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Good Riddance

Review

Good Riddance

What a charming, benevolent novel this is. Beyond a few neurotic narcissists, there’s not a true villain in sight. Still, author Elinor Lipman has managed to contrive a credible narrative, filled with plot twists that miraculously resolve themselves by the end of this bonbon of a book.

Daphne Maritch is a recent divorcée who is trying to get her life back together after discovering her husband’s infidelities. She has moved to an apartment on the West Side of Manhattan, and is shoehorning her belongings into a much smaller space than the home she shared with Holton, her despised ex. One of the items she decides she can live without is a yearbook that her recently deceased mother bequeathed to her. The book was not from her mother’s own high school, but from the New Hampshire school where she taught and was yearbook advisor in 1968.

"Elinor Lipman has managed to contrive a credible narrative, filled with plot twists that miraculously resolve themselves by the end of this bonbon of a book."

Impetuously, Daphne puts it in the building’s recycling --- only to find that her neighbor, Geneva Wisenkorn, has retrieved it. What ensues is a battle between Geneva, a sometime documentary filmmaker, and Daphne, who grows suspicious when her mother’s notations in the yearbook spark her neighbor’s decision to make a movie about the class.

Desperate, Daphne enlists the help of --- and then falls for --- her neighbor Jeremy, a young actor who plays a character on the (real) television series “Riverdale.” While she’s getting to the bottom of Geneva’s motives, she’s trying to keep her father, who had been the high school’s principal and who has just moved to New York, from finding out about the class documentary. At first her reasons for not wanting it to come to light are that she thinks Geneva’s dark interpretation of her mother’s notations is off-base. But when she accompanies her to the 50th class reunion in order to keep an eye on her, Daphne discovers more reasons to keep secrets.

GOOD RIDDANCE makes for lively reading, and it’s not hard to imagine it as a rom-com, with a funny, beautiful heroine and her dashing confidante, the zany neighbor who’s hell-bent on finding out the “truth” so that she can make her movie (or, she later decides, maybe a podcast series), plus her lonely but loveable dad, the classmates of 1968 with their very different memories of their yearbook advisor, and a few other colorful characters. Whatever the eventual medium, Lipman’s audience is in for a delectable treat.

Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley on February 8, 2019

Good Riddance
by Elinor Lipman

  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • Genres: Comedy, Fiction, Romance
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • ISBN-10: 0544808258
  • ISBN-13: 9780544808256