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Goodbye Emily Paperback – January 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Koehler Books (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938467213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938467219
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,707,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“What we have in mind is a sweet look back at the good old days. We must have been in heaven, man.”
Wavy Gravy


""Oh my ... I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading this book. Wonderfully engaging, heart-warming, entertaining and soooooo very good that it had me taking a walk down memory lane with the story's flashbacks to the sixties and Woodstock. (And no, I wasn't a member of the Woodstock Nation, but I can safely claim that my Woodstock album has more grooves and scratch marks than any other album I've owned!)

Honestly, I don't think I've ever read a book where I connected with that many issues personally, all those themes from the heart-breaking loss of a loved one, to coming to terms with all the challenges, both physical and emotional, of growing old, of renewing your purpose in life and living, of reconnecting with old friends and family, of discovering who you really are. As I read, I felt myself riding that emotional rollercoaster, crying, laughing, feeling like my heart would break as I empathized with Sparky, Josh, and Buck and their journey through life, back to the place where it all seems to have started for them.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, highly recommend it. And if you choose to read Goodbye Emily, I hope you find it as much of a fulfilling experience as I did. Thank you, Michael Murphy!""

Kathryn Long, Goodreads Reviewer


“Michael I just finished reading your novel and found it a fantastic read and wonderful story! It would make a terrific movie. Thanks for letting me see it. cheers, Joe.”
Country Joe McDonald

Book Description

Three baby boomers relive their 1969 trip to Woodstock. One final roadtrip. One last chance to say Goodbye Emily.

They met at Woodstock, and the love lasted a lifetime. Then she was gone, and so was his college teaching job. Heartbroken but determined, he calls on his two best friends to help him return to the place it all began.The professor and his Woodstock buddy need the third tripper from back in the day, now in a nursing home with early stage Alzheimer’s. When the home refuses to allow their friend to come along, the professor and the vet bust him out, attracting the attention of the cops and the media, fascinating the public.
 
The roadtrip turns into a flight from “the man” and not even the professor’s defense attorney daughter can help. In a psychedelic van, the trio dodges cops and prosecutors. Against all odds, they close in on their destination, where thousands of supporters and cops await them.
 
Goodbye Emily is the irreverantly funny story about a journey of self-discovery for a man who thought he’d left all important journeys in life behind.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Murphy is a full time author and part time urban chicken rancher in Arizona. He lives in Arizona with his wife of forty-one years and the five children they adopted this past year. On August 12, Random House Alibi released his Prohibition-era novel The Yankee Club to rave reviews.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 67 customer reviews
The story is wonderful and I love all the characters.
ToniC
This is the story of true love, friendship, family, grief, healing, and making the most of what life gives you.
gpangel
I've never read a book that had me crying and laughing for the whole book.
Brenda

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Southern Girl on December 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Broken heart syndrome is a real disease and Sparky's life is on the line. Grieving over the loss of his beloved Emily has weakened his heart and ruined his relationships with his friends and daughter. Adding to his life stressors is his forced retirement from Milton College where he was an adored professor. Unable to focus on anything but the downward spiral of life, he self medicates with booze. After seeing his doctor, he realizes he needs to make big changes unless he wants Sparky's spark to die out forever. He makes a list and on that list is his health, his lost friendships and his career. Sparky must find a way to deal with his loss and repair his relationships or his heart will never mend.

Two things keep Sparky alive for now. His faithful golden retriever, Lady and his memories with Emily at Woodstock, relived nightly in his dreams. And when he's awake, the shrine to Emily where her ashes sit in an urn reminds him daily of his loss. Taking the doctor's advice and the pleadings of his daughter, Cloe, Sparky forces himself to work on his lost friendships. First on the list is his good buddy, Buck, a Vietnam vet, and drummer of their hippie band, The Buck Naked Band. Buck and Sparky cook up a plan to bust the third member of their band, Josh out of a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients. After visiting Josh, they both know that a road trip to Bethel, the home of Woodstock Nation is the only thing that will bring him happiness, along with lots of nostalgic music and other hippie type activities that make me wish I was born before 1970.

It's a race to Bethel for three old hippies, one hitchhiker, a loyal dog, a lot of sweet smelling smoke and the hippest tunes from the 60's, while the Feds and a hungry D.A. chase after them.
Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Toby Heathcotte on December 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When I read Goodbye Emily, I imagined what it would have been like to actually attend Woodstock. There's the same nostalgia for those days from ones who went and those who only read about it later, like me. I recommend this book for that reason and because Murphy's humor is so deft. He treads lightly on difficult topics like aging and illness. In the end you feel great about it all. This is a fine story.

Toby Fesler Heathcotte, Author
President, Arizona Authors Association
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cherie A. Lee on December 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Having the priviledge of reading Goodbye Emily from beginning to end in a critique group was a wonderful experience. Many times, I wanted more right then since this story about Sparky's goals (especially returning to the place where Woodstock was held) held my interest and I hated to wait for the next installent. Readers who get the whole book at once won't have this problem. They'll enjoy Sparky's tale all at once, one that lets a reader feel they've been to Woodstock whether or not they actually went. I didn't attend but often read about it and this book made me feel as if I'd been there. Michael Murphy is an excellent writer who will hold his readers' interest from beginning to end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Spreen on December 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read seventy pages the first night, and the remaining two hundred the second night, because I could not put this book down. The author, Michael Murphy, suggested I might like it because I'm passionate about finding good fiction featuring older people. Goodbye, Emily was so enjoyable I am pleased to feature it on my blog's Midlife Fiction page (at AnyShinyThing.com).

Walter "Sparky" Ellington is a recently fired English professor who's dying of a broken heart. His beloved Emily, who he met at Woodstock, passed away two years ago and he can't get over her. He is becoming a recluse and his health is deteriorating as he drowns his sorrows in Jim Beam. At sixty, he awaits death.

However, a whole ensemble of compelling characters work to prevent that from happening. Drugs, sex, and rock `n roll are all a part of the story. Sparky's ultimate quest - to spread Emily's ashes at Yasgur's farm with two childhood friends, one with PTSD from `Nam and one with Alzheimers' - turns into a riotous car chase in a psychedelic van, eluding state troopers and an overzealous DA, while his attorney daughter struggles to keep the old man out of prison...I can't say more, because I don't want to spoil it. But this is a great story, replete with vignettes from that grand concert and musical references that I hadn't thought of for years and now can't get out of my head, like Arlo Guthrie and "Comin' into Los AngelEEZ..."

I loved the humanity of the characters. The men were kind to each other, in spite of the usual manly wolf tickets. I felt they demonstrated a depth of personality that only becomes a possibility after a long and rich life - rich in the sense of joy as well as anguish. I chuckled along, and in places I cried, and I finished the book with sad/happy tears running down my face - happy to have enjoyed the memories and sad for the days gone by.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ToniC on December 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have had the pleasure of reading all of Michael's books and I have to say out of all of them, this one is my favorite. The story is wonderful and I love all the characters. You will laugh and you will cry and you will truly enjoy this great story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary on December 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Having come of age during the Woodstock era, this book made me feel like I was there so many years ago. It is a tender walk down memory lane and a story about love. Love of a man for a wife who was taken from him; love of his child and love of his friends. It will make you laugh and it will bring you to tears as he tries to say goodbye to his Emily with the help of his two best friends. It is a wonderful book!
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