake of a plot. Laurie Colwin knows how to write a book that makes you think, smile, laugh, lose yourself, and fall hard for her characters. I had always loved her food writing and feared her novels, worrying somehow that they would live up to the love I have for her essays on cooking and food. ...more
Ellen Puccinelli
Perhaps my favorite book of all time. I can't say enough about this wonderful writer who died far too soon. Laurie had the ability to make you think that everything was going to be ok and that everything in this world was more good than bad. Her descriptions are absolutely amazing. Every word she uses is dead perfect. In Laurie's world, people are eccentric rather than dysfunctional -- nice perspective. This novel, her posthumously-published A Big Storm Knocked It Over, and her collections of fo ...more
Catherine Egan
This book delighted me from start to finish. I am, officially, a Laurie Colwin convert.

The heroine of Goodbye Without Leaving, Geraldine, ditches her graduate degree on Jane Austen and runs off to become the sole white back-up singer with an Ike & Tina Turner type duo on the cusp of making it big. Inevitably, when success comes, the white back-up singer has to go. She marries a rock n roll loving lawyer, has a baby, works some odd jobs that allow her to maintain her sense of being somehow "
Nancy McKibben
Dec 22, 2012 Nancy McKibben rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like quirky heroines and old rock and roll standards
Recommended to Nancy by: I read it because I love Laurie Colwin, the author
Shelves: favorites, humor, reviewed
Goodbye Without Leaving
By Laurie Colwin

Geraldine Coleshares is a directionless graduate student who can barely stand the thought of writing a dissertation on her chosen topic, Jane Austen and the War of the Sexes. Instead, she leaves school to follow her real passion, rock and roll, becoming the token white backup singer for Vernon and Ruby Shakely and the Shakettes.

“My mother had high hopes for me,” Geraldine says. “I disappointed her daily.” Her plunge into rock and roll has no backers among h
Michelle Bernstein
I read all of Laurie Colwin's novels about 20 years ago and recently reread this book. The protangonist, Geraldine, reminded me of female protangonists in other Colwin novels such as "Happy All the Time" and "Family Happiness" in that she is a privileged woman who may complain about the inequities of life, but doesn't truly have to overcome adversity. The scenes with the other Shakette back up singers demonstrated the wide gap in backgrounds between Geraldine's and their's. And the scenes at the ...more
Adorable, laugh-out-loud book that still managed to sneak a bunch of "big thinks" into its narrative: how can a woman be herself and a mother, how to navigate the world, what does it mean to be Jewish esp. in America.... This is my first Laurie Colwin book, can't wait to read more!
When I finally finished this book, I was glad it was over. The main character, Geraldine, was neurotic in ways that kept me annoyed through most of the book. Really tedious.
Katharine Holden
Overwritten and a bit precious. Didn't believe in any of the characters. Do plan to look for other Colwin books because I liked Goodbye Without Leaving very much.

Tedious at times with Geraldine's constant whining. Liked how the Jewish immigrant history was woven into the story. Ok read overall.
Jen Bojkov
I don't remember much about this one. I just know I wasn't blown away by it and I think I didn't like the ending either.
Second, maybe third reading for me over the years. My favorite among the books by Laurie Colwin I've read.
This book tells the story of Geraldine, who as a young woman was a backup singer for Vernon and Ruby Shakely and the Shakettes. Later, though Geraldine marries a handsome doctor and has all the trappings of a good life, she finds herself restless and unsatisfied. She reflects often on her days as a Shakette and wishes for that kind of moment again.

My major problem with this book is that the main character is unsympathetic and unlikeable. Her selfishness escalates to a point that is really ridicu
a meandering story of an apathetic human being. a quick read that is written well with zero inspiration.
I find Colwin's blend of wit and poignancy irresistible, and I particularly like this book, the story of a woman struggling to reconcile her present life with her past as the only white backup singer for a black rock and roll group. Colwin's novels have much to do with love and with parenthood, and I find that I appreciate them even more now that I have a son myself; she has a knack for hitting the nail right on the head: "The look of happiness on his [the heroine's toddler's:] face when he saw ...more
I like Laurie Colwin. She writes about music and food and has a healthy sense of humor. However, it is not my favorite thing to read about how women get married, then have babies, then get old, and turn into withered shells of their former vibrant selves. I'm not saying that this is what marriage and kids necessarily do to people, but that's how this character (who whined a lot) seemed to feel about it. Domesticity is starting to sound less and less appealing.

Waaaaaaaaah can Southwest Airlines
I just loved this. I didn't think the premise sounded that interesting but it ended up being wonderful and just a launching point for a story about someone finding themselves as an adult. I loved Geraldine and I love how Laurie Colwin writes such realistic, wonderful, loveable characters who are flawed but fantastic and never judged.
It became tiresome.
Really 3.5 Stars. Colwin wrote one of my all-time favorite books "A Big Storm Knocked It Over" so the bar was set really high for this book, for better or worse. And I did really enjoy it, but I just couldn't get the main character's choices - I never really 'got' the main character other than she had had a clearly oppressive childhood and couldn't really find her way.

But it's a great book and worth reading. It just wasn't totally my cup of tea characterization-wise.
I grumped and hurrumphed my way through the first 50 pages or so of this book, keeping a running tally of times that I felt the book was too shallow, too neat, the main character to easily given new adventures. But all at once I fell in love. I'm not sure what it was exactly, probably something about the tremendous good will with which the author was clearly writing. I adored this and look forward to reading more Colwin.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Lynn
I would read this book again, probably. Super fast and easy to read and realistic characters. You do want to just smack the main character into self-awareness, but isn't that how we ALL are in our lives at various times?! If only we could have an author follow us around and write our story out for us as we go. We could look back and read it just a bit delayed and have many aha moments.
This book was so great, so insightful about motherhood, that I got lost in it.
I'm downgrading it because the ending flattened out radically. It needed to be as good at the end as it was elsewhere. But overall, this book was better and more subtle and interesting than many, many others. Might even be more interesting than better, more important books.
the women in laurie colwin's stories are usually some flavor of damaged weirdo--which i don't mean as a negative, at least not an absolute one. sometimes the tendency grates, but other times, as in _goodbye without leaving_ the result is a wonderful character whose weirdoness is charming rather than a handicap to empathy. i loved this book.
I wanted to love this book. I thought the story was very fun and unique, but the characters were very underdeveloped. It got a little better toward the end, but I feel the middle section should have been cut out and the beginning and ending should have been explored more thoroughly. Still, a nice and easy read.
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Laurie Colwin is the author of five novels: Happy All the Time, Family Happiness, Goodbye Without Leaving, Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object, and A Big Storm Knocked It Over; three collections of short stories: Passion and Affect, Another Marvelous Thing, and The Lone Pilgrim; and two collections of essays: Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. She died in 1992.
More about Laurie Colwin...
Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen Happy All the Time More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen A Big Storm Knocked It Over Family Happiness

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“How lucky, I thought, were people who had known from earliest childhood what they wanted to do. All the children in my grammar school, who said they wanted to be doctors, had grown up to become doctors. This was also the case apparently with firemen, veterinarians, songwriters, and race car drivers.

I had opted for a kind of pure experience, which, as Doo-Wah had pointed out, is not usually something you get paid for. I did not want to write a book about it. I did not want to write so much as an article. I wanted to be left alone with my experience and go on to the next thing, whatever that was.”
“These days any planned thing looked good to me. What heaven to have your work cut out for you, to be part of the Big Picture -- a picture you did not have to paint yourself.” 1 likes
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