Synopses & Reviews
When Veronica Reed wakes one frigid January morning, two things seem amiss. First, her Manhattan apartment is luxuriously quiet—her husband, John, and the baby, Clara, are out. Secondly, she is rested, having slept through the night for the first time in months. As Veronica goes about her first free morning in what feels like a lifetime, John, racked by sleep deprivation, is fleeing lower Manhattan with Clara for a weekend in the Caribbean. This isnt a kidnapping. Its just that the cozy local diner happened to be closed, and John, wanting to give his wife a break and spend a little time with the baby, took a taxi to the airport and hopped on a plane.
Told through alternating points of view, Thea Goodman's The Sunshine When Shes Gone explores one unusual weekends life-changing impact on a couple, as individuals and as partners. As Veronica revisits the carefree lifestyle she knew before John and the baby, she grapples with the sacrifices of parenthood. Meanwhile, John faces the full responsibilities—and joys—of being father to an infant with whom he has almost never been left alone. John and Veronica nearly lose hold not only of themselves but of each other as they struggle to find their way in this hilarious, eloquent novel about passion, ambivalence, and love.
"It's hard to grow attached to the self-absorbed couple at the helm of Goodman's first novel. Though 30-somethings Veronica and John are new parents, their actions are more like those of spoiled teenagers. Under the pretense of letting his wife rest, John, at the beginning of the novel, takes an impromptu weekend trip to Barbados with their 6-month-old baby without telling Veronica. 'Kidnap was not the right word,' read his opening thoughts. Reckless behavior ensues with disastrous results, including a mild concussion and a sick and fussy baby. John's bewilderment at feeling out of control surprises him, but will not surprise readers. Meanwhile, in alternate chapters told from her perspective, Veronica suffers more from guilt than worry over her husband and baby's sudden departure, preferring instead to spend her free time with old friends getting sauced on martinis and reliving the good old days. Further shenanigans roll out on both ends pot smoking with locals, a not-so-steamy one-night stand with an ex-lover but by the time John returns to New York, sheepish but rejuvenated, and the truth finally spills into the open, it's hard to care. Nonetheless, this is a sobering tale of two people discovering what it means to be a parent. Agent: Elyse Cheney, the Elyse Cheney Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A fresh, funny, and wisely observed debut novel about marriage—about the love, longing and ambivalence exposed when a husband takes the baby on a highly unusual outing
When Veronica Reed wakes up one frigid January morning, two things are “off”—first of all, she has had a good nights sleep, which hasnt happened in months, and second, both her husband and her baby are gone. Grateful for the much-needed rest, Veronica doesnt, at first, seriously question her husbands trip out to breakfast with baby Clara. Little does she know, her spouse has fled lower Manhattan, with Clara, for some R&R in the Caribbean.
Told through alternating points of view, The Sunshine When She's Gone explores the life-changing impact of parenthood on a couple as individuals and as partners. Thea Goodman brings us into intimacies made tense by sleep-deprivation and to losses and gains made more real by acknowledging them. Here is the story of a couple pushed to the edge and a desperate fathers attempt give them both space to breathe.
About the Author
Thea Goodman has received the Columbia Fiction Award, a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and fellowships at Yaddo and Ragdale; her short stories have appeared in several journals, notably New England Review, Other Voices and Columbia. Born in New York City, she studied at Sarah Lawrence and earned her MFA from Brooklyn College, CUNY. She has taught writing at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and lives in Chicago with her husband and children.