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Posted December 9, 2008
well written extended family drama
Still reeling and grieving the tragic deaths of their parents Laurus and Sydney, the three adult Moss children arrive for the middle age mourners¿ lottery in other words what to do with their parents¿ possessions. Each comes to the house with differing desires and needs, but it starts off wrong when the youngest and only son Jimmy takes the baby grand piano that the middle offspring Monica wanted. War has begun between the Moss orphans. --- The oldest Eleanor Applegate wants things for her four children so will fight for them, but raising four kids makes her believe in fair and share. Monica Faithful wants whatever she can get, but also needs to play fair with her siblings in the Lottery while she struggles in a bad marriage just like she struggled in what she thought was a bad childhood due to her officious snobbish mom. Jimmy Moss has been estranged from his family seemingly forever, but though he is not sure he wants a reconciliation he wants to be fair with his older sisters. Coming into the Lottery fair play is what each wants now comes the practice as the summer house and the concert Steinway and much more become debated. --- The sequel to LEEWAY COTTAGE is an interesting well written extended family drama as the three siblings encouraged by their respective loved ones struggle with the orphans¿ lottery while saying GOOD-BYE AND AMEN to their parents. Each of the Moss offspring had issues with their overbearing mother that shapes their thoughts. Superbly written, each character including the extended family members is unique and complete. However, after a while the reiteration of past transgressions turns into whining as the audience will demand the trio complete the task. Still this is a solid look at families at a time of grief and asset divisibility. --- Harriet Klausner
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Posted July 29, 2008
The Whole Picture of the Moss Family
As the sequel to Leeway Cottage, Good-Bye and Amen is the continuing drama about the Moss family. The story is still a fascinating stand-alone novel even if you haven¿t read Beth Gutcheon¿s first tale about this captivating New England family. Good-Bye and Amen is written in a unique format and recounts how three siblings reunite at their family summer home in Maine to decide how to divide up their parents¿ estate. The story begins with the Moss children, now adults, going through their parents¿ possessions following Laurus and Sydney Moss¿s death. The marriage of well to do American Sydney Brant to talented pianist Laurus was a mystery to most people who knew them but especially to their children. Both their parents influenced the three children but their domineering mother was the one with the greatest influence on how they grew up. Pressed by their own families to get their fair share of their inheritance, the siblings struggle with how to reasonably divide up what their parents left them while keeping their love for each other intact. This ¿lottery¿ of their inheritance also brings the siblings together as a way of saying goodbye to their parents. Things get off on the wrong foot when the son, Jimmy, takes the baby grand piano that middle sister, Monica, wanted very much. Jimmy is the youngest and for years was off on his own, said to be involved with drugs, but has now settled down with a respectable job making computer games and living in California with his wife Janice. Surprisingly, Jimmy wants to be fair with his sisters, even though he isn¿t yet sure he wants to have a relationship with them again. This trip is one in which he decides they may all learn more about each other and come away better off in the end. Eleanor Applegate, the eldest Moss child, is well mannered and very secure in her marriage to Bobby, a banker with a laid-back manner about him. Eleanor is not as much interested in what she can get for herself but rather for her children. Middle child, Monica, is married to Norman Faithful, who just may not live up to his name. He is a pompous minister from a rather dubious background and is basically unpopular with the rest of the clan. Monica herself wants whatever she can get. Her desire to possess so much may be a substitute for what she is lacking in her troubled marriage. Although Monica is loyal to Norman, even after he quit his law practice to take up the ministry, it is easy to see that he is deeply disturbed and not what Monica thought he was when they married. As mentioned, the story is told in a unique format using short sections conveyed by the characters in the story. They each tell about what is going on from their own point of view and when you then read the next part told by another character, one can see that everyone may have a difference of opinion on what is really going on. This way of writing makes the reading of Good-Bye and Amen an extraordinary and outstanding book to read as it brings you right into the family. It makes you wish you were in that house in Maine with them so you could share your idea of what is going on. Who will get what is a main part of the story as every item, no matter large or small, plays an important role as it reflects bitterness and hard feelings that Eleanor, Monica, Jimmy and their families feel toward one another. The final decision of dividing the actual home into thirds leads to the outcome of where this family will go from here and what it will mean for their family and generations to come. The story is open and amusing and memorable. The middle section of the book contains photographs of the family and that adds to the reader really seeing ¿the whole picture¿ of the Moss family. Submitted by Karen Haney, July, 2008
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Posted December 25, 2008
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