Good Riddance

In a delightful new romantic comedy from Elinor Lipman, one woman’s trash becomes another woman’s treasure, with deliriously entertaining results.

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).

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  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780544808256

  • ISBN-10: 0544808258

  • Pages: 304

  • Price: $25.00

  • Publication Date: 02/05/2019

  • Carton Quantity: 12

Elinor Lipman

Elinor Lipman

ELINOR LIPMAN is the award-winning author of eleven novels, including The View from Penthouse B and The Inn at Lake Devine; one essay collection, I Can't Complain; and Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus. She lives in New York City.
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  • reviews

    A New York Times Editors' Choice 

    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." 

    Washington Post   


    “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.” 

    Washington Post 


    "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." 


    "Lipman’s satisfying latest is a worthy addition to her long lineup of smart, witty novels. . . a charming romantic comedy . . . with a stellar cast of supporting characters [. . . ] and intelligent and lyrical prose . . .  A delightful treat readers will want to savor." 

    Publishers Weekly 


    "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." 

    Library Journal 


    "Au courant elements . . . add a fresh twist to the proceedings. Lipman's narrative brio keeps things moving at a good clip." 

    Kirkus Reviews 


    “It’s good riddance to dismay and hello to happiness in this witty romantic comedy.” 

    —Shelf Awareness for Readers 


    "Utterly funny, charming, and delightful.” 

    —Hilma Wolitzer 


    "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.” 



  • excerpts

    The Grateful Class of ’68 


    For a few weeks after my mother’s death, I was in possession of the painstakingly annotated high school year-book that had been dedicated to her by the grateful class of 1968. 


    Yes, she’d been their English teacher and yearbook advisor, but that didn’t explain her obsessive collecting of signatures and tributes next to every senior’s photo.  I could picture her — age twenty-three, her first job after college, roaming the corridors of Pickering High School, pen and book in hand, coaxing the shyest, least engaged boy or girl to sign — Write anything.  I want to remember every one of you. Could you personalize it, just a few words? 


    But there would be more — her own embellishments, her judgments and opinions, written next to those photos in her small legible hand, a different color ink (red, green, blue) for several milestone reunions, which she attended compulsively, starting with the fifth and continuing until her last, their forty-fifth. 


    Her margin notes were coded but easily deciphered: “M” for married. “S” for single. “D” for dead; “DIV” for divorced. “DWI,” said a few. “AIDS?” suggested one notation. “Same dress she wore at 15th” my mother recorded. “Very plump” was one of her milder put-downs. “Braces.” “Pregnant.” Occasionally, “Still pretty.” “Looks older than I do” was one of her favorite notes. “Still holds PHS record for 100-yd. dash,” said one. And “danced w. him” appeared often. 


    Had I known about this project as it was happening? I hadn’t. Several reunions were held before I was born, and later ones, at-tended even after she retired, weren’t discussed with her two daughters. After all, we might know some of these graduates as the parents of our friends or our own teachers or custodians or police officers or panhandlers, townspeople still. 


    A handwritten codicil on the last page of my mother’s will said, “My daughter Daphne will take possession of the Pickering High School’s yearbook, The Monadnockian.” And nothing more. 


    I took it back with me to Manhattan, where it stayed on my shelf for a month until I read a magazine article about decluttering. 


    The test? Would I ever reread this novel, these college text-books, these magazines? Did I really need a Portuguese-English dictionary? What about the panini press and my dead Black-Berry? The expert recommended this: Hold the item in question, be it book or sweater or socks or muffin tin, to your chest, over your heart, and ask yourself, Does this thing inspire joy? 


    I hugged the yearbook. Nothing. Well, not nothing; worse than that: an aversion. Apparently, I didn’t want, nor would I miss, this testimony to the unsympathetic, snarky side of my mother’s character. 


    The best-selling decluttering wizard said the property owner had to be tough, even ruthless.  I certainly was that.  Good-bye, ugly white-vinyl, ink-stained yearbook with your put-downs and your faint smell of mildew! Maybe it was my mother’s legacy and a time capsule, but it had failed to stir emotion in my bosom. Possessing too much stuff anyway, in a cramped apartment, book-shelves overflowing, I threw it out. Or rather, being a good citizen, I walked  it  down  the  hall  to  my  building’s  trash  closet, straight into the recycling bin. 


    Okay, Listen 


    I’d never met Geneva Wisekorn despite our residing at opposite ends of the same hallway. Our introduction came in the form of a note slipped under my door announcing, “I found something that belongs to you. Are you home?” followed by an email address and phone, office, and mobile numbers. My wallet? My keys? I checked my pocketbook. All there. Had a misdelivered piece of mail or dropped glove been traced back to me? I went to my laptop and wrote to this seemingly thoughtful stranger, asking what possession of mine she’d found. 


    She wrote back immediately. “A high school yearbook.  We need to talk!” 


    No, we didn’t. I hit reply and wrote, “Thanks anyway, but I recycled that,” then added a postscript — “It has no meaning or value, sentimental or otherwise” — in case she was looking for a reward. 


    “Contact info?” she answered. 


    My first mistake: I sent it. Immediately, my phone rang. After my wary “Hello,” I heard, “I think you’ll be very interested in what I have to say.” 


    I asked how she knew the yearbook, which I now decided I needed back, belonged to me. 


    “Because I found it with magazines that had your name on the subscription labels.” 


    I said, “I’d never forgive myself if a yearbook with all that personal stuff written in it got into the hands of a stranger.” 


    “Then why’d you throw it out?” 


    “I thought it would go to some landfill! Or get turned into what-ever recycled paper gets turned into.” 


    “I know the rules. If it’s trash left at the curbside or at the dump, the possessor has relegated ownership.” 


    The possessor has relegated ownership? Was I talking to this ragpicker’s lawyer? 


    “Finders keepers, in other words?” 





Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780544808256

  • ISBN-10: 0544808258

  • Pages: 304

  • Price: $25.00

  • Publication Date: 02/05/2019

  • Carton Quantity: 12

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