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Hello, I Must Be Going
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Hello, I Must Be Going

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  202 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
It's the early 1980s, and tomboy Frankie Hawthorne's world is overturned when her beloved father—a Vietnam amputee who masks depression by playing comedian—shoots himself. Frankie's neighborhood, in a down-at-the-heels industrial city near Boston, has had its own happier times. Left behind along with Frankie are her mother, Gerrie, a waitress at Friendly's, and a sweetly i ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 2006)
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Rating details
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Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: home
I was not sure about this book in the first few chapters, but as it went along it really started getting to me. Frankie’s father, a Vietnam amputee, battles with depression. Frankie tells us about her dysfunctional family's denial of reality. The end of the book really ties it all together, I teared up at the end.
Nov 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys stories about family issues.
Recommended to Dawn by: Read reviews about this book online.
A very sad and serious story, with moments of humor thrown in. The story shows you how a family tries to move on after the father commits suicide. Even though they rarely mention him and act like everything is normal, his selfish act has effected them for the rest of their lives. I enjoyed this book and felt sorry for all of the characters involved.
Siddharth Mallya
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Introduced me to Groucho, the gang, and their antics.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book was told with a different perspective (almost as one looking in) but really come together in the end. Part 3 takes you back to the beginning to give the characters and the reader inside information/insight and it does a really good job at pulling everything together. It talks about the relationships they all had with one another in more detail and gives the memories that "one is not supposed to mention" details that explains things so well. Worth the read. It is different, and it is not ...more
Elise Hamilton
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
I loved Hodgen's Elegies for the Brokenhearted (EFTB), thus looked forward to Hello, I Must Be Going (HIMBG). Alas, it was a disappointment. Like EFTB, HIMBG was the story of an awkward, intelligent girl's transition to young adulthood, growing up in a small town in a family of flawed but colorful individuals. We know from the book's jacket that Frankie's father commits suicide, so I'm not giving anything away. This event marks her, of course, and is the basis for much of the story's action. Whi ...more
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I started it several times over the past year and never made it through. But I'm glad I did and the ending is worth the extended journey it took to get me there.

The title is clever. The book is really a story of post-Vietnam depression (perhaps PTSD) in a time before they were recognized; a story of unremarkable lives and of a mother who would like to be remarkable; a story of family tragedy , of sadness, of a child's love for a parent, and of triumph I think (through F
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Frankie is a young girl struggling to cope with her beloved father's suicide. Depsite the brutally sad premise, Hidgen has infused this wonderful book with humor and kindness. It's a surprising easy read, filled with beutiful language and spot on observations about troubled teens.
"It was a relief to be left alone, to be given up on, to sit unnoticed in a corner and fall quietly out of tune, like a piano. People are always saying that kids my age couldn't get enough attention, that we spent most
Debra Hale-Shelton
Oct 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with a dysfunctional family; also to the grieving
I enjoyed the book, though I read it for work -- for a review and interview with the author who lives in northeastern Arkansas. The author is young but showed good insight into the 60s, which are referenced in the story. More importantly, she showed much insight into death -- how the survivors deal with it -- some of us better/worse than others. I enjoyed the book because it was easy to read and insightful. I enjoyed the book, because like the main character, everyone has a relative or friend wh ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked this book --captured the angst of the teenage narrator, Frankie as she struggles to cope with her Friendly's waitress mother, Vietnam vet father and younger brother's shift from idolizing her to newfound popularity at school. In particular, the struggles of her father and the dysfunction in her parents' marriage are particularly illustrated without being either cloying or over-dramatic. Ruefully, the portrayal of the school psychologist who "only wants to help" is all too on-point.

a gre
Mary Susan Vaughn
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book was sad and funny at the same time. A story about a family of 4 struggling to make ends meet in post-Vietnam America. A father (Randall Hawthorne) who is depressed and dealing with his war demons by being comical and detached at the same time. A mother, (Gerry Hawthorne) who works as a waitress at a Friendly's restaurant, a daughter, (Frankie) who not only narrates the story, but is growing up in a middle-lower class neighborhood, and must face difficult emotional circumstances in orde ...more
Ginny Lennon
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it

Although it deals with great sadness (the aftermath of a father's death by suicide), the witty, quirky outlook of the narrator makes this book easy to read. I have just finished reading her third book, and I will definitely keep my eye out for subsequent works because she deals with themes (losing a parent, coping with less-than-adequate parenting, growing up too soon) near and dear to my heart. Not a literary masterpiece, but well written and well worth the time for those who enjoy reading suc
Daphne Atkeson
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Story of a teen girl and her younger brother with a Vietnam vet father who commits suicide. Great characterizations, fresh styoe, a profound story, intense without being maudlin, with a powerful ending, instead of the typical trickle-away finish so common in episodic coming-of-age tales. Highly recommend after a desert of mediocre reading in the last couple months. A quiet story. This author's previous book was a National Book Award finalist, I believe.
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This book cracked me up so much, which is a great feat considering the main character's father commits suicide (not a spoiler - it was written on the jacket copy). The book is very serious and realistic, so I valued the humor even more as it was cleverly, slyly done. Also adding to the realism is the lack of a happy ending, which I am always a fan of.
Cassie Molina
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own, favorites
This store is brilliantly painful and I highly enjoyed how we got to see it from start to closure for the death of a loved one is not some thing that ever really ends but there come a point where you can Atleast give it Atleast closure ,in the case of Frankie that takes years and I'm thankful a book finally approaches it that way.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Believable characters navigating life in the aftermath of death. Funny, honest and real the story is easy to get lost in. You do not turn the page for a happy ending - more like you just want the family to find peace.
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about coping with loss in a family, and how a family tries to piece itself back together. I liked how it was told by a child narrator and how suddenly there would be some of her drawings next to the text.
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is about a girl whose father commits suicide and her mother is crazy. She stops talking and resists the school psychologist while she tries to make decisions about what to do with her life. Yes, I recommend this book, it's really good.
Tammy Theriault
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've read in a LONG time. I LOVE that Christie doesn't follow literary rules and writes how she wants to. Reminds me im on the right/write path, too. I slowed it down at the end. Hated to see the story end but the relationships were so good.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Depressing, but very well written.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
cute book, easy read. the end left me wanting more - but it was still a worthwhile read.
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book should definitely make you realize how much suicide can affect one person or a whole family. I couldn't put it down.
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I didn't really like it much until the final few chapters. The characters became a bit more likeable and, just when I got attached to them, the book ended.
Katie Canepa
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really wanted something more - out of the characters or the ending or, just, something...
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Emotional and somewhat bittersweet. I saw a lot of myself in Frankie, and I have to wonder now (given the circumstances of her life in the book) why that is. Touching book though.
a bittersweet memoir type of book of the narrator's childhood. a very sad time but also really draws you in. i liked all the characters and felt invested with them. also funny and happy!
Jan Dunn
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Read this through twice; guess I just couldn't get enough of the disfunctional family saga. Only redeeming value is for those who may still think other families are more "normal" than theirs.
Elizabeth Esse
rated it it was amazing
Jan 23, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2012
rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2013
Emily Suzanne
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Jan 03, 2018
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Christie Hodgen is the author of Elegies for the Brokenhearted; Hello, I Must Be Going; and A Jeweler’s Eye for Flaw. She has won the AWP Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. She teaches at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.
More about Christie Hodgen

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“Something was broken in me, but it wasn't so easy to recognise. I couldn't explain it. I couldn't say to my mother and Teddy, "Sometimes my right mind doesn't work, and I have to use my left." There was no way for them to reproduce my injury and understand what was happening. Even if they could, I had the feeling they'd never stick with it. I had the feeling they'd give up before we finished breakfast.” 0 likes
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