Review: The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs


The Goodbye Quilt by my favorite author Susan Wiggs began as therapy.  Ms. Wiggs dropped her beloved daughter Elizabeth off at college and had an empty nest meltdown.  On her blog, Ms. Wiggs told visitors:

I wrote The Goodbye Quilt because it was cheaper than therapy.  Honestly, I did not expect my daughter’s departure from home to hit me as hard as it did.
 
The first draft of this novel came out fast, in a matter of weeks, fueled by emotion and a sense of urgency to get the feelings out. 

Elizabeth is married now and about to receive her MBA from the University of Chicago.  In February, the mother-daughter duo published How I Planned Your Wedding.

I highly recommend reading both books together.  Like a master quilter pieces together a work of art, the books recount how a devoted family builds a solid foundation and properly launches a child in life.  The Goodbye Quilt is fiction, but the story is stitched with love.  Ms. Wiggs explained how her scribbling became a book:

 I needed the perspective of time and my cold writer’s eye to transform the story from a self indulgent rumination into a novel readers could truly embrace and relate to.

I also needed to find a way to conclude the story that felt true and satisfying.

Saying Goodbye to a Piece of a Mother’s Heart

Ms. Wiggs is having a contest for readers’ favorite quotes in the book.  Mine are the words Linda says to Molly as she says “goodbye” at college ~ they are words every child deserves to hear (page 241):

You’re going to be incredible. . .I’m so happy for you. . .Goodbye, my precious girl. . .You are golden. . .You are sunshine.

They reflect the sentiment in to books’ dedication:

To my curly-headed daughter, Elizabeth ~ you are my sunshine.

Susan Wiggs and Elizabeth Wiggs Maas

I liked the book so much that I’m buying a copy for my college roommate, who loves to quilt.  When I graduated from law school, she gave me a gold Cross pen set which I cherish.  I use the pen each morning to scribble in my journal.

Ms. Wiggs created a video to launch this book which has a phenomenal soundtrack ~ the Byrds gave it an enthusiastic eight wings up.  In the video, she shares what she loves about the book.  I loved the endpapers (the first and last pages in a book) which are quilted.  I also loved the quilt pattern of the actual goodbye quilt designed by Joan Vassiliadis.   This section of the book includes tips on creating art quilts versus quilts people use daily and plan to launder.

Ms. Wiggs is generously offering her readers of her blog and books a signed letterpressed bookplate.  It was created by Atlas & Campbell, who did Elizabeth’s wedding invitations.

I was absolutely blown away to discover Ms. Wiggs logo this morning:  “Laugh.  Cry.  Dream.  Read.”  She writes her books in long-hand using peacock blue ink.  The author photo at the top of this post is by Yvonne Wong, who was the photographer at Elizabeth’s wedding.  The quilt in the background is a family heirloom almost 100 years old.

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