Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

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by Sari Botton
     
 

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Winner of a Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year Award

In 1967, Joan Didion wrote an essay called Goodbye to All That, a work of such candid and penetrating prose that it soon became the gold standard for personal essays. Like no other story before it, Didion’s tale of loving and leaving New York captured the mesmerizing allure Manhattan has always

Overview

Winner of a Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year Award

In 1967, Joan Didion wrote an essay called Goodbye to All That, a work of such candid and penetrating prose that it soon became the gold standard for personal essays. Like no other story before it, Didion’s tale of loving and leaving New York captured the mesmerizing allure Manhattan has always had for writers, poets, and wandering spirits.

In this captivating collection, 28 writers take up Didion’s literary legacy by sharing their own New York stories. Their essays often begin as love stories do, with the passion of something newly discovered—the crush of subway crowds, the streets filled with manic energy, and the certainty that this is the only place on Earth where one can become exactly who she is meant to be.

They also share the grief that comes when the metropolis loses its magic and the pressures of New York’s frenetic life wear thin on even the most fervent dwellers. As friends move away, rents soar, and love—still— remains just out of reach, each writer’s goodbye to New York is singular and universal, like New York itself.

With Cheryl Strayed, Dani Shapiro, Emma Straub, Ann Hood, and more.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Charming . . . New York's pull is evident throughout."
The New York Times

"The hip, witty, and sometimes heartbreaking essays in Goodbye to All That get to the bottom of most Big Apple miseries: big dreams cost big bucks to maintain. As many of these writers figured out, sometimes losing New York City is the only way to regain your credit rating, rent-stabilized living spaces, and sanity. From candid to kooky to classic, this collection sheds the love, light, and lyricism the gritty city deserves."
Susan Shapiro, author of Speed Shrinking and Five Men Who Broke My Heart

"New York City is like a lover who left you for the slightly younger, prettier girl: you can smell him, taste him, yearn to have him back in your life. All the stories in this collection recall that lover and his many faults, and then make you forget them, all over again."
Martha Frankel, author of Hats & Eyeglasses and executive director of the Woodstock Writers Festival

"Of course it would take more than one woman to capture the mythic, ever-shifting, exhilarating, and disappointing beast that is New York. The chorus of voices that is Goodbye to All That sings the city—both of the pavement and of the mind—to life, over and over."
Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

“Twenty-eight of today’s most extraordinary, diverse, uniformly interesting women writers revisit the eternal story of devotion and departure . . . An exquisite read.”
Maria Popova, founder of Brain Pickings

"The book's premise alone hooked most everyone I know who has even a passing fascination with living in the Big Apple—or fleeing it for other parts."
DailyCandy

"[Gets] at the sense of hope (or ambition) with which New York seduces us, as well as how living in the city can turn, leaving us with wistfulness and regret."
Los Angeles Times

"Seriously impressive."
xoJane

"Speaks to every New Yorker, but more than that, it speaks to anyone who has loved and fallen out of love with a city."
AOL Recommends

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-28
Twenty-seven female authors on their breakups with the Big Apple. This collection of essays on the theme of leaving New York reads like a manifesto of ambivalence, as the contributors hold forth on the metropolis's charms and challenges. Unfortunately, the treatment of this theme lapses into monotony, as the observations, both celebratory (the culture, opportunity and excitement) and rueful (the expense, danger and status obsession), are largely uniform across the board. The particulars of the authors' experiences similarly sound repetitive notes: Sensitive young outsider arrives full of literary ambition and naïve romantic notions about the city only to suffer through a series of tiny, overpriced apartments, humiliating day jobs, romantic misadventures, and senses of dislocation and crushing insignificance. The collection's title comes from Joan Didion's landmark essay (not included) on having "stayed too long at the fair," and this raises the question of whether that famous work examined all that is necessary on the subject. There are standouts, however: Valerie Eagle offers a chilling remembrance of crack addiction, sexual abuse and homelessness, and Meghan Daum's piece, "My Misspent Youth," assesses the dangers of romanticizing the New York experience with superior wit and a compelling and original voice. The remainder of the essays--including pieces by Hope Edelman, Maggie Estep, Ann Hood, Cheryl Strayed, Emma Straub, Dani Shapiro and collection editor Sari Botton--while often poetically rendered and emotionally affecting, blend into an undifferentiated stew of bittersweet longing and regret. The writers represented here share so many common stories and feelings about their experiences in New York that perhaps they should have foregone the essays and just formed a support group. Variations on a theme with too little variation; Joan Didion said it all and more memorably.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580054959
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/08/2013
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
382,466
File size:
994 KB

Meet the Author

Sari Botton is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Sun, The Village Voice, Harper’s Bazaar, More, Marie Claire, WWD, W, The Rumpus, Memoirville, This Recording, xoJane.com, assorted anthologies, and other publications. She studied English and journalism at SUNY Albany, where years later she was an adjunct professor of undergraduate journalism. She also taught first-person essay writing at SUNY Ulster.

Sari is the editorial director of the TMI Project, a non-profit organization that holds true storytelling workshops in jails, shelters, veterans’ hospitals, schools, and other places where people don’t usually get to tell their stories or be heard.

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Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JoBean More than 1 year ago
Kudos to Sari Botton for compiling a touching and well-written collection of musings on life in New York City.  If you live in NYC, or have in the past 2 decades, you'll enjoy the nuances and subtleties that only a "New Yorker" (transplant or native) can relate to.  I will say that if you've never lived here, the book gives a slightly skewed perception of the lifestyle preferences here.  Not everyone in NYC has done tons of drugs, not all writers are edgy and fringe... and certainly not everyone prefers the East Village of yore when it was squalid and dangerous.  Still, it's a terrific homage to Joan Didion's original essay and a compelling, poignant read all the way through.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago