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Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,116 ratings  ·  226 reviews
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Seal Press (first published September 24th 2013)
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David Wingrave
Dec 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
Every essay:

I wanted to come to New York because it seemed cool, and where I'm from people wouldn't know cool if it froze their nuts! Then I did a bunch of stuff and got fed up and moved upstate because you get tired y'know? If only my younger self could see me! No, jk, they'd be proud, because this was the plan all along. And I am proud! And everyone I know is proud of me too! Including my younger self! Also, I still keep my metrocard in my wallet to remind me who I am: A person proud to have h
...more
Sari Botton
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well... full disclosure...I edited this book. And conceived of it in general. And wrote the intro, an essay, and more. So, I'm not exactly impartial.
KOMET
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My first-hand experience with New York City took place in August 1971 as a small boy on holiday to visit relatives there. In the intervening years, I’ve visited New York 4 other times, seeing it from a variety of angles and perspectives. But never with a desire to live there. “Too big, too crazy”, I’d always say to myself. Notwithstanding that, I have had at times an overweening curiosity as to why other people (outsiders to the Big Apple, like me) have fallen so deeply, passionately IN LOVE wit ...more
Hannah Garden
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Of my friends who have left New York, most of them have left for the sort of torn, bittersweet reasons that most of the writers in this anthology have left for--more space is available elsewhere, more time, exhausted by the embarrassing rents, going to graduate school, having grown up here and wearied of it, realizing that the promise of a new self is just an inside job and you don't have to stay here to pull it off (and in some cases have to move on in order to)--and, by and large, are not dick ...more
John Treat
Oct 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Terrible book. I couldn't finish it, because it was like being trapped in a summer internship at Seventeen Magazine. Let me explain. All the contributors are women for some odd reason, and this is the effect: the contributors all "love" and "hate" New York in the same ditzy emotional ways they love and hate the men (mostly losers) who seem to govern their choices over where to live. Look, it's just a city. No more, no less. Everyone in this book needs to get over themselves, and go live in Dubuq ...more
Mariel
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queens-book-club
This is a rough book to read, if you've recently hit the 5 years in New York mark and are contemplating an exit, if only to the 'burbs. It's a nostalgia ride, nostalgia for a place this is still in the present time, feeling the eventual loss before it's even happened.

But before I slip into an emotional reverie about living in or out of New York City, I want to comment on the actual collection of essays. Reading it felt a bit like an anthology version of the movie Groundhog Day , starting each e
...more
Kerry
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was quite proud of myself (smug, really) because I had the great idea to give this to a friend who was leaving NYC for Silicon Valley. She was touched. So far so good.

Then I bought a copy for myself because I love half the writers in this collection (Roxane Gay! Dani Shapiro! Cheryl Strayed!) and was looking forward to discovering the others. So I read the book in a day, and loved it, but now I understand a little too well why most of the writers left.

I recommend this for anyone who: hates N
...more
Abbey
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Oh this book!

I picked it up in an independent book store in Brooklyn, the day before I too was leaving New York to head back home. It was only a weekend, but I felt the pain (and pangs!) described in this book accurately - as well as the fairy-tale love stories also described so wonderfully.

If you hate New York (1. i don't understand you) you will hate this book. But if you dream of it, with complexity, or if you live there, also with complexity, you will find great meaning in it. And of course,
...more
Sara
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a great collection! The essays are inspired by a Joan Didion essay of the same name. The stories are varied, well written and thoughtful. The anecdotes are raw and will touch you emotionally. These are warts and all tales of New York.

Song to listen to while reading: New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down by LCD Soundsystems.

Please leave your song of choice in the comments section.

I received an advanced reading copy from Net Galley.
Ayana
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved these memoirs. It made me remember that New York is not mine and nor do I belong to New York! There's a life out there other than what's here. When you're in New York for too long, you tend to forget that you can be successful somewhere else and looking back life in new york is hard. Its not all its cracked up to be. You can never be rich enough to afford the ever changing city and sometimes with wealth comes disillusion.

All of these writers once thought that New York was theirs. Some p
...more
Lauren F.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you've ever daydreamed about escaping the city you love, wondered how people manage to pursue creative careers in NYC, or returned from a weekend away with more reluctance than relief, read this book. The all-too-relatable topic is why I picked it up, but it turns out this is also a lovingly curated collection of some of the best contemporary writers and essayists who have—at some point—passed through the five boroughs. I read it cover to cover, and if there were a sequel, I'd read that too.
Tim
Jul 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
The number of writers here who cite their sex lives as the first casualty of 9/11 is astonishing.
Terri
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
“There is the ache of not having another place in the world where I might ever feel so alive and alone, invisible while visible, ever again. Alone in exactly the right kind of way.”

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York is a collection of essays from writers who have loved, left and maybe still long for those days when they could write and live in New York.

(This review combines this essay collection with the second collection Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshaka
...more
Allan
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this anthology of accounts written by women from many differing backgrounds and indeed eras of their experiences falling in love with, and then recognising the need to, leave New York at some point in their lives. Having a love for the city myself, albeit as an occasional tourist and through my reading, I enjoyed both the settings of the tales and the experience of the writers, and am delighted that I purchased the follow up to this book, Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakabl ...more
Ashley Bergman Carlin
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nyc
I bought this book at the Strand in New York last May, when I was there last. But at the end of the trip I was ready to come home, to say goodbye to all that, and thought that perhaps my love affair with the city was over. This book seemed like it might sit on my shelf, unread. But last week I woke up missing the city, again, and remembered that this collection was waiting for me. I picked it up and swallowed it pretty quickly, wanting each essay to go on forever but anxious to read the next. I ...more
Megankellie
Bless you citizen Kerry! I read this in one day.

Sitting very still in a Brooklyn apartment and trying not to spend money via not moving my limbs, I would google and Google and google, looking for Exactly This. I will add my search terms so hopefully versions of me trapped in despair that only a psychiatrist prescribing medical food would admit was caused by stupid New York: "people who leave New York and are happier" "why do I hate New York" "is New York terrible" "books about people who left N
...more
MaryJane Brodeck
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The twenty-eight essays included in this book are inspired by the famous Joan Didion essay of the same name. Established and emerging writers share their love affair with New York, initially drawn by its manic energy and frenzied pace. As years pass, they also share the grief that blindsided them, when the city loses its magic and the pressures of New York’s frenetic life wear thin on even the most resilient. After achieving success in their writing careers, the cons of living in New York outwei ...more
Ariana
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone currently living in NYC
In reality, I think I'd give this a 3.5 stars. There were stories I loved, stories I liked, and some that couldn't hold my attention in the hour and a half I was waiting for my laundry to finish. However, that being said, I could definitely relate to most of the stories in here. And it made me once again nostalgic for a NYC I've never known. I wanted to be part of the NYC of the 60's 70's, and 80's. The NYC my mom grew up in. The NYC artists thrived in. I wanted to feel that kinetic energy these ...more
Jules Ray
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and Sari Botton for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What a lovely book! Maybe that's a little sappy but for this gal who moved to NYC as a 16 y.o., left, came back, and moved away again I really knew what these contributors felt about the wonderful city of New York.

This book reveals the experiences, both positive and tragic and everything in between, of writers who moved to and from NYC at various stages of their careers. Each one was better than the previous and
...more
Jessica
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: Beca Grimm
Shelves: 2014, non-fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of writers' experiences living, loving, and leaving New York. Most relatable for the likes of me in terms of living here now (going on eight years), and because they are all essays in tribute to one of my favorite essays of all time, Joan Didion's "Goodbye to All That." All of these writers have lived different lives and at different times -- there's a range of ages, a range of 'New Yorks,' but every New York is the same. Perhaps I wasn't buying heroin or wav ...more
Chanita Chayaluk
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Who needs to hop on a plane back to the Big Apple when you've got 28 short essays that will take you back to right where your heart belongs. Despite having read stories from 28 different authors, one thing is the same: the indescribable love for NYC. People flock to the city with high ambitions, hope, and a need for a fresh start. Lost in the energy of a small island of 8 million people, it is easy to glorify pain as excitement. But it is these very experiences that shape anyone who has ever liv ...more
Jenn Estepp
I liked this one better than the "loving and staying forever in New York" collection. Is that because this is, realistically, a better representation of my current head/heart space? Perhaps, but I also think it benefits from being the first conceived - it feels like it was probably in the works for longer and, as such, Botton had longer to assemble the essays and was a little more choosy with them in terms of quality. There are great writers present here and I found the essays pretty strong, mor ...more
Elizabeth
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Connected strongly to the writers currently living in NYC and their feelings about the city. Fascinating insight on the city in the 70s, 80s, and 90s--an ever-transforming place! The premise of the book is clever (writers pen their own version of Joan Didion's famous essay from her book Slouching Towards Bethlehem), but it's never specified that they're all female writers. Some of the essays start to get repetitive halfway through; the stories only sound unique for so long.
Caryn Hart
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
New York is a city you see in movies, series, video clips ... Especially for the generation that grew up with Sex & The City it seems like a thrilling promised land filled with attractive people. It seems to be all that.
So, it's nice to read about women who left NYC. Some left to save themselves, some left to aspire their dreams ... all those stories are in this anthology. After having read these stories you'll love New York even more but it's less of a mirage.
Amy Schrauf
Dec 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Whiney, entitled late 20 something women who thought going to NY would transform them into interesting, non whiney, entitled jerks. Most moved away due to having kids and succumbing to a life of boredom in the suburbs or not being able to accept the reality of needing a real job. One writer was actually a NYC native, and she was different only in the way that she whined about NY and how it used to be cool, man. Maybe 2 essays in this book were worthwhile. TL;DR: What a pile of piss.
Amy
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was born and raised in NYC, and also left. Although I did not share the experience of arriving in NYC to write (I am not a writer and I don't think being born counts as arriving in this sense), there were some lines that felt as though they were plucked from my memory. Many descriptions left me at once homesick, and glad that I didn't have to live there for long as an adult. The authors did a good job of capturing the feeling of NYC.
Jennifer
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Maybe I'm biased as I have known the editor (also a contributor) since I was 14 years old. Nevertheless, as a longtime NYC dweller who has a love-hate relationship with the city, this book resounded with me on so many levels. Reading it during my travels in England this week only added to the pleasure of Goodbye To All That. If you have ever lived in NYC, thought about living there or lived there and left, do yourself a favor and read this book.
Becca
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-bingo
I loved many of the essays in this collection. I found myself relating to the many complications and emotions of living in New York, and it was a comfort to know I'm not alone. However, a lot of the essays seemed to follow the same basic structure after awhile and a few became rather predictable. I would have rated it higher if only the best essays were included.
Laura
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Timely!

My mom got this for me as I prepared to leave New York myself, and I loved hearing other women's take on the transition. Perhaps I'll write my own "Goodbye to All That" sometime soon when I'm a bit further out from the move?
Janis
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
It took me a long time to finish this book. That says a lot. Having loved and left New York, I wanted to love it, but alas, I loved a few of the stories, the rest either boring or so far distant I couldn't relate.
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“The city had seemed like a great place to discover who you are. It just seemed that there was a lot to experience here, as if all you had to do was show up and the city would take care of the rest, making sure you got the education, the maturing, the wising-up you needed. Its crowds, the noise, the endlessness of it all, the perpetual motion, felt exciting then—revealing—just the deep end I needed to jump into. There is something unique about New York, some quality, some matchless, pertinent combination of promise and despair, wizardry and counterfeit, abundance and depletion, that stimulates and allows for a reckoning to occur—maybe even forces it. The city pulls back the curtain on who you are; it tests you and shows you what you are made of in a way that has become iconic in our popular culture, and with good reason.” 9 likes
“I’d entered the city the way one enters any grand love affair: with no exit plan.” 6 likes
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