Thursday, May 21, 2015

It is Woodstock!

Woodstock is far from being part of the West unless you consider being northwest of New York City the West, which at one time it was. Now known as Bethel Woods, there is a monument to the Woodstock Festival with all the names of the musicians who performed at the Festival in 1969 and a museum on the grounds. Which brings me to the subject of today's blog, a book by Michael Murphy entitled Goodbye Emily, published in 2012 in paperback and e-book, available at

It's the story of three high school buddies from Pennsylvania, who once had a small band in high school called the Buck Naked Band. Here they are forty years later in their sixties making a trip back to Woodstock to spread the ashes of Emily, the wife of the one called "Sparky". Sparky is now a professor at Milton College, er, he was a Professor until he was fired by a young PhD Warfield to make room for one of his buddies.

Sparky's wife passed away from cancer two years ago and Sparky has been wallowing in self-pity ever since and it turned a smidgin worse after he was fired. He and his dog, Lady, live in the empty house now and cuss the next door neighbor, Old Man Simpson, for letting his cat use his flowerbed as a bathroom. Other than that he maintains himself with food for himself and Lady and makes a mess of the house with all the trash built up since he lost interest in life.  Sparky has a daughter named Cloe, a lawyer, who comes by often to see how he is getting along and one day gets him going enough to visit one of his old buddies, Josh, who is now an Alzheimer's patient in the local Sunrise Center. He also pays a visit to Buck, the other close friend and past band member.

Buck and Sparky have to break Josh out of the home to take him with them to give Emily a last farewell. Josh doesn't remember them, but Sparky brings him a picture of his dog Buttons which he does remember and Josh digs up the words of some of the songs played at Woodstock somewhere from his memory and sings along with them on a couple of tunes.

I really thought this story of their trip to Woodstock was funny and joyful and they had a helluva time avoiding the cops on the back roads. An APB was put out for the three for kidnapping an Alzheimer's patient and the trip gets exciting, suspenseful, and humorous on the way to Woodstock. The author did a fine job explaining and carrying me through the book to the end. A wonderful book of a great American musical event as Sparky, Buck and Josh have the adventure of their lives and meet the girls of their dream, at least Sparky did, and so did Buck late in the book when he finds the girl he met at the festival.

Michael Murphy is a member of the Arizona Authors Association as am I and he has posted several items on my Pinterest board, but this in no way has any bearing on my review of Goodbye Emily,  one of the best books I've read. Mr. Murphy also writes mysteries, such as Scorpion Bay.


  1. Sounds interesting. I saw some movie recently where some old friends kidnapped a friend who was in a home with Alzheimer's. Can't remember the title.

    1. Seems to be a popular thing to do nowadays. I haven't seen that movie.