Fiction and non-fiction books that navigate the roller coaster of grief


For those days when grief gets too overwhelming, here are some must-have titles that can help bring comfort

Manila, Philippines – Books have always been the perfect hiding place for readers looking for a well-deserved break from the chaos of life. Immersing yourself in the fun, action-packed worlds of the characters on these pages is an easy escape when life gets too tough.

But what if these characters were also going through one of the toughest times in their lives – say, the death of a loved one?

Dealing with a loss is never so easy. It’s certainly not a linear process either; some days you think you’ve already healed completely, but other days the wounds are still painfully fresh.

Literature brings healing to life, especially for those who grieve in isolation. It articulates a deep celebration of the lives of those we have lost while acknowledging that grief is an entirely human experience.

For readers struggling to come to terms with the death of a loved one, check out this list of fiction and non-fiction books for a warm hug.

The two lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

“The human brain is wired to deal with grief. He knows that even if we fall into places of unfathomable darkness, there will be light again, and if we keep going in a brave straight line, no matter how slowly, we will find our way back.

Lydia Bird has just lost her fiancé, Freddie, in a car accident on her birthday. Still overwhelmed by shock and immense pain, she spends her days locked in her room and ends up imagining in her sleep a life where the accident never happened. This coping mechanism makes Lydia’s waking life without Freddie completely miserable. Silver’s gripping novel tells the story of Lydia’s quest to reconnect with the outside world despite her subtle reminders of Freddie and overcome her guilt for trying to move on.

playlist for the dead by Michelle Falkoff

“I’ll never understand how hurt, confused and desperate he must have felt to decide it wasn’t worth trying, and I wasn’t mad at him for doing it anymore.”

playlist for the dead is a reading for young adults that describes what it feels like to lose a close friend to suicide. Sam – whose best friend, Hayden, committed suicide – blames himself for Hayden’s sudden passing. However, he discovers that Hayden left him a short suicide note along with a playlist of 27 songs that he must listen to to understand that Hayden’s death was never his fault.

just children by Patti Smith

“The separation has always been heartbreaking. I felt haunted by the idea that if I stayed with him, he would live. Yet I also struggled with a growing sense of resignation.

In these gripping memoirs, singer-songwriter Patti Smith tells her own coming-of-age story alongside her lover-turned-close friend and artistic muse Robert Mapplethorpe. As young people in their twenties just trying to survive the hustle and bustle of New York, Smith and Mapplethorpe had become inseparable. As Smith alludes to her death from the first line of the book, it offers readers a captivating insight into her fun and adventurous life with Mapplethorpe – commemorating her strong presence without giving up the turbulent details of their time together.

Dancing at the pity party by Tyler Feder

“The good (?) thing about a parent dying of cancer is that once they die they can never die again. The pain of losing my mother would never go away, but the pain of seeing her sick was OVER.

In this graphic memory guide to dealing with the bereaved, Tyler Feder humorously recalls the whims of his late mother and the feeling of carrying on in her absence. Feder balances coming to terms with the loss through comedy and confessing his whirlwind of emotions while coming to terms with his mother’s death, including the awkwardness of dealing with the usual “Are you okay?” question from worried parents that never seems to be answered.

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

“What am I going to do without you? ” You will understand. You are no longer alone. »

Cursed with the ability to see spirits, Sabrina and her mother have always served as liaisons for deranged ghosts with unfinished business in their small Wisconsin town. Her longtime ghostly friend, Molly, has appeared by her side since she can remember – usually emerging whenever Sabrina is having trouble with the boys.

Unbeknownst to Sabrina, Molly’s inability to cross into the world of the living was caused by her own dark romantic dilemma. Along with her new love Ray, Sabrina embarks on a journey to help Molly find closure and finally find peace, even if it means losing her best friend. –

Juno Reyes is a Rappler trainee.


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