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Goodbye Lemon
     

Goodbye Lemon

3.6 3
by Adam Davies
 

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Finally, after fifteen years, Jack Tennant is going home. Against his better judgment, he has succumbed to his mother’s guilt-laden pleas that he see his estranged father, who suffers from “locked-in syndrome,” a condition that leaves him fully intact mentally but unable to speak or move, save for blinking his eye. Jack’s do-gooder girlfriend

Overview

Finally, after fifteen years, Jack Tennant is going home. Against his better judgment, he has succumbed to his mother’s guilt-laden pleas that he see his estranged father, who suffers from “locked-in syndrome,” a condition that leaves him fully intact mentally but unable to speak or move, save for blinking his eye. Jack’s do-gooder girlfriend believes that this trip is a chance for Jack to achieve peace with his family. But Jack’s no fool: He knows better—and he knows there’s a lot his girlfriend doesn’t realize about the Tennant family. She doesn’t know about Jack’s alcoholic brother, Pressman. And she doesn’t know the truth about his brother Dex, who drowned when Jack was very young—and about whom his parents have never said a word.
 
With his family teetering on the brink, Jack finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to make a decision he’s avoided for years. Should he walk away from his past and leave his crazy family to solve their problems without him? Or should he try to mend fences that have been broken for as long as he can remember?
 
Jack has a lot of choices to make—and fast. If he doesn’t, he runs the risk of losing everything, including the woman he loves.
 
“Adam Davies has a delicious command of the English language.”—St. Petersburg Times

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Jack Tennant, a frustrated 32-year-old adjunct lecturer and part-time women's shelter night supervisor, returns to a Baltimore suburb to confront the wealthy WASP clan he cut off contact with 15 years before, we know what to expect: emotions will erupt, secrets will be revealed and some resolution will be found. Yet Davies (The Frog King) makes it all happen in such a fresh, smart way the conventions of this conceit are almost forgotten. Ostensibly visiting to help care for his father following a debilitating stroke (and to satisfy his girlfriend, Hahva, who thinks he needs closure), Jack sees his return as his last chance to confront the old man-who is fully conscious but entirely paralyzed. Jack blames his father, Guilford Tennant, a stern ex-marine and alcoholic industry executive, for Jack's brother Dexter's death at six (Jack was five; Dexter was known as Lemon) and for ending Jack's chance to study piano at Juilliard. Of course, things don't develop as Jack expects, and how Jack gets to the point of wanting to love his father "exactly the way he deserves" is a story that soars on the same jet stream of inspired wordplay and literary tics that made The Frog King a dazzling read. Bitter, smart and soaked in dark humor, Jack and his narrative harbor enormous heart. (Aug. 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In an unguarded moment during a family vacation, young Dexter Tennant drowns. His parents and brothers retreat into silence, their sorrow driving wedges between them. Jack Tennant was only five when Dexter, nicknamed Lemon by older brother Pressman, died. Jack has escaped the family, if not the burden of guilt and confusion. But like the lives of his alcoholic brother and father and his obsessive mother, Jack's life is cast in shadow. His dreams of a music career and then of a professorship are aborted by accidents and misfortune. After 15 years, he's come home again to help with his father's recovery from a stroke. Returning reluctantly with his girlfriend, Hahva, an optimistic social worker, Jack struggles with his desire to keep his distance and his desire to end the silence by speaking Dexter's name again. What awaits him is a long journey to the truth. Davies's (The Frog King) second novel, which tenderly captures Jack's reshaping of his legacy and relationships, is filled with compassion and humor. Recommended for fiction collections.-Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Davies (The Frog King, 2002) moves out of the city for his second novel, which deals with a son returning to his estranged family and the secrets they've all left behind. Jack Tennant, a jaded former musician and recovering alcoholic with a low-paying adjunct professorship at an underwhelming university, is summoned home to Maryland for the first time in more than 15 years to visit his stroke-ridden father. He brings along with him his serious girlfriend, Hahva, who has never met his family and knows little about Jack's past. As it turns out, there is much to know. When Jack, the youngest of three, was a child, his older brother Dexter drowned on a family trip to Lake George. His family never spoke about it, and so neither did Jack, who was too young to remember. When Jack and Hahva arrive at the family home, they find that little has changed. His oldest brother, Pressman, is an alcoholic wallowing away in small-town life. His father's nurse claims that he has "locked-in" syndrome, a rare condition wherein his brain functions but he is unable to speak or move. And his mother seems to be in denial about everything. Just as Jack feared, the visit home gives Hahva more information than he would have liked. But just as he is ready to give up on his family, he, too, uncovers family secrets that change his outlook and give him hope for his future with both them and Hahva. Some of the prose is well crafted, though it saunters too frequently into the pretentious and overblown (the author ends chapters with a scoreboard racking up "points" per character). But more importantly, the characters are very difficult to like-especially Jack, whose inertia in the face of trying circumstances isirritating. A dour and mediocre family drama, despite Davies's creative ministrations.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440624216
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/01/2006
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
407 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Adam Davies is the author of The Frog King. He lives in New York City.

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Goodbye Lemon 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought and read 'Goodbye Lemon' during its first week of release because I loved Adam Davies' previous novel, The Frog King, SO much and couldn't wait to read the characters he was going to create next. While I did again love Davies' conversational writing style, I never connected and bonded with the characters and story as much as I did with his first novel. However, my curiosity was piqued as to what exactly the meaning of the title was and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it. I think, though...I wanted 'more.' I wanted to like the main character more and I wanted to feel more emotionally attached and laugh. I look forward to Davies' next novel and hope it contains the same spark and charisma of 'The Frog King.'