Goodnight Beautiful book cover
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Published: January 1, 2008
Nova will do anything for her closest friend, Mal, whom she has known since childhood. So when Mal and his wife, Stephanie, ask Nova to be a surrogate mother, she agrees—despite her reservations about what it might mean for their friendship. Then Nova’s fears are realized. Halfway through the pregnancy, Stephanie finds a text from her husband to Nova that reads “Goodnight, beautiful.” Already suspicious of their deep connection, Stephanie demands that Mal cut all ties to Nova and their unborn baby, leaving Nova to raise the child alone. Eight years later, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Despite her anger and hurt, Nova wants Mal to have the chance to know his son before it’s too late. Will it take a tragedy to remind them all how much they mean to one another?

REVIEW

Goodnight beautiful by Dorothy Koomson is a bitter-sweet pleasant read. An original story about true love, loss, tragedy, family and fate. This novel is far from a light hearted read, the sadness of it left me emotionally drained. The story is beautiful yet so sad and heartbreaking. The author well explored the consequences of decisions driven by jealousy, the issues of surrogacy and how it affects the relationship of everyone involved.

“This is the anatomy of worry: becoming extremely rational, very quickly, playing scenario after scenario out until the normal option, the probable option, seems fantastical rather than likely.”

~Excerpt from Goodnight Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson.

Plot & Pacing

Firstly, the author’s writing style was quite frustrating. This is because the story is written in a first person narrative and told from the perspectives of the two female characters. Also with no indication as to who was narrating, in addition, contributed to the slow pacing of the novel.

I was frequently confused, especially at the start of the novel because it was very hard to follow. It was confusing to identify who was whom and where Leo fit into the picture. The book kept switching points of view, including time leaps, lots of flashbacks and dream sequences. Sometimes before getting to know who was speaking and when, which was annoying to say the least.

Secondly, the structure of writing, albeit slow was rather exceptional. Considering the complexity of the plotting. The build-up ended up being gripping and bitter-sweet. Reading towards the end was devastating and agonizing. Because it gave an insight and explained the grief the characters went and were going through. It did not have a happy ending, although it could have done without leaving me breathless and incoherent in the pain. Then again, that would have ripped it of its realistic touch. Reading this book was very heart-wrenching and emotional because I bawled my eyes out.

~Excerpt from Goodnight Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

“Friends shouldn’t be lovers. Friends shouldn’t even entertain the idea of it.”

Characters

The characters are relatable and realistic. It was easy to like and feel sympathy for them. Although neither left a lasting impression.The female characters were well written compared to the male characters. The undying and unconditional love and loyalty Nova and Mal had towards one another was altered by his feebleness. Written in the structure of the past coinciding with the present, Nova and Mal’s childhood was delicately written. This made reading about their present woes all the more devastating to witness.

“I sometimes wonder if other people are like me. If other people have so many secrets that they are not entirely sure all the time who they are.” ~Excerpt from Goodnight Beautiful

My least favorite character has to be Stephanie, she was plain hateful. Mal being second in place, was a confusing and spineless character that I did not want to believe in but did. His weak-willed nature unfortunately resulted to him being a huge disappointment. I disliked Stephanie because she readily used her past as an excuse to justify her jealousy and actions but not enough to say that it did. Although I sympathized with Stephanie after learning about her past, it did not change how I felt about her character nor did it justify her actions. She was very selfish and inconsiderate. I wanted her to suffer and strongly believe she did not deserve Nova’s forgiveness.

Mal being forgiven because of the relationship he had with Nova and the history between them was understandable. Also considering the situation Leo was in, not that the forgiveness was deserved. Leo also has a point of view, in which you get to see his entire life through his eyes, heart-wrenching.

Goodnight Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson; Conclusion

In spite of the annoying factors of the novel. There is no denying it was written beautifully by the author because of the depths she dove in that made the book emotionally intense and gave it meaning.

3.1Overall Score

Goodnight Beautiful

GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL touches on the kind of tragedy that affects real people in the real world, the despair of a parent having a critically ill child and the prospect of losing a child. Including ...

  • Plot
    3.5
  • Characters
    3.0
  • Pacing
    2.9
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4 thoughts on “Goodnight Beautiful”

  1. Mubarak Bello

    I know how sensitive this circumstance can be and how easily it can get complicated, talk less of the surrogate and the donor are friends. Not only does it seem unfair to Stephanie in my opinion if she’s the type to get uncomfortable with the idea (which probably isn’t the case cause it says she and Mal asked Nova). It creates a lot of unforeseen feelings such as jealousy. Nevertheless, life does put you in situations you have no control over. From your review it seems Stephanie did a lot of wrong that’s unjustified and irredeemable. Then there’s Leo’s point of view. I’m very curious to know more. Definitely going on my list. Carefully and truthfully written review. I admire your pretension and eloquence. Keeps getting better, great job!

  2. Ummi dambatta

    There’s so many things I could write cuz this book pulls on my heart but MEN ARE SCUM that’s it that’s all I have.

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