My Thoughts On The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler

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The idea behind this book is great: a man loses his wife and her occasional “appearances” to him helps him to heal and move on.  The book itself, however, does not match up with the premise.

At the beginning of the book, Aaron informs the reader that he can see his dead wife, Dorothy, and that he believes that the neighbors can as well.  He wonders if it shocks them.  Aaron then backtracks and tells the story of how Dorothy died, how he responded in the first few months, and then he catches up to the narrative at the beginning when Dorothy appears to him from time to time.  The reader never finds out: is Dorothy visible to anyone else?  And though her appearances help him heal and move on, one never finds out how because they never resolve anything during their additional time together.  If anything, her appearances just stir up more questions.

The idea was fascinating.  The end result was disappointing.

beginnersgoodbye

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