Goodbye to All That Review
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Once a year, we take time out from our busy schedules to express our gratitude to the women who devoted their lives to raising us and caring for us—who spent sleepless nights calming our fears and baking cupcakes for some last-minute class treat. But, in author Judith Arnold’s Goodbye to All That, one wife and mother decides that she needs more than just a few Mother’s Day cards and a bouquet of flowers to feel good about herself; she needs a change.

For 42 years, Ruth Bendel has been a devoted wife to her husband, Richard, and a loving mother to her three children. She’s cooked and cleaned and cared for her family, selflessly putting everyone else’s needs and wants ahead of her own. But now she’s had enough. She’s had enough of Richard’s channel surfing and his whiskers in the sink. She’s had enough of worrying about everyone but herself. So she decides to walk away from her old life and start a new one.

When Ruth announces that she’s separating from Richard, her thirty-something children are devastated. And as they all try to adjust to their newly broken family, their mother’s decision begins to affect their relationships—and the way that they see themselves—too.

Goodbye to All That isn’t the typical chick lit. It isn’t the story of a heartbroken woman-done-wrong who manages to get back on her feet and find true love again. And it’s not about a single girl finding love in the unlikeliest of places. In fact, it’s not really about love at all. It’s simply about finding yourself and enjoying your life—no matter what your age.

Though you might expect a character who walks away from her husband of 42 years for “no real reason” to be an unlikable one, that’s not the case with Ruth. Sure, she probably could have handled the situation in a different, less life-shattering, way. Maybe she could have gotten a job and made some new friends and still stayed with her husband—but, then again, maybe not. Whatever the case, though, you’ll admire her courage and her enthusiasm for her new life. She takes a chance. She tries new things. And, after 42 years of caring for her family and putting herself last, she finally learns to embrace life—her life.

But the story isn’t just about Ruth. It’s about the rest of the family, too—and how each one learns and grows from the experience. For most of the other characters, the situation causes them to stop and think about what’s really important. The women are reminded that their hopes and dreams matter, too, while the men are reminded that their wives are more than just wives and mothers. Even stubborn Richard learns a thing or two in the process.

More than just another fluffy romantic comedy, Goodbye to All That is a charming and thoughtful read, complete with an unexpected plot and plenty of likable characters. And whether you’re still single, newly married, or a devoted wife of 42 years, it’ll remind you that, while you’re taking care of everybody else in your life—your spouse, your kids, your boss, your dog, your parents—it’s important to take care of yourself, too.

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