Taking on Nashville, “Goodbye Days” style

Jeff Zentner’s recent sophomore novel, Goodbye Days, was written as a love letter to Nashville, the city in which Zentner lives. As a result, the book is chock-full of Nashville locations. If you find yourself in Nashville, here’s some locations from the book to check out in person!

1. McKay’s, 636 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209


McKay’s is the used bookstore where Carver Briggs worked. McKay’s is REAL, and it is tremendous. They have a very large selection of used books, both older and recent. (Confession: I bought Jeff Zentner’s The Serpent King at McKay’s in my first trip to Nashville.) You can easily get lost for hours inside of there searching for treasures.

2. Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, 5301 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209

This location is steeped in a tradition with the Sauce Crew near the beginning of each school year. Located near Centennial Park, Bobbie’s Dairy Dip is home to milkshakes, ice cream, and burgers. Perhaps you should go and enjoy a peanut butter and banana milkshake in honor of Mars.

3. Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203


After stopping at Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, head over to Centennial Park. Centennial Park is the location of the infamous squirrel rodeo in Goodbye Days. In order to play squirrel rodeo, when you see a squirrel near the side of the path, steer it over to the path. You have to follow it slowly and have to try to keep it on the path for a full 8 seconds.

Besides playing squirrel rodeo, Centennial Park is also home to the Parthenon. Built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, this place is tremendously beautiful. If you pay the admission to go inside, you can learn more about the history of the park, view some art, and view a 42 feet tall statue of Athena.

5. Percy Warner Park, 7311 Tennessee 100, Nashville, TN 37221

Percy Warner Park is located approximately a 10 minute walk away from Carver’s house. This is where Carver goes when he feels that he has no other way of dealing with stuff. This is also the location where Carver ends up having an important conversation with Jesmyn.

6. Percy Priest Lake

Despite the name similarities, Percy Priest Lake is not located near Percy Warner Park. However, Percy Priest Lake cannot be missed for fans of Goodbye Days. After all, this is one of the locations that Nana Betty chooses. Go there and think about Nana Betty and Carver together. As you travel there, it is a must to sing loudly and off-key to old country music.

7. West Meade Neighborhood 

This is the neighborhood in which Carver Briggs lives. Bonus points if you can figure out the area Zentner was referencing when Carver describes his streets as unusual because there is train track running behind it on a raised berm. (In all likelihood, this is the train track that runs along side Highway 100 near there.)

8. Anthropologie, The Mall at Green Hills, and Parnassus Books

  • Anthropologie: 4031 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215
  • Green Hills Mall: 2126 Abbott Martin Rd, Nashville, TN 37215
  • Parnassus Books: Hillsboro Plaza Shopping Center, 3900 Hillsboro Pike #14, Nashville, TN 37215

Anthropologie is where Georgia works. Conveniently, Nashville’s Anthro location is located right next to the Mall at Green Hills which is where Blake filmed one of his infamous videos. (I would suggest keeping your shirt on though.) While you are in the area, you should head over to Parnassus Books. While mentioned briefly in the book (Carver’s dad takes him there), Parnassus is awesome in its own rite. It is a fantastic independent bookstore, and perhaps you will be able to score a signed copy of one of Jeff Zentner’s books.

9. The Ryman Auditorium, 116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219 

Jesmyn and Carver head to the Ryman Auditorium to see a very special artist. The Ryman is beautiful. Built in 1885, the Ryman has been home to the Union Gospel Tabernacle and the Grand Ole Opry. Despite Nashville’s tear down trend, the Ryman survived its place on the demolition block and now serves as one of the most iconic Nashville venues.

10. Provence Breads and Cafe, 1705 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN  37212

This is the bakery where Eli’s family would frequently go on Saturdays.

11. Nashville School of the Arts, 1250 Foster Ave, Nashville, TN 37210

While Goodbye Days‘s school is actually Nashville Arts Academy, it seems that the fictional school was heavily modeled after the real school, Nashville School of the Arts. The real high school features conservatories in dance, music, theatre, literary arts, and visual arts, much like the fictional high school.

12. Shelby Bottoms Greenway, 1900 Davidson St, Nashville, TN 37206

Start off at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center and take a run in memory of Mars.


And finally, stay off of your cellphone while driving. There’s no need for any more tragedies. (Also, Nashville traffic is terrible.)



Review of ARC: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

I received an ARC of You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner through my local library. This book has been on my list to read since August 2016 so I was quite thrilled when they offered it to me.

You’re Welcome, Universe is the story of Julia who is Deaf. When the story begins, Julia is covering up a slur about her best friend Jordyn on the wall of the gym at Kingston School of the Deaf. Julia quickly learns, however, that Jordyn may not be the best friend that Julia thinks as Jordyn sells her out to the principal. As a result, Julia finds herself expelled. Her moms (Mee and Ma) quickly find her a new school and an interpreter as she will now be going to a public school.

While there, Julia experiences true culture shock. Having come from a family where both of her moms are Deaf and having come from a school where everyone else is deaf/Deaf, she is now in a world with the hearies. A lot of people in her school, teachers included, have never truly interacted with someone who is deaf, and consequently, she encounters a LOT of ignorance as well as some plain rude people.

She finds solace in doing what she has always done–street art–until someone comes along and adds on her to art. She quickly tries to figure out who is responsible for this as well as to one-up them.

Within this time, she becomes friends with YP. YP doesn’t settle for textual communication and begins to learn ASL so she can communicate more easily with her friend. She makes missteps along the way, but the friendship between Julia and YP works pretty well. Towards the end, the problems that I had with their friendship do end up being resolved.

This book is full of diversity—Julia is Indian and Deaf. She has two moms. YP has had some mental health issues. However, it never felt like diversity was thrown in there for the sake of diversity.

I always read the acknowledgment sections now, and I feel it is really important to note that even though this is not an #ownvoices book, Gardner did use sensitivity readers to make sure that Julia’s life and experiences would be as truthful as possible. (Shout out to that for sure!)

Overall, I found this a really compelling and quick read. Also featuring some of the street art, this is a great book on multiple levels.

(Oh and as a side note: the Goodreads blurb compares it to More Happy than Not and Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I do not see the More Happy than Not comparison at all, but the Simon comparison is fair–just without the romance angle.)
Final Rating: 4/5

Link to buy on Amazon: You’re Welcome, Universe