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Everything Was Good-Bye

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  753 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
Raised by her widowed mother and the youngest of six daughters, Meena is a young Indo-Canadian woman struggling to find her place in the world. As a restless and headstrong teenager, she knows that the freedom experienced by her Canadian peers is beyond her reach. But unlike her older sisters, Meena refuses to accept a life that is defined by an arranged marriage. She befr ...more
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Published March 1st 2012 by Penguin Canada (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Raquel
May 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, may
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Louise
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Penguin Group Canada|March 6, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-14-318257-3

Story Description:

The youngest of six daughters raised by a widowed mother, Meena is a young Indo-Canadian woman struggling to find her place in the world. She knows that the freedom experienced by others is beyond her reach. But unlike her older sisters, Meena refuses to accept a life dictated by tradition. Against her mother’s wishes, she falls for a young man named Liam who asks her to run away with him. She must then m
...more
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
First off, I won this book on Goodreads First Reads.

On the back cover of this book, the novel is described as "heartwrenching." That is certainly the case. This novel is like bitter, expensive chocolate. It is rich, decadent, but not 100% enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't put this book down. The writing is the best I've read in a while and I'm always fascinated by books that explore cultural divides. However, this book is a bumpy ride and the lives of the main characters are filled with
...more
Leslie
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had trouble falling asleep after finishing this book last night. I read most of it this weekend because I couldn't leave it. I immediately felt attached to young Meena and even Liam and Meena's mother in her sorrow and perseverance. I saw my own hopefulness in Meena, yet hopelessness. I rooted for her the whole book, rejoicing in her victories.

The narrative flows perfectly never saying too much and always just enough. It is heartbreaking - to experience, to finish, to not be reading anymore.
...more
Madeline Dahlman
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn't sure what to expect and I've been given so many similar books to review lately that I really wasn't looking forward to reading this...but now I want to pass it on to almost everyone I know...

The book focuses on Meena, a typical Canadian teenager growing up within a very traditional Indian family and community. As one of 6 sisters, there is a very strong interest in finding her an acceptable arranged marriage and embracing community values. Thi
...more
Alana
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was SO good. Firstly, I would like to mention that, in compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads!

Now where to start? The reason I wanted to read this book so bad wasnt because it was listed as a giveaway. I am from Vancouver Island and born in Surrey BC. Meena, our MC lived in North Delta which is close. It's rare that I get to read a coming-of-age fiction novel from Canada, let alone pretty much right next door. The fact
...more
Ann
May 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada
Started out promising, but disappointed in the ensuing melodrama.
Scarlett
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story. The characters were really easy to relate too. Sometimes the cultural references would be a bit confusing, but it was still an enjoyable read.
Sue
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent first novel. This book really speaks about racisim and sterotypes. It helps to understand what ignorance still exists even today.
Winnie
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very easy to read and the storyline was something I could relate to, being I grew up with alot of that culture. It's a great read!
Dee at EditorialEyes
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For this review and others, visit the EditorialEyes Blog.
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3.5 out of 5

I first heard about Everything Was Good-bye through an invitation to join Penguin Canada and the Chatelaine Book Club for an evening with author Gurjinder Basran. Having a chance to hang out in the Penguin offices, sipping wine, chatting with other bloggers, and listening to Gurjinder read from the book and then answer questions was a not-to-be-missed experience, and I suggest you read the great recaps on Nicole About Tow
...more
Veronica
3.5 stars. The pages flew by as Meninder "Meena" grows up in an Indian family in 1990's Surrey and Vancouver, battling with her desire to break free from cultural traditions and her strong familial ties. Being caught between worlds is a theme that is returned to again and again. Meena is growing up and flexing her adolescent wings in a houseful of sisters and a single mother, and as the book progresses through the years of her life, we see that there is a pattern of indecision to Meena's life. B ...more
Linda Lpp
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. Dealt with family estrangement; Young people challenged by traditional Indian expectations regarding dating, education desires, leaving home, arranged marriages, abusive situations...and so much more.
Amy
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written.
Sabrina
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a stunning novel. I can’t remember the last time I used that adjective in regards to a book, but it’s the only one that can accurately fit it. The story is bold, truthful, and compelling. It’s fictional but might as well represent the thousands of young girls and women that struggle in a fight between cultural duties and personal needs. Certain instances rang very true to my own life, and usually I hate books like that. I read for escapism, knowledge, and to fuel my imagination; being re ...more
Sophia
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.8
Friederike Knabe
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-lit
In her debut novel, "Everything Was Good-Bye", Gurjinder Basran tells the story of one happy-unhappy family, seen through the eyes of Meena, the youngest of six sisters. Set against the backdrop of suburban British Columbia, Basran paints a richly coloured portrait of a close-knit Punjabi community, caught between the traditions of "home" in India and their Canadian home, where their community is surrounded by a predominantly white, rather laid-back English-speaking society. With an impressively ...more
Forgotten Realms Queen
** spoiler alert ** Here we meet Meena, I think one of the youngest of six girls of a single mom who immigrated to Canada with her husband and six daughters when everyone was still very young, too young to remember India or England where they were born/lived respectively.

First off, this is a very powerful book, exploring the generational gap a lot of children have with immigrant parents, the parents often wanting to hold on to old ideas, customs, and traditions, and the children often wanting to
...more
Kailey Mccarron
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When fingering through the shelves of my local bookstore, I stumbled upon Everything Was Goodbye, by Gurjinder Basran, the colorful and thoughtfully designed cover was what truly intrigued me. Everyone has heard the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but honestly, the cover was what enticed me to devote myself in this novel. When I got home I was not certain to whether I would actually enjoy reading Everything Was Goodbye, but astonishingly enough I found I could not keep myself from ...more
Elizabeth
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I wonder if I just keep reading novels because I’m searching for exactly the right story that I want to read, and I read a lot of good books, but it’s never quite what I was hoping for. And then I read one like Everything Was Goodbye that is exactly right. It’s beautifully written, with imperfect characters and an achingly tragic love story. I got to cry all through the last few chapters--sometimes with happiness, sometimes with despair, sometimes with both at the same time.

Meena is t
...more
Edwin Lang
I enjoyed this book immensely. I hope Ms Basran has the energy to write more and as well. I found the heroine and the choices she made believable. Sometimes we’d wish that other decisions and paths be taken but life is generally not like that. We tend to make questionable choices, suffer some harm and, if we are lucky, learn.

Meena seemed to me, as were almost each of Ms Basran’s characters, a prisoner of her culture. I recall – I think correctly – that the Talmud instructs us that we are product
...more
Mandeep
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-recs
A 3.5 stars overall - and a very solid 1st book. I found it a quick read. The author's writing was a delight - and she was able to build up a quiet, intense sort of atmosphere. I had some issues with the plot, and thought the ending could have been less melodramatic (hello bollywood).

It's set at the time of the author's adolescence, which would have been a more traditional time in that Indo-Cdn community, and when the community was smaller.

Meena is the youngest daughter of a widowed, uneducated
...more
Farhana S
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Twists always make a book more interesting, but in this case, the twists made the book amazing. You can't predict the direction the book is going to take nor can you ever imagine such an ending.

When you start the book you might thing it's just another book about being Indian in the western world, but it's more than that. It's got a full dose of death, divorce and deceit, topics are one has to pretend don't exist when being Indian.
Sandie
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With EVERYTHING WAS GOODBYE Gurjinder Basran has written a story whose general theme focuses on the problematic and precarious business of maintaining the delicate balance of residing in what amounts to two different worlds.

Her tale of Meena, a young Indian woman who, having grown up in the atmosphere of Western freedom after her family immigrated from India to Vancouver, BC, is torn by the pressures of fulfilling her perceived duty to her family, her community and her culture. Not adhering to t
...more
Chandni
This was an incredible book. Everyone who has ever felt like an outsider, who has had to deal with stereotypes, and who has ever had to sacrifice a part of themselves for someone else will be able to relate to this book. Meena is a young Indo-Canadian girl who is desperate to follow a different path than the one chosen for her by her mother and the ones that her sisters have. She wants the freedom that other girls her age have and questions the rules that she has grown up with. With Liam, she fi ...more
Ruth Linka
The reviews are not wrong, this is a good book in some ways and certainly had the potential to be great. But I also think it is being reviewed based on what it could have been. I think readers all want to love this woman, and to get inside her story and understand her background and her life. I SO wanted to love this book, but I was disappointed. Part of the reason this is such a popular book is that we have the last generation's stories of coming to Canada and home, but what we need and want ar ...more
Dawn Ang
If it wouldn't have come off as obnoxious to write this review in All Caps, I would've done it. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK! Yes, you should imagine me yelling that last sentence. It is amazing. AMAZING! Don't miss out on the greatest thing you're going to read this year.

Seriously.

It is that good.

This book is incredibly underrated. I can't understand why it hasn't received more five-star reviews! I have nothing but PRAISE for Basran's marvelous debut novel.

"Everything Was Good-bye" is a wor
...more
Reena Samra
I chose this book based on the fact that it was set in Canada, specifically in the lower Mainland. My views are a little bit conflicted due to the fact I enjoyed the characters in the book, but i didnt feel like I got to really jump into the storyline.
I myself could relate to Meena and her struggle to stay true to her Sikh roots but also want to be true to myself and who I am.
The book starts off just the way I would expect any Indian family with girls living in the house. The humour, the bante
...more
Carol Anne Lawry
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lately
Excellent read. I thought often of "The Jade Peony" written by Wayson Choy. Both take place in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, B.C. and have strong female elders. The intersection of these immigrant women and their young families being raised in a Western Society and the choices the children make brings a bright light to their struggles.

Meninder, the protagonist of Basran's story, leads a double life. She wears the garb, speaks the polite phrase of ritual but is constantly biting her tongue, c
...more
Pea Chic
I enjoyed reading this book because it has great momentum and nicely written (lucid, clear).

Although the story itself has a good flow, there were few instances it didn't make sense. For instance, the character reflects into a past memory and the author fails to bring the character's thought back to the present. I found this very confusing as to whether I missed a part (and had to re-read to ensure that I didn't).

What I found annoying about this story is how negatively the heroine portrays wome
...more
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Gurjinder Basran’s debut novel, Everything Was Good-bye, was the winner of Mother Tongue Publishing's “Search for the Great BC Novel Contest” in 2010 and was awarded the 2011 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Gurjinder lives in British Columbia, Canada with her family.
More about Gurjinder Basran...

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