Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review of "I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye" by Brook Noel and Pamela Blair

I've struggled for months with what appeared to be a mid-life crisis. In researching how to get through it, I tracked the source down to delayed grief. I lost my brother in 1995 and my dad in 2000 in very similar auto accidents. I don't think I ever grieved them properly and it surfaced in my forties. This book is one of the ones I found to address my particular situation.

This is a well written guidebook to carry anyone through the experience of losing a close loved one suddenly. It contains sections dealing with specific losses such as: a spouse or partner, a sibling, suicide, mass death (such as terrorism), fallen heroes, and others. Each section is thoughtful and helpful. It also has a wonderful portion of the book carrying the reader step by step through the immediate aftermath of sudden death. The back couple chapters are dealing with additional resources and activities to help with grief work.

The authors of this book have both dealt with sudden death themselves. Part of what I found most useful was reading the sections they wrote about their personal situations. I'm still working on the back exercises. I think that will take a while. I wish I'd had this book in 1995 when I lost my brother. Even though my grief was delayed by decades, I am still finding it helpful. Grief is a very individual experience that nobody except the person inside your head will ever understand. These authors have written a resource to help you find your way through that deep, dark forest into the light again. I recommend it to anyone who's experienced a sudden death. I'll keep my copy when I'm finished to hand on to the first person I know who needs it. It helps.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of "Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat" by Robert Peter Thompson

In "Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat", Robert Peter Thompson has given us a glimpse of what the war looked like through his eyes. It is very authentic. This book reads much like sitting and hearing Mr. Thompson tell his story. The stream of consciousness style lends itself well to the confusion of war. His conversational writing is pleasant. It's like sitting in a bar and listening to an old friend relate his memories. At times, I became a little lost but I'd keep reading. Then I'd say to myself,"That was well done!" I especially liked the little updates at end of some of the chapters.

I enjoyed this book. It's good to find more Vietnam veterans telling their personal stories. Our history is made up of millions of regular people. Real history isn't made by famous generals and presidents. It's made of regular people like Mr. Thompson. Too often, nobody knows about it except the people who were next to them. This book very clearly shows the struggles to mentally survive the war. I'm sure it was cathartic for Mr. Thompson to tell us his story. I thank him for sharing it with all of us.
Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ForeWord Book of the Year Awards

"SAT & BAF!" is now entered in the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. This is the last contest I had planned, and it's another big deal award. It's done by ForeWord Reviews Magazine through the American Library Association. Wish me luck!!
ForeWord Book of the Year