Tell Me the Truth About Loss by Niamh Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick’s memoir chronicles her lived experience of grief after her sister’s death in a helicopter accident, as well as the grief associated with the end of her marriage.
Although this book didn’t teach me anything new about grief, it’s one I would recommend to anyone recently bereaved. Fitzpatrick normalizes many aspects of grief, and goes into detail about the cognitive, social, and behavioural impacts. In particular, she delves into the challenge of finding happiness again, noting that ‘…we don’t move on, but we go on.’
I have an awareness that I can carry the sadness and at the same time, live my life.
The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham
Such a tricky book to assess! There’s so much about this book that would have benefited from a more considered edit. But, as it was, I thought the sections of dialogue and scenes between school friends were excellent – realistic, attention grabbing, evocative. In contrast, the stream-of-consciousness sections were over-written, and exactly what teenagers write when they are trying to sound mature in journals that aren’t intended to be read. The overall result is disappointingly uneven. That said, I’d read Pham in the future.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
This story took me by surprise. I was expecting an examination of cultures, and the difficulties in finding one’s place in a foreign country. What I didn’t expect, and very much enjoyed, was the parallel ‘clash’ – that of science versus religious faith. The central character, Gifty, questions her faith after the death of her brother, Nana, to drugs. In doing so, it exposes the genuineness of peoples’ relationships with her family.
This book is the sequel to Homegoing – I haven’t read Homegoing yet (it’s in the stack), but know that Transcendent Kingdom stands alone.