Hello Life, Goodbye Columbus

When Goodbye, Columbus was released in theaters in 1969, and the film did not appear on the archdiocese of Newark’s approved film list, it was the kiss of death for every girl in my high school.  Ali MacGraw was a rising star with long straight hair, dark eyes, an athletic body to die for, and the heart’s desire of every high school boy.  She was the new “it girl” we were rothall striving to be.

Goodbye, Columbus also addressed topics that were taboo in the 60s. What’s a curious 16-year-old girl to do?  Read the book, which I did over multiple trips to the library without checking out the book.  I’m not certain how Philip Roth’s National Book Award Winner came to mind when I was searching for a book title last month, but it offered me a second opportunity to read it with a more receptive viewpoint and an expanded critical eye.

Set amid the amid the late 1950s growing class conscious communities of New Jersey, Goodbye Columbus is a romance.  He works a low-paying position at the Newark Public Library and she is a Radcliffe student from a wealthy family.  As the two explore a heated relationship over a summer, their inability to assimilate into the world of the other creates a rift between them.  The novel also includes issues related to premarital sex and birth control— a big eye-opener in 1959 when the book was published.

A very solid 🙂 🙂 🙂 as it reminded me of growing up in New Jersey and it kept me entertained during a a sleepless night.


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