Monday, July 21, 2008

Good-Bye and Amen

Good-Bye and Amen by Beth Gutcheon

When both parents die how does a family divide up the family heirlooms without causing irreparable rifts? Good-Bye and Amen is a book about just that.

Laurus Moss was a Danish Concert pianist married to privileged Sydney Brant. Sydney loved to cause dissension among her three children (Eleanor, Monica and Jimmy). Even beyond the grave she attempts to cause fights by holding a lottery for her possessions.

Eleanor is the oldest child. A traditionalist who has a nice stable and secure life married to Bobbie. She wants things for her children.

Monica is the middle forgotten child. Sydney had never really helped Monica when Monica needed her and now everything seems to be dissolving right before her eyes. Monica married the charismatic Norman, a lawyer turned Episcopal priest. Norman also takes Monica for granted and just seems to think she is invisible. He is one of those types who seem to think woman are there to serve them and the world revolves around themselves. He has moved from parish to parish trying to move up the ladder to bishop.

Jimmy is the youngest. He had a difficult adolescence and had alienated himself from the family but has found his way back. His style of living in more carefree than the rest of the family.

The book is written from the perspective of each individual character. At first I had difficulty keeping them all straight and wished I had turned to the back of the book where they are all outlined. This book is so detailed in character development it almost reads like a non-fiction memoir.

I enjoyed the book and can only hope when my siblings and I are in the same circumstances we do as well as the characters in this book

First Line: "The trouble started when Jimmy took the piano."



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