Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book review - Goodbye Days

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: For This Life Only by Stacey Kade
                     You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
warning: likelihood of tears

Summary (provided by publisher): Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. But now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation.
Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a “goodbye day” together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.
Soon the other families are asking for their own goodbye day with Carver—but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

My opinion: Given the concept here, I don't think anyone wold expect a joy-filled read. Indeed, the raw emotions are almost painful at moments, sitting right at the surface. Zentner doesn't shay away from harsh realities either. Carver deals with his grief in very visceral ways, at times nearly overwhelmed by guilt and blame, both internal and external. He's not only lost his friends, he is viewed by most of his town with suspicion. He's become something of a pariah. Grief on it's own is not unique. What makes this book stand out is the goodbye days, the way they illustrated the varied needs of grieving people. Each goodbye day presents the reader with a different approach to grief. Beyond simply exploring grief, Zentner explores how well we can ever truly know a person. And he does all this with prose that is beautiful in it's simplicity and artistry. Brace yourself before you start it, but do read this book.
More information: Goodbye Days releases March 7.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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