Zen Nana's Reviews > Goodbye to All That

Goodbye to All That by Judith Arnold
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's review
Apr 21, 2012

really liked it

I should say right up front that I do not read what is called “chicklit.” I just don’t get into stories about women and all their relationships as a general rule. I don’t care about all the family drama people put up with and I don’t believe in happy endings and lovely reconciliations. Maybe these books are great and I’m missing a lot of wonderful literature, but I just don’t pick them up. That said, I have to recommend that Goodbye to All That by Judith Arnold be read by all AARPers, particularly women. It offers a fresh view of empty nesters and the life still left in one who has given decades to her husband and children (and raised a daughter who seems to be headed down the same path). While it may remain just a day dream for most women, the breaking free of Ruth Bendel seems at least plausible and realistic in its accomplishment. Ruth’s choice surprises her whole family and shakes up all of their complacent roles as well. Patriarch Richard and the couple’s three grown children all go through their own transitions inspired by Ruth’s determined escape and all end up finding their truer selves and happier paths because of it. Not great or difficult literature by any stretch, and no major drama (I liked that about it), but a good summer read, and I couldn’t help casting the movie while I read it. Blythe Danner and Alan Alda as Ruth and Richard? Parker Posey or Anne Hathaway as lawyer Melissa and Mark Ruffalo as the good boyfriend she finally lets herself find? Frances McDormand or Catherine Keener as good daughter Jill? Jennifer Aniston as the pretty sister-in-law no one takes seriously? I may have the ages of these actors all mixed up, but these are some of the faces I couldn’t help imagining while I read this satisfying family story. In the right hands, this could be a very good movie for grown-ups. And there aren’t many of those around.

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