cover image Widowish: A Memoir

Widowish: A Memoir

Melissa Gould. Little A, $24.95 (220p) ISBN 978-1-54201-878-4

Television writer Gould’s gripping debut memoir captures the traumatic experience of suddenly becoming a young widow. Gould and her husband, Joel, were nearly a decade into their marriage when Joel was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Together, the family and doctors established a routine, and Joel continued an active if somewhat modified life: “He rode his bike to work, saw live music. He was living the good life.” But following a family trip to Mexico, an unrelenting fever and a host of symptoms seemingly unrelated to MS required a trip to the hospital. Within days, Joel was on life support and in a coma with little hope of revival, and Gould made the devastating decision to discontinue life support. Wading through immense pain, she recovered using a “healing arsenal” comprising sitting shiva, meditation, and listening to Joel Osteen radio broadcasts. Her narrative is remarkable in how she skillfully dissects the day-to-day minutiae of grief, particularly the strange ways in which surrounding herself with community provided comfort but also reminded her of what she lost: “I looked around. My house was packed. There were so many familiar faces! It made me so happy to see everyone. But I kept looking for the one face that wasn’t there. Joel’s.” Gould brings a unique vulnerability to this memoir that will encourage readers to hold their loved ones closer and celebrate life. (Feb.)