"Say Goodbye" by Lewis Shiner: A brief summary, theme, and why it was an interesting modern novel - and who should read it.

Essay by tofufauxHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2006

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Most people can only dream of becoming a rock star; still fewer have the passion to ever attempt this dream. In Lewis Shiner's "Say Goodbye", this musical fervor leaps off the pages. Within the main character of Laurie Moss can be seen a special obsession found in everyone. The knowledgeable writing of Lewis Shiner, combined with the vivid struggles of the characters, join to create a surprisingly inspiring novel.

To some people, "Say Goodbye" may be thought of as the basic clichéd novel involving someone trying to get famous in Hollywood, but in reality, it is so much more. This novel offers a great insight into the musical world. As Laurie Moss and her band take steps to break from music underground obscurity and onto the mainstream stage, they have to go though many hard times. Detailed descriptions on how the band struggle to make their first album, book gigs, get a record contract, and stay together all add to the realism of the story.

And, another aspect of the plot that makes the story feel genuine is the reader's ability to empathize with the characters. It is painful to see a dream go up in smoke and to be forced to start from the beginning. But, even after all the struggles and heartbreak, if the belief in that one dream is strong enough, Say Goodbye proves that one broken dream can possibly evolve into something better.

Lewis Shiner has a unique way of chronicling and telling the story in "Say Goodbye". This writing style can best be compared to that of a True Hollywood Story or Behind the Music television episode. The point of view in the novel often switches from the first person of multiple characters, to that of the third person. The first person characters are in the form of Laurie Moss and the rock journalist/novelist who is writing his book about Laurie. And, the third person also seems to be told by the rock journalist/novelist, but almost from the view of an author writing a book. The constant jumping around in the sequence of the plot and the changing of the narrator helps keep Say Goodbye an interesting novel.

Overall, "Say Goodbye" is a great modern day novel. Lewis Shiner does an excellent job in describing the different emotions of the characters. By slowing down the pace in certain areas of the novel, or backtracking to a different time, readers truly get to see a few years of Laurie Moss' interesting life; and this life that readers eventually come to know seems entirely possible. The rollercoaster of success and failure in Laurie's career and personal issues also adds a motivational part to the story. Laurie chooses to give up almost everything for a chance to go after that one dream rather than staying home to live a monotonous life. While this indeed sounds like a commonplace novel or cheesy television show, Lewis Shiner adds an edgy yet endearing story to this plot, making one slightly depressing yet uplifting novel.

"Say Goodbye" has many different plot elements that can appeal to many different people. The excellent portrayal of the music business would be a great reason for aspiring performers to read this book. Or, people interested in reading about LA would probably enjoy this book. Whatever the reason for getting interested in this superb novel, "Say Goodbye" is a great read for the modern generation.

*as an improvement, you should probably rephrase a few sentences. . some are kinda week*