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Good-Bye and Amen by Beth Richardson…

Good-Bye and Amen

by Beth Richardson Gutcheon

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Had to give this one up too. It was written like a play. Too many characters all fighting over their dead parents stuff. Ugg. Why can't I pick up a good book! ( )
  amusedbybooks | Dec 9, 2010 |
If you have not read Ms. Gutcheon's novel, Leeway Cottage I fear you will be hard-pressed to make a lot of sense out of this book. However, if you were a fan of that earlier novel, you'll enjoy catching up with Sydney & Laurus' children as they try to divide their inheritance in Dundee, Maine after the death of their parents.

Told through the voices of the many participants in their lives, and a little bit like reading random Facebook postings, the novel is a bit like fitting a jig-saw puzzle together & I ended up being grateful for the glossary of characters that the author supplied at the end of the book.

I don't think this novel really worked stylistically, but I so enjoyed the book that it's a sequel to, that I kept reading all the way to the end. ( )
  etxgardener | May 23, 2010 |
Goodbye and Amen is a contemporary family drama with a large cast of characters. It begins as three adult children are dividing up the family heirlooms following their parents’ deaths. The story follows all three families, including the spouses and children, and pulls in assorted neighbors, friends, coworkers, and assorted bystanders along the way.

The format is unusual. The story is told in little “bursts” of one or a few paragraphs from a particular character, and then switches to another character. It took me a few pages to get used to it, but I found it quite enjoyable. The phrasing of each “burst” is very conversational – I could almost “hear” each character talking to me. I got the sense of being at a party, milling around collecting the gossip from various people. Or of watching a montage of television interviews, getting just the sound bites without the interviewer’s questions. Each character’s personality really comes through just in their perspective of events and the wording they choose.

There is one character who has passed on, and is sharing his lofty wisdom from the great beyond. I didn’t enjoy this perspective as much as the other characters, as it didn’t seem to fit with the daily concerns and everyday personalities of the rest of the ensemble. Perhaps that was the point, and it was just lost on me. I may have appreciated this voice more had I already read Leeway Cottage (the prequel). ( )
1 vote SugarCreekRanch | Sep 4, 2009 |
This was a disappointing follow up to Leeway Cottage. The format is ambitious and interesting, with the characters taking turns in telling the story. The format wasn't the problem with this novel, it was the fact that the characters were pretty uniformly uninteresting and shallow. The dismantling of an estate, with the siblings vying for favorite belongings and keepsakes, isn't necessarily the most sympathetic way to portray characters. The members of the Moss family essentially come across as self-satisfied and privileged. The most interesting sections of the book, and the shortest, were the observations and comments from the people who were not family members but who had to deal with the self-absorbed and selfish Mosses. Somehow, in Leeway Cottage, Gutcheon managed to make this group appealing while still showing their many shortcomings. This time around, not so much. This was disappointing to me since Gutcheon's past efforts have always struck me as readable and entertaining. ( )
  lmikkel | Jul 5, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060539070, Hardcover)

Beth Gutcheon's critically acclaimed family saga Leeway Cottage was a major achievement: a vivid and moving tale of war and marriage and their consequences that enchanted readers. Good-bye and Amen is the next chapter for the family of Leeway Cottage, the story of what happens when those most powerful people in any family drama, the parents, have left the stage.The complicated marriage of the gifted Danish pianist Laurus Moss to the provincial American child of privilege Sydney Brant was a mystery to many who knew them, including their three children. Now, Eleanor, Monica, and Jimmy Moss have to decide how to divide or share what Laurus and Sydney have left them without losing one another.Secure and cheerful Eleanor, the oldest, wants little for herself but much for her children. Monica, the least-loved middle child, brings her youthful scars to the table, as well as the baggage of a difficult marriage to the charismatic Norman, who left a brilliant legal career, though not his ambition, to become an Episcopal priest. Youngest and best-loved Jimmy, who made a train wreck of his young adulthood, has returned after a long period of alienation from the family surprisingly intact but extremely hard for his sisters to read.Having lived through childhoods both materially blessed and emotionally difficult, with a father who could seem uninvolved and a mother who loved a good family game of "let's you and him fight," the Mosses have formed strong adult bonds that none of them wants to damage. But it's difficult to divide a beloved summer house three ways and keep it too. They all know what's at stake-in a world of atomized families, a house like Leeway Cottage can be the glue that keeps generations of cousins and grandchildren deeply connected to one another. But knowing it's important doesn't make it easy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:27 -0400)

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Determined to keep their inheritance from dividing them, close siblings Eleanor, Monica, and Jimmy Moss struggle with differences of opinion about how to share and maintain their late parents' summer house.

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