Beginner's Goodbye, The

Tyler, Anne

  12 Reviews

Aaron Woolcott spends his days writing "Beginners Guides" for his family's publishing business. But when his wife Dorothy is killed in an accident, he discovers there is no such guide to handle his loss, especially when Dorothy begins to reappear.

Gentle humour, beautifully drawn characters and the familiar Anne Tyler landscape of the ordinary transformed, combine to create a whimsical story that considers our capacity to weather the journey through grief. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

This book was enjoyable to read & inspired a thoughtful discussion. Gisborne 006

Mixed reaction. No one thought it fabulous. Quietly humorous, quirky. Clever writer but slightly disfunctional characters. Papamoa 001

Better discussion than I expected. Perhaps too much of an easy read. Richmond 004

Everyone enjoyed this book. 10 out of 10. Hamilton 047

It was not until we had the discussion that most of us were able to appreciate the cleverness of this book. We discussed grief, how the mind and brain varies in individuals. Upper Hutt 001

Varying. Generated great discussion though about secrets and lies! Wellington 079



Group found it enjoyable and an easy read, but somehow a bit unsatisfying, and the writing fairly sparse. Did provoke an interesting discussion on the supernatural and ghosts.
CHCH 376
Most members thought "Meh" by the end, feeling a little let down after enjoying Anne Tyler's other books. Aaron generally came across as such a "useless" main character that most of us felt that we did not gain anything (and lost other reading time) with this book. A major let-down, unfortunately! (We do, however, appreciate that others may feel differently.)
CHCH 299
Most members enjoyed this book. An easy read, well-written, funny in parts, and enough in it to generate a good discussion.
Those of us who read the book found it really moving and believable. It is subtle in an artistic way and light, but the emotion is there. It is a very clever look at loss and recovery, but has humour and wisdom as well.
NELS 007
The story stimulated wide ranging discussion with several members telling of "visitations", or awareness of departed family members. Most felt more sympathy for Dorothy rather than Aaron. Interesting characters all quite clearly defined, well-written and enjoyable.
AUCK 335
Only 6 of us present, and only one really liked the book. Several thought it was rather light and an easy read. We did not discuss the book as much as the questions it raised about life after death, appearances to the living, haunted houses, exorcisms.... Some members had had some interesting experiences!
A beautifully written book with an unusual subject and hero! We all enjoyed it!
CHCH 001
The story was believable with well developed characters. As a hero, Aaron 'grew' as he faced his dilemmas - a gentle book, well-written.
CULV 001
A light read which appealed to different people at different levels.
This book was assessed as being quite 'light', but actually contributed to a good discussion. Enjoyed!
ASHB 009
Everyone enjoyed the book. Was a bit different and well-written. Good insights into grief and marriage. Good read.
CHCH 092
Interesting concept and quite enjoyable. Most of the group enjoyed it.