cover image The Grief Handbook: A Guide Through the Worst Days of Your Life

The Grief Handbook: A Guide Through the Worst Days of Your Life

Bridget McNulty. Watkins, $16.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-786-78534-3

Novelist McNulty (Strange Nervous Laughter) delivers a comforting workbook of exercises intended to help one cope with grief. The volume is primarily meant to be used during the first few months after someone dies, when the “fog of bereavement” is at its heaviest. The author gently guides the reader from the early days to the beginnings of getting back to normal, keeping her advice simple and consistently reminding readers that the pain will be temporary. McNulty recommends treating oneself gently, concentrating on moving one’s body, and never questioning the validity of feelings. Helpful explanatory sections cover PTSD and “complicated grief” characterized by an avoidance of triggers and the inability to be distracted, and are supplemented by reminders about what to do while grieving, such as walking, eating regularly, and getting enough sleep. Journaling exercises encourage reflection, such as reframing a loved one’s death as a story of love rather than a story of loss, or cataloging “the things I don’t want to forget.” While readers will find some of the advice pat, McNulty convinces with an empathetic perspective that is both comforting and motivating. This simple yet thoughtful companion will aid those grieving for a lost loved one. (July)