I don’t remember reading a book that had me laughing and crying literally at the same time from start until the very end until Goodbye Days. When you decide to read the book, the most helpful tip I could give you is to take good care of your heart because after reading, mine felt like it cart wheeled out of my mouth not being able to withstand the overwhelming emotions and then feeling stunned, it was as if I forgot the poor organ still lying on the ground so I accidentally stepped on it and smashed it to death. I almost couldn’t believe I managed to survive the book. It made me cry like a baby and laugh like a maniac. So another tip, lock yourself in your house when you read the book if you want to keep your dignity intact. But screw dignity because as Blake once said,
“Dignity is overrated. People can live without it. I know because I did. But people can’t live without laughter. I’ll gladly trade dignity for laughter because dignity is cheap and laughing is worth everything.”
Of the YA contemporaries I’ve read and I’ve read a lot, Goodbye Days possibly has the most unique and intriguing premise as the story follows Carver as he suffers a great deal of personal, romantic (as he is possibly falling for one of his best friends’ ex-girlfriend), social (as he accepts the chances of being a pariah), ethical (as he openly considers the possibility of being imprisoned), psychological (as he endures the panic attacks) and emotional (as he goes through pain and grief) issues after the car accident that took the life of his three best friends, Mars, Eli and Blake, the Sauce Crew, as they called themselves who was supposed to be a solid, tight unit, they were even planning their future lives around each other like spending college breaks together. *Gawd, I cry*
To sort of atone for Carver’s “part” in the accident, he agrees to participate in this little project called “Goodbye Days” with the bereaved family of his best friends. These Goodbye Days alone just about tore my heart to little pieces as I learned about each of the boys deeply, their background, their family and the kind of life they led.
Every time Carver relates a hilarious memory of all four together, I helplessly crack up at their silliness and banter but then I remember that the Sauce Crew is gone except for Carver and a searing pain would strike my heart instantly as if I was personally close to these boys and I would end up tearing up then later laughing again as the story continues. It’s a literal emotional roller coaster.
Hands down, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s an equally hilarious and heartbreaking story of friendship, family relationships (Georgias the best sister), death, grief (Dr. Krantz’s the best psychiatrist), life and love that effortlessly stirred and touched my heart and soul.
“In the most part, you don’t hold people you love to your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”