What does it mean to find a job you love? To make a house in a city, just to move elsewhere for a job? Be friends-real friends-in adulthood? Jonny Sun addresses these questions in his new book Goodbye, Again. Sun’s engaging and immersive book, consisting of dozens of short essays and illustrations, invites readers to listen to him as he ponders the page aloud.
This book is sad and hopeful at the same time. It is sad about the cultural pressure to work constantly. It is sad about the inevitability of change. It is sad to see the many ways we say goodbye, whether to end a visit or to get away. But he is also attentive to life and movement in unlikely places. For example, the sun looks at indoor plants—their small leaves, inclined to water and heat. They need the right kind of care for life to take root, and even if a plant seems to die, it can actually grow in a different direction.
Through such descriptions, the reader feels the desire for Sun’s renewal. The book is hopeful because it shows how small moments of the past, something as simple as cooking an egg, can be transferred to the present. In this way, we never really say goodbye. We are always together, we always remember each other in small daily ways.
Spending time with this book means spending time in the private world of a creative and sensitive person who finds life inviting, beautiful and rich, but also overwhelming, scary and exhausting. Goodbye, again recognizes the overwhelming constancy and anxiety of work, but it also celebrates the joy of creating something where there was nothing before—the joy of being completely immersed in work and how work can bring us to life. By acknowledging both sides of this reality in a gentle and specific way, Sun finally gives her readers the license to experience their own contradictions and be completely human.