Good Riddance (Paperback)
Mariner Books, 9780358108559, 320pp.
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Daphne Maritch doesn't quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother, who held this relic dear. Too dear. The late June Winter Maritch was the teacher to whom the class of '68 had dedicated its yearbook, and in turn she went on to attend every reunion, scribbling notes and observations after each one—not always charitably—and noting who overstepped boundaries of many kinds.
In a fit of decluttering (the yearbook did not, Daphne concluded, "spark joy"), she discards it when she moves to a small New York City apartment. But when it's found in the recycling bin by a busybody neighbor/documentary filmmaker, the yearbook's mysteries—not to mention her own family's—take on a whole new urgency, and Daphne finds herself entangled in a series of events both poignant and absurd.
Good Riddance is a pitch-perfect, whip-smart new novel from an "enchanting, infinitely witty yet serious, exceptionally intelligent, wholly original, and Austen-like stylist" (Washington Post).
About the Author
Praise For Good Riddance…
A LibraryReads Pick
Included in the Publishers Lunch "Publishing Preview"—Fiction, Notables
“Effortlessly charming . . . The book inspires a very specific kind of modern joy.”
—New York Times Book Review
"A clever romantic comedy from a pro . . . The rollicking plot ultimately leads to romance, revealing this witty story’s warm and fuzzy heart."
"[Lipman] has long been one of our wittiest chroniclers of modern-day romance. [Her] writing is brisk and intelligent, and if the plot of this novel is zanier than her usual fare, that too may show just how plugged-in she is to out farfetched times."
—Wall Street Journal
"A vastly entertaining screwball comedy...Witty, dippy and daft, we have here a genuine, guilty pleasure."
“The ultimate V-Day binge read.”
“Lipman is the easiest writer to read, but she stays with you because she’s such a good writer…A true pleasure…[She] is such a fine stylist…[Good Riddance] is hilarious, [with] wonderful romantic elements [and] a witty line on every page, in every paragraph.”
—Bill Goldstein, NBC’s “Bill’s Books”
"Lipman is a writer to savor. Her wit is at once light and serious, ringing with humanity, and her tangled plots are full of surprises...Her writing is reminiscent of the late, fine writer Laurie Colwin."
—New York Jewish Week
“To the many readers who have happily drowned their worries in the sparkling waters of Lipman’s fizzy fiction, it is obvious that Lipman was born to entertain us . . . Lipman writes with a light, wry touch that tips a hat to life’s many challenges but never throws in the towel.”
—San Diego Union-Tribune
“When you come to the end of Good Riddance […] you’ll definitely be delighted.”
"The question of who gets to tell one’s own story lies at the heart of Lipman’s smart, sassy, and satisfying rom-com . . . Luckily for fans of contemporary women’s fiction, the answer is Lipman as she once again delivers a tightly woven, lightly rendered, but insightfully important novel of the pitfalls to be avoided and embraced on one’s path to self-discovery."
"Fans of Lipman will cheer for a new novel in her signature style: funny, warm, sharp, smart, and full of love for family, no matter how flawed."
"Au courant elements . . . add a fresh twist to the proceedings. Lipman's narrative brio keeps things moving at a good clip."
“It’s good riddance to dismay and hello to happiness in this witty romantic comedy.”
—Shelf Awareness for Readers
"Utterly funny, charming, and delightful.”
"The sharp, smart wit of Elinor Lipman is a treasure and Good Riddance more than delivers with laugh out loud dialogue, wise social commentary, and thoughtful observations about love."
—Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life
“Elinor Lipman always delights with her romantic comedies, and Good Riddance is Lipman at her best: funny, smart, and utterly charming.”
“You’ll adore this sweet and funny new novel.”
“[A] bonbon of a book…Good Riddance makes for lively reading, and it’s not hard to imagine it as a rom-com…Lipman’s audience is in for a delectable treat.”
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Why do you think Daphne chooses to get rid of the annotated yearbook that belonged to her mother? Were you surprised by her decision to get rid of it? Why or why not?
2. What is Daphne ashamed to admit about her marriage to Holden? Why does she believe that Holden married her? Does Daphne believe that she is a victim or does she accept any responsibility for her wrong turn? What does Daphne think can sometimes “take on the aura of romance” (14) and how did this affect her relationship with Holden? What does Daphne say that she had been waiting for ever since she learned of his true motive in marrying her?
3. What surprises Daphne about her father’s decision to move to New York? When Daphne confesses that she has gotten rid of the yearbook as they are painting his new apartment, how does her father react? How did he truly feel about his wife’s involvement with the Class of 1968 and her attendance at their reunions? Were you surprised by his response? Why or why not?
4. What does Daphne mean when she says that she is debating “whether or not [she] could riff on this possible paradox: her mother’s prudishness in light of the infidelity factor” (102)? Does the story brought to light by the yearbook influence or alter Daphne’s sense of her mother’s character? If so, how? What does she say that she now realizes about her mother? Does she ever come to terms with this?
5. What does Daphne find upsetting about Geneva’s podcast? Who is featured in the podcast and what story does Geneva seem intent on presenting? What does Geneva say that “every story needs” (139)? Is the story that Geneva wants to tell a true or accurate one?
6. What insights does Good Riddance provide on the topic of modern romance? How would you characterize Daphne’s relationship with Jeremy? What is dating like for her and for her father, who has recently become a bachelor? What does the book ultimately reveal about love and relationships?
7. What does the book suggest about the topic of ownership? How is ownership determined? How does ownership apply to art and to storytelling? Do you think that Geneva had a right to the yearbook and the stories that it contained? Why or why not?
8. How does Daphne come to repossess the yearbook? Do you agree with her choice to reclaim it? How does Daphne justify her decision to take it back? What does she do with the yearbook once it is back in her possession?
9. Explore the motif of truth. Why does Holly accuse Daphne of not wanting to go near the truth? Do you think that her assessment is correct? Where in the book do readers find evidence either refuting or supporting this? What other characters are caught between truth and lies? What motivates the characters to say things that are not true? Does truth ultimately prevail?
10. What does Jeremy decide to write about for the stage? Who does he believe should be the star of his show? How does Daphne respond to the work that Jeremy has created? Do you think that her response to the work is hypocritical? Why or why not?
11. How did you feel about the novel’s closing lines?
12. What were some of your favorite lines or moments from the book? Which were the funniest? Elinor Lipman has been called “a diva of dialogue” (People). Do you agree?
13. Elinor Lipman’s work is often compared to that of Jane Austen for its satirical look at contemporary society. What does Good Riddance reveal about our own society and how does the author’s use of elements of comedy and the absurd help to reveal these points or observations?
14. What are some of the questions that were raised by the annotated yearbook? Are any of these questions answered at the story’s conclusion? What ultimately becomes of the yearbook?