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The Art of Saying Goodbye

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  596 ratings  ·  111 reviews
“Bache writes straight from the heart, peopling her pages with characters you will never forget.”
—Lee Smith, author of Fair and Tender Ladies

“Ellyn Bache draws her characters from the inside.”
Baltimore Sun

Critically acclaimed author Ellyn Bache captivates with The Art of Saying Goodbye, a beautiful and poignant story of four suburban women who gain new insights and appr
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published May 19th 2011)
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3.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  596 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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As I mentioned in my initial thoughts post, I didn’t really like how this book began. I continued to read a bit more, but I never connected with any of the characters and ended up putting it aside to read something else, intending to come back to it. I never have. It’s a bit of a let down, too, because I enjoy books that explore friendships between women and this one looks like a winner from the outside. The execution just didn’t jive with my style, unfortunately.

The book starts with a jerky nar
Cate (The Professional Fangirl)
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: book clubs made up of women
Shelves: 2011-reads
A Reading Good Books @ Wordpress review.

* In compliance with FTC guidelines, it should be noted that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I won this book during the 30 May 2011 drawing of GoodReads First Reads. I had been playing for just a week. Lucky! I was one of 18 winners of this book. In the past, I have read only one similar book, a book about a bevy of women bonding together, and that was The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. Although I do not have much exp
Jun 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
I thought this book was padded with mundane details. I was disappointed in not finding any light-bulb moments to give the title credence. I kept waiting for something to happen. Please just let Paisley's friends, at her funeral, drape feather boas across their shoulders and "dance, girls, and all the cares of the world will go away." Not even that. Bummer!
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome
I have had this book since last June. For some reason it took until now to get to it(likely those other 1,000 books on my shelf have something to do with it.). Paisley is a carefree housewife living in Brightwood Trace. She is, no doubt, the life of the party and the neighborhood. The one who is always there for everyone in the neighborhood, no matter what they're going through. She goes in for a pre-op exam and her friend Julianne(another member of the neighborhood)finds something. That somethi ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Sometimes I hit a wave of books that I just don't connect with. Perhaps it's me and the circumstances of my life at the time, perhaps it's the books. The Art of Saying Goodbye was another disappointment to me.

I normally enjoy books that explore the friendships of women. I thought the author did a good job capturing some of the intricacies and feelings of each of these women as Paisley's cancer diagnosis causes them to evaluate their lives and relationships. The book's point of view/narration mo
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
A close-knit neighborhood is rocked by the news that Paisley, the most charismatic and kind woman on the block, has pancreatic cancer that has already traveled to her liver. Each person responds to this news differently. The novel describes the layers of friendship that exist between and among these women. We learn about their mixed loyalties, their indebtedness, their betrayals, their secrets and their saviors. The men and children in their lives are affected not only by Paisley's ill health bu ...more
Amber Koppenhofer
Aug 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novel
I picked up this story hoping for a tale of love, loss, and grief. Instead I read about a bunch of caddy women jealous of their dying neighbor...jealous of her spirit and beauty that causes their husbands to stare at her instead of themselves. The characters are shallow and some are so similar to one another that's it's easy to confuse them with each other. I wanted to give it up early on, but I held onto the glimmer of hope that this story would somehow redeem itself. It didn't. My advice to yo ...more
Jun 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was such a fast, smooth read. It had incredibly relatable characters and a realistic but sad storyline. It's moving in the simple, painful way that life often is. I enjoyed what felt like a glimpse into the everyday life of these women and by the end felt like I had known them for years.
May 31, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
Looks like a good book, I'm looking forward to receiving this in the mail so I can read it!! Thanks Goodreads for the win!
Nicci Carrera
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-s-fiction
It's an art all right, when this author does it. Ellen Bache is my new gold standard. I give other books five stars for story, but this one had story and writing excellence. The characters are brilliantly drawn. My favorites are Iona and Julienne. Bache really gets in their heads and it isn't always pretty, which seems very real to me. Things we don't say to others are explored here on the page. There are complicated feelings involved when a neighbor gets fatally sick, all depending on the backg ...more
Mary Jo Reece
Aug 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my, I am very sad. I don't think I have ever given a book a one star rating. I just hate doing it because I cannot imagine how much hard work goes into writing and publishing a book. And I have to admit, I only got through one-third of the book before I gave up. I think the story idea was very good and I am not prudish by any means, but the sex scenes just didn't fit. Or maybe I just didn't expect them to be there. They just weren't needed. I really wanted to like this book :(
Sara Smith
Pop Sugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about death or grief

This is a book about 4 women who have a close neighborhood friend dying of pancreatic cancer over 47 days. It's based on a true story. While nobody deals with death the same way, each woman does reflect and make changes in her own life based on losing a close friend.

Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Book I cried.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Major disappointment. Found it to be long and boring without much of a point.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thought provoking story.
Paisley is a gorgeous, magnetic, and energetic woman that captures everyone’s attention with her charm and inner goodness. She lives in an affluent neighborhood, along with five other women friends who are all very different, including Iona, the woman in her 60’s who is quite older than the others, and is a bit mean-spirited, and Julianne, a nurse who has a psychic ability to feel her patient’s pain. Also included are Ginger, a business owner, and Andrea, Paisley’s best friend and mother of a ca ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Librarything and loved the idea of the storyline. After reading it, I found that the author wrote this story after going through a similiar situation several years ago in her own neighborhood. That made it even more touching for me.

The story takes place over 1 1/2 months in the lives of Paisley, the woman with cancer, and her neighborhood friends. The story mostly takes place in current time with a few flashback chapters to give you the backstory. The storyline flows e
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Twenty years ago I lost a friend to breast cancer. By the time it was diagnosed she had only 2 months to live. She left a husband and 3 children under the age of 15. In 2007 my big sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a single mastectomy and chemo. Not long after 1/3 of a kidney was removed due to cancer. More chemo. She is a survivor.

I was ambivalent about entering the giveaway for this book but I did enter. I was hoping for something uplifting.

That wasn't quite what I got. The book
Lydia Laceby
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes

The Art of Saying Goodbye has a Desperate Housewives element to it, with five neighbourhood friends, their lives and children intertwined as one of the women receives tragic news. I love reading about the friendships between women and was looking forward to this novel, but unfortunately I was disappointed and couldn’t really get into it.

The characters seemed disjointed and not genuinely interested in each other. Maybe this is where the novel should be interes
Sara Strand
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I will start by telling you that this is another one of those books where the readers voice changes between characters. Each woman is friens with Paisley is different ways and not necessarily with each other. Some characters I felt were stronger than others and some are the kind that you just get annoyed with because you know someone like them in real life. Mostly, they are the kind of people who aren't able to move on in a positive direction from anything. Everything in their life after a parti ...more
Kathie Newell
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
For the most part, I liked the book; but I did not like the ending.
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book- so much so that I read it in one sitting. I don't normally read books like this, but every now and then it's good to read a little chick-lit (like a chick-flick, but for books). I thought this book was a little bit of Steel Magnolias, Now and Then, and Stepmom all rolled together. I enjoyed the characters and their development throughout the book. I thought they would be a little closer as friends, but some seemed more acquaintances than friends. However, all of their ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
The story of five women brought together by one feisty, fiery "hot mama". Desperate to bring some life to the neighborhood, Paisley hand delivers invitations to all the women neighboring her house to a "Happy Hour for Hot Moms" claiming they all deserve it. What begins for many as a nervous meeting in Paisley's backyard, blossoms over the next ten years in to various degrees of friendship between the five women, the rock and guiding force is always Paisley.

Until Paisley's terminal cancer diagnos
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This story was very good. I loved it. It made me cry in many places. It was hard to read when you know how the story is going to end. I found it to be very interesting to find out that the writer had really gone through this herself. It made the story more real than it already was.

In the story I found the way each woman reacted to the diagnosis of their friend with pancreatic and liver cancer to be interesting. Each one reacted differently, but still I felt that they all wanted to help her get t
Laura de Leon
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

This book felt like it should have been a 4 star book, but it never quite lived up to the potential for me.

There wasn't anything really wrong with it, as such. There was quite a bit right with it.

Still, I clearly enjoyed it, and am glad I read it.

What was most interesting to me was the picture of the neighborhood, and the links between the women there, even more so than the women themselves.

The women each had her own story, and they all included Paisley at some point, at some time, to
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“Odd, how in the afterglow of someone else’s life, your own looks so much brighter.”

This line from Ellyn Bache’s new novel The Art of Saying Goodbye (William Morrow, 2011), gives you a sense of the glowing feel you will gather from this artful novel.

In the novel, golden girl Paisley suddenly learns she has a late stage cancer. It is unthinkable, and throughout the course of the novel, we see the women who know Paisley re-examining their own lives, revealing secrets and shames, and finding new fo
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Two stars doesn't seem like it would make for a decent book, but "The Art of Saying Goodbye" was a nice read. Yet, "Liked it" feels a little too strong. The book always came across as a superficial glimpse into the character's lives. Yes, we found out deep dark secrets (like Juilanne's tattoo and her special vibe for detecting illness or about the one-time rendezvous between Paisley and Eddie (married to Mason and Ginger, respectively), but I never really seemed to get to know the characters and ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
We meet 5 women off the bat, and then we go back and forth between all of them, finding out about them and what each one might be struggling with. Iona was my favorite. Seems like a hard lady on the outside but really is a loving lady and could be a wonderful friend. All these ladies I yearned to really like. Could like them on the surface, but there was no real depth. Even Paisley, as much as I was like, yea I think I might like her, after all the stuff I read, not really sure I do!

Each woman,
First, I love this cover. I just adored it, the colors are vibrant and it's just a really pretty hard cover book. Second, the writing style is just my type. I love the voices that Ellen Bache gives these women. Each one distinct and personal, yet distant as well. The reason I didn't go up in stars is because I find it hard to read about women I dislike. Besides Paisley and Julianne, I dislike all the other women. Their petty personalities, while realistic, just drove me nuts and made the book di ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

“The Art of Saying Goodbye” by Ellyn Bache is a heartfelt novel of a group of diverse women; Iona, Julianne, Andrea, Ginger and Paisley, friends living in a close knit neighborhood. But this group is shocked when the liveliest and friendliest of the group, Paisley, is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

This book isn’t just a story about a woman going through her battle with cancer. It is the story of five individuals. Ellyn Bache takes u
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Ellyn Bache is the author of nine novels, including Safe Passage, which was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon, and The Art of Saying Goodbye, which was chosen as an “Okra Pick” by the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Alliance. She began her career writing short stories for women’s magazines like McCall’s and Good Housekeeping, some of which have recently been collected in Kaleidoscope:
“But some climbs you have to make alone.” 28 likes
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