Tag Archives: book reviews

Book Review: Tear Soup

Disclaimer: Every person is different in what they find to be helpful, spiritual, humorous and comforting, which is why I include a section for general thoughts to clarify exactly what I liked and disliked about the book. This is simply meant to be a guide in helping you find the book that best suits your individual needs as a newly widowed person. I wish you peace on this difficult journey.

Title: Tear Soup

Author(s): Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen

Publishing Info: Grief Watch, Portland Oregon 1999

Helpful Meter 1-5 (1 being not at all helpful, 5 being very helpful) 4

Spiritual Meter 1-5 (1 being not spiritual, 5 being very spiritual) 3

Humor Meter 1-5 (1 being not humorous at all, 5 being very humorous) 1

Comfort Meter 1-5 (1 being not comforting, 5 being very comforting) 5

Staci’s Recommendation (1 being pass on this, 5 being read this today) 4

General thoughts and feelings on the book: I received a couple copies of this book when my husband died. This along with one other book (which is due for review next) helped me the most. Tear Soup is great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time or doesn’t like to read. It is short and in picture book format. Don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s just for kids. It’s great for kids, but also covers a lot of general grief and healing for adults too. There’s a lot of emphasis on each person’s grief being different, and what you might encounter along that journey. There’s also great resources listed in the back and bullet point advice for dealing with different situations. This would be a great book to gift to someone who’s just experienced a loss (after giving it a read yourself). It scored a 3 on the spiritual meter because there was a couple pages on dealing with your faith, which I’m finding most grief books include. It’s not preachy or pushing towards faith either way. The metaphor of making “tear soup” as the grief journey is great and easy to understand. I highly recommend this book.

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Book Review: I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping & Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

Disclaimer: Every person is different in what they find to be helpful, spiritual, humorous and comforting, which is why I include a section for general thoughts to clarify exactly what I liked and disliked about the book. This is simply meant to be a guide in helping you find the book that best suits your individual needs as a newly widowed person. I wish you peace on this difficult journey.

Title: I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping & Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

Author(s): Brook Noel & Pamela D. Blair, PhD

Publishing Info: Sourcebooks, Inc., Naperville IL 2000

Helpful Meter 1-5 (1 being not at all helpful, 5 being very helpful) 5

Spiritual Meter 1-5 (1 being not spiritual, 5 being very spiritual) 4

Humor Meter 1-5 (1 being not humorous at all, 5 being very humorous) 1

Comfort Meter 1-5 (1 being not comforting, 5 being very comforting) 4

Staci’s Recommendation (1 being pass on this, 5 being read this today) 4

General thoughts and feelings on the book: I was intimidated by this book at first because it’s quite thick. But I soon discovered it’s extremely well organized into parts and chapters. It’s also very easy to read. The thing I really liked about this book is that it’s not just a book for widows. It covers grief in losing a parent, sibling, friend, spouse among others. It also offers advice on what children may go through and how to help them. It includes insight on dealing with different types of sudden death from car accidents to suicide. It’s really nice to have all that information in one place. You can not only use this book to help you through your own grief, but also to understand the grief of others.

There’s a general feeling of “spirituality” in the book that doesn’t really focus on any one religion or set of beliefs. It does contain a chapter dedicated to faith which gave it the high spiritual score. So while it does speak a bit about God, faith and personal beliefs it is not preachy or churchy.

It has an extensive list of resources in the back pages from support groups to book recommendations. It also has exercises to help you work through your grief and contains worksheets for preparing a memorial service and eulogy for loved ones.

Even though the book is written by two women it does contain a chapter on how men cope with grief, understanding the differences between men and women’s grief journey and ways to reach out to men.

The great thing about this book is its versatility. Since it contains so much information a lot of it is mostly a jumping off point to explore your own grief. I think it would be overwhelming to attempt to read the whole thing while in the throes of grief, however it’s so well organized that it would be very easy to go to the table of contents or index and find exactly what you need. It can be a little repetitive at times (which may have come from my reading it through), but I think overall it’s a great book to have that would be very helpful on any grief journey one may encounter.

Book Review Grief Sucks…But Love Bears All Things: How Grief Tore Me Apart And Put Me Back Together

Disclaimer: Every person is different in what they find to be helpful, spiritual, humorous and comforting, which is why I include a section for general thoughts to clarify exactly what I liked and disliked about the book. This is simply meant to be a guide in helping you find the book that best suits your individual needs as a newly widowed person. I wish you peace on this difficult journey.

Title: Grief Sucks…But Love Bears All Things: How Grief Tore Me Apart And Put Me Back Together

Author(s): Gayle Taylor Davis

Publishing Info: Quill Driver Books, Fresno, CA 2014

Helpful Meter 1-5 (1 being not at all helpful, 5 being very helpful) 3

Spiritual Meter 1-5 (1 being not spiritual, 5 being very spiritual) 5

Humor Meter 1-5 (1 being not humorous at all, 5 being very humorous) 1

Comfort Meter 1-5 (1 being not comforting, 5 being very comforting) 4

Staci’s Recommendation (1 being pass on this, 5 being read this today) 3

General thoughts and feelings on the book:

I really liked this book, however, it is not a self help book. It will not help guide you through this tumultuous time, nor does it offer any advice on dealing with grief. It is one woman’s experience with the death of her husband.

What I liked about this book is the open, honest and raw emotions. I imagine it could be helpful for some people to realize they are not alone in feeling like a completely insane person, which seems to be very common among widows. But I can also see it going the opposite way and bringing someone down too far. The author is a very talented writer and includes a lot of her own beautiful poetry.

It’s very obvious that the author is a Christian, however she wasn’t a “ram it down your throat” type. She merely spoke of her faith as the driving healing factor in her grief journey.

The comfort rating is higher because, as I said before, many people may find it comforting to know they not insane but are, in fact perfectly normal. Grief can do a number on your emotional stability. Knowing it’s common might be comforting.

Overall it was a beautiful and heart wrenching book to read. I found myself tearing up quite a bit. It’s only about 85 pages long so it is a quick read. If you’re feeling crazy and alone this could be a good book for you. But keep in mind that it is full of raw emotion.

A Book Review: Widows Wear Stilettos

Disclaimer: Every person is different in what they find to be helpful, spiritual, humorous and comforting, which is why I include a section for general thoughts to clarify exactly what I liked and disliked about the book. This is simply meant to be a guide in helping you find the book that best suits your individual needs as a newly widowed person. I wish you peace on this difficult journey.

Title: Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow

Author(s): Carole Brody Fleet with Syd Harriet, Ph.D, Psy.D.

Publishing Info: New Horizon Press, Far Hills, NJ 2009

Helpful Meter 1-5 (1 being not at all helpful, 5 being very helpful): 5

Spiritual Meter 1-5 (1 being not spiritual, 5 being very spiritual): 1

Humor Meter 1-5 (1 being not humorous at all, 5 being very humorous): 3

Comfort Meter 1-5 (1 being not comforting, 5 being very comforting): 4

Staci’s Recommendation (1 being pass on this, 5 being read this today) 5

General thoughts and feelings on the book:

This book covers the very practical aspects of being a widow such as, dealing with social security, life insurance payouts, notifying many entities of your spouse’s passing and obtaining lawyers, therapists or other help when needed. However, it also focuses on the different aspects of moving forward and embracing life. There are areas to journal and keep records and a few pages in the back for notes.

The author also attempts to instill a bit of humor into the book, which may be welcome by some people a little farther along in their journey. It made me smile a few times but I never laughed out loud.

She doesn’t speak much about spiritual or faith based recovery short of suggesting talking to a member of clergy if you feel it would be helpful.

Overall the book covers many of the “real life” aspects of being a widow in addition to the healing process.

Click here to purchase.

Something Like a Book Review

Last week I finished reading a book called Unwind by Neal Shusterman. The story starts with Connor, a somewhat troubled youth who just found out his parents are going to have him unwound. What is unwinding you might ask? Basically a child is taken apart bit by bit. Every single part of that child is used for those in need of transplants, new limbs etc, but said child does not die. The child’s consciousness is still there, in all the pieces that are taken there is still a bit of that child in those pieces. How could such a practice come about? From the Heartland War, a war between pro life and pro choice supporters. A compromise was reached in unwinding. Abortion was made illegal, however after 13 years a parent can choose to have their child unwound for almost any reason. It’s problematic because 13 is the age when many kids start to get snarky and annoying.

To add another level to the book is the concept of tithing. It’s the same as tithing 10% of all you own, only with your children. So a child is born and told from a very young age that they will be tithed and that it’s a good thing, they are holy and somehow more special then regular children. They are also told that they are totally different from regular “unwinds” and by different they mean better.

This book was an amazing read. It was challenging without being preachy and I found it hard to tell if the author was pro life or pro choice. I mention that only because in a book of this nature, where a commentary on society and beliefs are being made, it would be really easy to fall into the trap of propaganda and the book didn’t read that way at all. There were times I found myself thinking “Of course Mr. Shusterman is pro choice,” but then a few paragraphs later I would second guess that assumption.

Unwind By: Neal Shusterman

Unwind By: Neal Shusterman

The pace of the story is excellent. It’s a tale of survival and hiding which could be very boring in places. The story is told from the point of view of three major characters. Occasionally another character or group of characters will get a chapter or two, but the three main characters Connor, Risa and Lev are the narrators the majority of the time. I think that helped a lot with keeping the pace moving forward. When the action started to lag with one character their chapter would end and another would begin. Writing the chapters this way also let us delve deep into each character.

The characters in this book were so well developed, by the end of the book I felt like I’d made new friends. Connor, Risa and Lev all change dramatically in the book. By the end they are completely different from the people they were at the beginning of the story. The changes come gradually and make sense because Mr. Shusterman shows us their journey. We see the choices they have to make and we understand their thought process. It’s not as if the characters change overnight, which can be a problem with a lot of books.

Overall this book has become one of my favorites. It’s one I’d like to put on my shelf and read over and over. I think you’d find something new and compelling in it every time. It really challenged me and I like that.

In a time when abortion, rape culture and women’s rights are on the tip of everyone’s tongues, this book fits right in. But I can’t decide if it takes any sort of real stand. Maybe that’s what makes it such a fantastic book. Both ideas are represented and each person can take from that what they will.