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Literature / Gooberz

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In search of druids.

"Oh Goob, go smell a rose!"
the narrator's Leo lover

Gooberz is a massive semi-autobiographical poem published in 1989 by astrologist Linda Goodman. Split into twenty one cantos, the poem entwines significant events in her life with her religious and esoteric beliefs. After dedicating a third of the book to her eventful childhood and adolescence, the narrator shifts the main focus of the story onto her two main relationships (one with her unfortunate Gemini husband and the one with her much younger Leo paramour) and on coping with the debilitating agony of losing them both. After the deaths of their three children and her husband's infidelity, the narrator's marriage dissolves and they move to different places. Shortly after, the ex-husband dies, leaving the narrator paralyzed with grief and regret and obsessed with contacting him. After a prolonged period of mourning, she believes she has found him in the body of a younger, mysterious man whom she meets by chance in a bookstore. They have a passionate love affair, but ultimately he breaks up with her and leaves, marking the beginning of another agonizing period of grief for the narrator.

The purpose of the book, according to the author herself, was to offer a message of hope and to comfort those who have suffered a bereavement. In the almost three decades since its publishing, some aspects of the book, in particular those related to esoteric topics have become very dated - still, the book has its own quiet but dedicated fanbase among the author's following.

This poem shows examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Her husband and her lover both call her mouse-spouse.
  • Astral Projection: The narrator believes that she is visited by her ex-lover in this manner. Whether it's true or wishful thinking is up for the reader to decide.
  • Astrologer: Linda Goodman is one of the most famous astrologers in the world. Unsurprisingly, she makes heavy use of astrology in her poem to explain her personality and that of others, as well as her relationship with several characters.
  • Artistic License: Especially towards the end of this semi-autobiography, as the narrator never rekindled her relationship with her lover.
  • Aura Vision: The narrator and her lover perform an experiment which results in them being able to see each other's auras.
  • Berserk Button: Understandably, she can't stand being blamed for her partner's infidelities.
  • Best Friend: Ruth the gentle and considerate Pisces neighbor comes fairly close to being this for the narrator.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The narrator's jealous tendencies are best emphasized in her relationship with her Leo lover, who was twenty-two years younger than her and had a previous relationship with a Scorpio woman. Linda describes going to the post office with him every morning to make sure that he did not get any letters from her. One time, when he received the Scorpio girl's address and telephone number from his mother, he burned the letter in front of the narrator.
  • Cute Kitten: The narrator and her lover get two kittens which they name Love and Peace.
  • Death of a Child: The narrator has three children with her first husband - none of them survive infancy. She also loses two of her friends during her childhood.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: What the narrator believes will happen to all humans once they open their third eye. The list includes immortality, perfect health, healing powers and teleportation.
  • Fire Purifies: The narrator burns the letters she received from an ex-lover as a purifying ritual.
  • Foregone Conclusion: For those readers familiar with Linda Goodman's life, the ending of the book can be very sad, as they know that in reality, her romantic relationship with her ex-lover did not rekindle at all, and she died alone.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The narrator adores nature and cares about every single creature, even an ant. This is quickly noticed by the neighborhood boys, who blackmail her into handing over her money by threatening to set ants on fire.
  • Granola Guy: The Leo lover insists on eating only healthy food, and asked the narrator to stop smoking. Aside a few occasional clandestine dips in the cookie jar, he is very particular about his health.
  • Hot-Blooded: The narrator has quite the temper. She roars in anger when she discovers that her husband has been cheating on her with her best friend, and smashes a sentimental gift from her lover during a quarrel. It's implied to be one of the reasons why her lover left her.
  • Hypocrite: One of the less savory aspects of the Leo lover's character. He is very keen on healthy food and is implied to impose the same regimen on the narrator, but when the narrator suspects that he's been secretly eating her Oreo cookies, he mocks her and accuses her of doing it. It turns out that he was the one doing it. It's a minor example which reflects his patronizing, insincere attitude.
  • It Was a Gift: The narrator receives several sentimental gifts from her lover, including a Raggedy Ann doll, an antique porcelain doll and a green stuffed rabbit. She smashes the porcelain doll in a fit of anger, and carves up the stuffed toys when her ex-lover leaves her.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The neighborhood boys used to blackmail the narrator into handing over her pocket money, otherwise they would burn ants. She was so distressed by the suffering of the insects that she would always give in, and sometimes the boys would burn the ants anyway. She recalls that to be one of the most traumatizing memories of her childhood.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Leo lover comes across as this, although the narrator alternates between being oblivious or very forgiving. He is quick to accuse the narrator for his own dishonesty and often throws the blame on her when he is caught making a mistake. He cheats on the narrator and then claims he did it because she was threatening his masculinity. When the visits the narrator to break up with her, he mocks her for (correctly) stating personal information such as height and eye color and tries to gaslight her by claiming that she is wrong. This messes with the narrator's mind to such an extent that she hires a private investigator just to make sure that she was right.
  • May–December Romance: The narrator's lover is twenty-two years younger than her. The age difference bothers her, and is the source of several insecurities.
  • Ms. Red Ink: The narrator, much like in real life, is not very good with money. In real life, she squandered the fortune she'd amassed through her best-selling books and was left penniless by the time she died.
  • Naïve Everygirl: The narrator describes herself as this.
  • Reincarnation Romance: The narrator believes that she and the man she loves have been together in multiple lives. She also believes that after her husband died, his soul moved into the body of her lover.
  • Shout-Out: The poem makes a myriad of references to poetry, religion, astrology, medicine, literature etc. Among the more prominent references are the Peanuts comics.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: After her ex-lover attempts to gaslight her by claiming he has a different height and eye color and saying that he is not left handed, the narrator hires a private detective to bring her official records which confirm that he had been lying.