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Rules for Saying Goodbye
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Rules for Saying Goodbye

3.05  ·  Rating details ·  382 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Kate is having a hard time. Lucas, the journalist she moved to Rome to marry, seems to be breaking up with her; he is certain that when the time comes, she won’t want to farm geese for foie gras in the Périgord with him. In actual fact, he doesn’t want to feel responsible for making her happy.

“You were never responsible for that,” she answers, confused. “Happiness simply h
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  382 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Maria Headley
Sep 02, 2007 rated it liked it
This was just okay. I wanted to love it, and then it had plot problems. As in, really, it didn't have much of a plot. It felt like a diary written by a pretty good writer, but as far as story structure, it wasn't there. Bummed me out, actually, because I was prepared to love this. Actually, though, this was a good learning experience. She did some things that I'm sure I'm right in the midst of doing, writing-wise, and hopefully the unsatisfied, puzzled feeling I had when I finished this book wil ...more
Christina M Rau
Jan 04, 2012 added it
Shelves: novels
Rules For Saying Goodbye is less obtuse and more narrative than Sittenfeld's style, but the themes and tone mirror each other.

The character narrator Kathrine brings up cocaine and cancer the way people bring up butter and slippers. Things happen in life. That's what this book is about.

It's also about those guys who come and go, those that stay, and those that need to never have existed. It's about friendships that fade and those that, no matter distance, change, and time, are the most fulfilling
Jennifer Maiser
Mar 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
Waste of time -- I slogged through it hoping that there would be something redeeming (I heard about it through NPR so thought there might be something redeeming) -- but the plot never picked up or got interesting. I never got emotionally involved with the main character.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
Maybe I "lack social class" or the "proper" knowledge in what a good novel is supposed to be like. That, or I'm dead on the mark with this review: this book was a royal waste of time and brain cells. I sped-read through the book mainly so I could just say I finished reading through it and gave it a full chance.

The book seemed promising from the beginning; seemed to have witty dialogue and interesting characters. As I read on, however, I realized that the book had no real point. The conversations
Dec 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Rules For Saying Goodbye. After reading reviews, I can understand many readers' points of view that it's very aimless, but I think that's what I enjoyed so much. The disjointment of plot and paragraph gives a sense of aimlessly wandering through life, something I find very relatable. The dialogue was very witty and had me laughing out loud at times. All the characters that Katherine met were unique and refreshing and real; there weren't two that were alike, and trust me, there ...more
Katie Marquette
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Honest, funny, sad, and nostalgic - the best part of the book is probably in the title, when our heroine lists the rules for saying goodbye to your latest lover.

You'll be laughing out loud bye Rule #4:
'Buy things to leave in his house, things he won’t have the energy to throw out, like jars of the peanut butter you like. Do not leave things you might want later. Leave hair rubber bands and your toothbrush, but not your Sonicare toothbrush.'

The list takes a somber turn when we come to Rule #10:
Jun 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
Katherine Taylor wrote a book about Katherine Taylor and called it a novel. Fiction afforded her the opportunity to make herself interesting but did she? Not even. Blonde, skinny, trust-fund, dilettante, rent-control apartment. Fresno (?), prep school, New York, London, Rome. I read this was supposed to be a satire but the reviewers are overestimating "Ms Taylor". Too many dull anecdotes and poor-me scenarios. The book should have been about Clarissa, the one character she manages to bring to li ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rambling, semi-plotless novel needs to be veeeery well written to interest me. This novel is very well written, in fact, it's almost pitch perfect, breezing through the moments of the young female protagonist's life (apparently a close copy of the author's own). The fast pace is certainly part of the charm. Each scene creates a minimalist sketch of just the essential elements, then moves on without a single wasted word.

The authorial voice is distinctive without being excessively quirky: this i
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I am loving this book. I picked it up to pass some time. Later I realized the cover had images of wine, beer, cocktails on the front. That made laugh at myself.

I feel like I am walking through many differently decorated rooms of the same house as I am reading. It's enticing.

I don't want this book to end.

Well, I finally gave in and finished this one. I adored it. It had a section on Rome so that endeared me even more.

I am not sure this book is for everyone, but it is dark and emotive and clever e
D.A. Brown
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
The Rules were good.
I didn't like this book, a sort of free-ranging memoir of a life of travel and learning without anything learned or travelled. It felt like skating along on the surface of ice, while seeing shapes underneath.
That said, I read the whole thing. In fact, looked forward to reading it.
So I'd skip this one by Katherine Taylor, but look forward to the next one. She can write well. But this surface tale of family events and growing up is not worth the time.
I'd read the rules. They ar
Samantha Smith
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This book was just ok. It was mildly entertaining with about 3 funny parts or sentences. The main character is a giant weirdo and not particularly likeable. Not entirely sure what the book is supposed to be about. I read that this book is supposed to be satire, and I can kind of see how that could be but also I kind of don't. This book is odd as the main chracter has the author's name. Autobiographical? I guess, but I hope not for the author's sake. Everybody is depressed, nobody goes to work, m ...more
Marie Anette
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was an okay book. I thought I was going to love it, after getting through the first part, that focuses on her life in a boarding school. I liked the honesty and freedom the writing gave off. But then it just kind of sank into a bunch of different stories that happen in Kath's life and it gets a little dull. The ending left me quite unsatisfied and unsure of what I, as a reader, was supposed to learn from it.
It's a book that could have been much better.
Sep 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book had great dialogue but you never really had a good sense of the main character. This is even worse because the character was the author (even down to the first name). The last half was enjoyable but I don't really understand how this was published. I ended the book feeling like I had read something with no point. ...more
Ursula Lyon
Oct 07, 2008 rated it liked it
HAHAHAH! $14 drinks and no $$$... ya, that sums of the life of a real new yorker!!! I liked this book but my heart kinda raced as I read it bc she is 11 when the book starts and in her 30's when it ends.... thats a lot of life to cover in one book... she went to grad school in like a paragraph! If only it where a paragraph, I woudld go too!!! ...more
Aug 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
It felt like a memoir, which was was a bit odd, and I kind of liked it at first. But then, the last half off the book she spent drinking and cruising through multiple (read: many) relationships, all which failed. The ending -- which was supposed to be happy, I guess -- fell flat. Blech.
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
The book engaged me in the first few chapters and I was eager to learn of what would happen of the girl who left home behind so quickly and her crazy mother. It lost its luster though by the time she was a grown up and I was happily awaiting the end of the book.
Mar 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book was just eh. There were times where I felt like the main character was just blah. no depth to any of the other characters. as the plot developed it just seemed very predictable and sort of uninteresting.
Dec 05, 2008 marked it as unfinished-never-to-be-started-aga
Whiny, privileged protagonist alienates reader! Not a new story, but a hated one ...
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was going to be chick lit. It's not. The characters are kind of one dimensional and unlikable and there really isn't a much of a plot. Thumbs down. ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
2/5- "Rules for Saying Goodbye" takes readers through the life of Kate, a young girl born in California who moves East to start boarding school. We learn of Kate's years in boarding school centred around her friends and her trips to New York. Upon graduation, we follow Kate through her years living in New York, her move to Europe, her jobs and her relationships with boyfriends and the relationship between her and her mother.

Unfortunately, the information above is really the only plot for this bo
Joanna Zhong
Jan 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
Could not finish it.
Honestly thought it'd get better but 224 pages in eh
Has no plotline, little character development. Seems to prefer introducing new characters over furthering the current ones.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
a much needed read about the freedom and pain following heartbreak
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i just love this book
Lettie Cox
Jun 11, 2022 rated it liked it
Just "ok" ...more
Amanda J
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I would want to be friends with this girl. I loved a lot of this book. I loved the way she was able to hit a home run in describing situations. for example, how one character would sit in the lunch room. Others would have to join her. I laughed when she went into a hotel in the middle of somewhere (I read this book several weeks ago) and told them "Elizabeth Taylor" needed a room and then brought her Mom in with a coat over her head. I loved her climbing a mountain with her ass hole boyfriend. I ...more
Oct 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"You're going to like the farm," his mother said to me.
I kenw farms and farm people. I had spent my childhood climbing up peach trees. I was the only girl in graduate school who knew how to eat a pomegranate. Climbing up peach trees had not reminded me, however, not to wear heels to a farm. Heels work very nicely at a small market in rural France, but not quite so well in the rich rural soil and wet depth that is every farm outside of Paris. I stuck in the mud and tried to pretend with each ste
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Kate and her family remind me a little bit of David Sedaris and his family. They are crazy, intense, depressed, dramatic characters whose antics and reactions made me laugh - sometimes outloud. However, at one point the book reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love and I began to tire of it. Overall, a quick and entertaining summer read. ...more
Suzanne Guillette
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this for my book club, and due to time constraints, ended up having to read it in one sitting. I think if I had been able to put it down and pick it up, I might have enjoyed it more, since the book has a sort of meandering, episodic tone. There's also an undercurrent of anxiety, which would be better served by reading in parts. That said, Taylor is a very entertaining and talented writer. I especially enjoyed the scenes with her mother. ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book but felt it could nave been better. The author left several threads underdeveloped that would have been more interesting I think. Not sure I would read anything else by her but I did like the parts set in other countries so if other novels were set in Europe or elsewhere I might give them a try.
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KATHERINE TAYLOR is the author of the novels Valley Fever (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2015) and Rules for Saying Goodbye (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2007). Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Town & Country, ZYZZYVA, The Southwest Review, and Ploughshares, among other publications. She has won a Pushcart Prize and the McGinnis Ritchie Award for Fiction. She has a B.A. ...more

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