Sample Saturday – grief memoirs

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. This week, Stacie suggested all three (in the comments section of my Nonfiction November post).

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg

Summary: Two weeks after the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B. In this book, Sheryl shares what she has learnt about grief and resilience.

I’m thinking: Yes, convinced by the line ‘Grief is a demanding companion.’

A Mother’s Reckoning: Life in the Aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy by Sue Klebold

Summary: On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and within minutes had killed twelve students and a teacher and wounded twenty-four others, before taking their own lives. Since then, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. This book chronicles her journey trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible.

I’m thinking: Yes.

Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving by Julia Samuel

Summary: A collection of stories that explain how grief unmasks our greatest fears, strips away our layers of protection and reveals our innermost selves.

I’m thinking: Yes.

7 responses

  1. I don’t share your reading tastes (have I mentioned that before?) and I’m not sure it’s good for you, but that Columbine mother’s one would have to be interesting. It was in the paper today how many tens of thousands of school kids have been affected by shootings since. And still the Russian financed/NRA owned Senate Republicans won’t allow restrictions on gun ownership to even come to debate.

    • Not good in general or not good for me specifically? I’m always curious about how people manage the most devastating of circumstances/ experiences, and the interface between an instinctual/biological will to live and emotional devastation. My interest in ‘instinct’ and biological drive was a constant source of debate with lecturers when I was studying counselling (they were less interested in biologically-driven behaviour and more interested in ‘considered’ behaviour). It ties with my other interest – genetics.I think it’s in grief where that interface is commonly exposed (just ask an elephant).

      On a personal level, I’m very okay with death. I can talk about it, I can sit with it, I can read about it. I have very good self-care strategies in place. I have found my niche working in palliative care and in grief/ bereavement counselling. Although, it sure does clear a room at a party when people ask what I do (usually the people that leave have some stuff they haven’t worked through… the people who ask me questions are okay thinking about death).

      • I was initially worried you were attempting to deal with something but I understand now it’s what you do. I have almost no experience of death, bar one niece killed by a drunk driver, everyone in my family dies of old age, at more or less the right time. What happens when it gets closer, I’m a bit nervous about finding out.

      • In the business, we call dying naturally at an old age, a ‘good death’. I always say that when my time comes, I want to be very alive one day and very dead the next – this is because I’ve come to the conclusion that dementia is the cruellest of diseases.

        The way your family lost your niece is horrific. I hope you have all found your way with it (I say ‘with’ rather than ‘through’ because, contrary to popular belief, grief doesn’t ‘go away’).

        A heads-up Bill, I have reviews of FOUR grief memoirs on the way (it’s nonfiction November!) – you might want to skip over them, they’re all very sad stories.

  2. I’ve read the Klebold, which is very gripping and well thought through. Columbine was one of the landmark world events of my teen years and had a big effect on me. It’s just so depressing that America has allowed so many school shootings to take place since.

    Samuel and Sandberg were ones I skimmed — something I tend to do if I don’t find the author’s voice or style very compelling but am interested in the story.

    I’ll look out for your upcoming grief memoir reviews; it’ll be interesting to see if they’re ones I’m familiar with.

  3. The Klebold is a brave book to write – I’m sure she’s aware people will be looking to blame her, and she probably blames herself too. And she has to deal with that on top of losing her child, its sounds impossible to manage.

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