Goodbye for Now

Perhaps Goodbye for Now should be sold in a plain white wrapper so readers will not be scared off by Laurie Frankel's utterly original, yet possibly off-putting, premise. The novel begins as a sweet love story when Sam Elling creates an algorithm for the computer dating company where he works that bypasses the often inauthentic information clients offer and instead matches them according to the sum of every online interaction they've ever had. As a result, instead of showing customers the matches they think they want, it sets them up with people they will truly love. Unfortunately, this bit of genius coding gets Sam canned; his employer starts to lose money once the perfectly matched couples no longer have a need for matchmaking. Fortunately, while beta-testing his creation on himself, Sam has already found Meredith, his true love.

Early in their relationship, Meredith's beloved grandmother dies; this gives Sam an idea that revolutionizes the grief process. With code he created to track people's past online interactions, he may be able to write another program that can replicate communication with DLOs (dead loved ones). After all, so many conversations tend to follow certain patterns as they cover common subjects--weather, health, job, sports. What happens next is not only thought-provoking and a bit disturbing but hilarious and well-intentioned.

Frankel's second novel (after The Atlas of Love) finds a way to translate one of the most painful aspects of mortality--losing loved ones--into a compelling and humorous look at how relationships have evolved in the age of the Internet. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

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