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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006203460X
  • ASIN: B008SLTDJ2
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,314,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A family copes with a mother's terminal cancer in Chenoweth's moving and assured debut. The Hansens—Elliot, Helen and college-age daughter Abby—spend a week at a swanky New Hampshire hotel shortly after Helen's oncologist gives her nine months to live. Old family friends come out for the decadent soiree, and as the parents reminisce with friends, Abby wanders the woodsy grounds in a self-absorbed funk, hiding from the humiliation brought about by her mother's diminished capacity. Then one of the hotel's waiters, Alex, begins courting her with poetry and secret notes, and Abby is both attracted and repelled by Alex and the gang of summer employees, who have a predilection for skinny dipping and pot brownies. As Abby slides bumpily from shrugging off reality to facing her mother's fate, the assembled friends and family prepare for a round of wrenching farewells. Chenoweth's smart, unsentimental and poignant takes on living and dying ring true, and her exploration of coming-of-age and coming to terms with mortality is divine. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Elliott Hansen and his wife, Helen, are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary with a party at a luxury hotel in New Hampshire, where they lived ten years earlier before moving to Ohio. Elliott has planned well, inviting their New England friends and neighbors and keeping the truth from Helen that her inoperable brain cancer is fatal. Their 18-year-old daughter, Abby, is also in the dark, which is why she is feeling resentful and solitary among these old friends and anxious to discover her worth, even if it's with a preppie hotel waiter. The guests dance around the inevitable, perhaps because facing reality has been something they have avoided for as long as they have known one another. This richly textured, multilayered treatise on learning to give up hope while still grasping at straws is searing in its approach to losing those we hold dear. First novelist Chenoweth, a former editor at Publishers Weekly, writes gracefully and eloquently of loss and love, portraying both generations at their most self-absorbed and most vulnerable. Highly recommended. [Online discussion guide; library marketing.]—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It has no substance, no meaning and the characters are all fake, flat and limited.
Shelves N Plates
It is basically a down-to-earth tale of a family adjusting to cancer and how it impacts each member as well as their friends.
Janice Pitts
I really wanted to like this book - but I had to force myself to even finish it and at that I skipped over alot!!
L. A. Roy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Donna Reynolds on May 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Emily Chenoweth's 'Hello Goodbye' is a beautifully written novel dealing with love and loss, and all the emotions that accompany these two dichotomous states of mind. Years ago, one of my mother's friends died of brain cancer, and I can attest to the accuracy of her description of the experience of both the cancer patient and those who love her.

The story really gets into the minds and hearts of the main characters, giving the reader what sometimes feels like an intrusive window into their thoughts and feelings. The intensity in this book is sometimes so great that there were times I wanted to turn away. But instead, I read on, captivated by the love between this husband and wife and the confusion of their daughter.

Helen, the main character, is not supposed to know her disease is terminal, at least neither her husband or the doctor has told her. But what makes this book so true to life is that on some level, Helen does know, and her view of the events of the week is colored by that perception. Never is there any discussion of her continuing treatment. She seems to have accepted her fate without really even knowing it.

I remember so well the months that preceded my mother's friend's death - her valiant efforts to remain positive and to keep those around her from giving up hope and her frustration with her inability to do the simple things she used to take for granted. And I remember her death and the impact it had on everyone who knew her. Ms. Chetworth's book is a tribute to all those who have faced a similar challenge and the love that endures even after the person has passed. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to read it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Janice Pitts on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is by far one of the best novels centered around family dynamics I have read in a long time. I am very surprised there are not more readers and reviews on this top notch book.

Ms. Chenoweth excels in her story, character development and their interaction with one another. It is basically a down-to-earth tale of a family adjusting to cancer and how it impacts each member as well as their friends. She is right on target with her description of the emotions of the cancer victim, husband, and daughter.

I lost my mother to the same type of cancer and experienced many of the feelings that the daughter does in this novel. The author is very accurate in her medical data interspersing it with other interesting themes such as marriage, friendship, art, and the things we take for granted.

While one would expect to come away depressed, I found myself uplifted by the love that spoke to me through this story. I look forward to more books from this very accomplished book reviewer.
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Format: Hardcover
The Hansen family is throwing a party in honor of Helen and Elliott's 20th anniversary. They've invited their closest family friends to the Presidential, a luxury resort in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains. The place is like something out of a 19th-century novel, with white linens, fine china, and maids in skirts and hats. It's the kind of place where people dress for dinner, where they spend their abundant leisure time playing golf and tennis and simply admiring the view.

The couple's anniversary, however, is only the surface reason for this once-in-a-lifetime gathering of lifelong friends. In reality, this will probably be the last time Helen sees her friends. She's dying of brain cancer, but no one except Elliott knows the seriousness of the prognosis or just how little time she has left.

In addition to keeping Helen's dire condition a secret from Helen herself, he has withheld the information from the couple's daughter, Abby, who has just finished her first year at a small private college in Connecticut. Abby is bored with the stuffy atmosphere at the Presidential; she can't relate to her parents' friends and is uncomfortable around her mother, who has quickly become like a dependent, forgetful child rather than like the strong, capable woman Abby has always admired.

As the bored young lady wanders the halls and grounds of the resort, she attracts the attention of two very different young men: Alex, a waiter who is part of the disaffected preppy staff who mock the tourists and smoke pot after hours, and Vic, a former delinquent turned studious young man who has his own reasons to grieve Helen's illness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Wells on May 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The most brilliant aspect of Ms. Chenoweth's book is her keen memory of what it is like to be 18. It's wonderful to revisit the feelings that come with discovering one's self in early adulthood. The characters in "Hello Goodbye" are likable and real, and the character development is sharply honed.
Chenoweth's ability to write as if she's singing you a beautiful song is unique and lovely, and I really couldn't put this book down. Anyone will find something to relate to in Abby's coming into her own. You find yourself rooting for her and her family while remembering pieces of yourself and your own family which may have been tucked away for a while.
I highly and with no reservations recommend this book.
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