Book Review: “Good Grief”

Good Grief

“Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again” by Theresa Caputo
c.2017, Atria $25.99 / $34.99 Canada 209 pages

Each day feels a little longer than the last. They don’t start out that way; you awaken each morning and, for the first few seconds, everything’s fine.

But then you remember–you’ll always remember–that you’re suffering from a loss and in the new book “Good Grief” by Theresa Caputo, you’ll see how your loved one wants you to move on.

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Ever since she was a young girl, Caputo has been able to “sense and feel Spirit that’s around us every day.” She can, therefore, pass on messages from those who’ve passed–and the dead have a lot to say.

This book is the result of what Spirit has told Caputo.

Spirit, she writes, want everyone to know that “death has ended their lives but shouldn’t end yours.” They have died but they are still with you, and while they absolutely know you’ll grieve, they want you to heal, too.

All you want is to have your old life back but your goal, says Caputo, is to find a “new normal.” To start the process, understand that grieving is different for everyone, and the time it takes is personal. There are no rules and “there are no expectations…”

“Even so,” says Caputo, “the most complicated grief process must include the intention to embrace life again, which is what Spirit considers healing.”

To reach for healing, reach first for your higher power, whether it’s God or another deity. Pay attention for signs or coincidences; both are good indications that your loved one is with you. Learn to self-soothe and meditate. Although it feels impossible, learn to give up guilt and anger by understanding that we all have a “destiny window.” Try to get enough sleep, eat well, and forgive yourself for things that happened in the past, “speak your truth,” face your fears, and get unstuck. Move forward and finally, says Caputo, learn to generate “an incredible amount of positive energy” through gratitude. It “helps you embrace life every day.”

Let’s start here: It’s astonishingly easy to scoff at what’s inside “Good Grief,” but scoffing likely means you don’t need its information. Skeptics, please quietly put this book back on the shelf. It’s not for you.

Instead, the famous Long Island medium filled her book with words of companionship and hope, which goes a long way to comfort those who are in the throes of grief and are nearly paralyzed by it. Now, granted, what she says could probably be found in nearly every survivor’s self-help book, but hers mixes religion and new-age with exercises and get-through advice, in a tone that’s extremely gentle for those who need a very light touch. Caputo admits she’s not a therapist, but that quiet literary hand-holding may be all some readers truly need.

While this book somewhat lacks heavily-detailed client stories and may therefore seem like a quick read for fans, it’s good but it isn’t really for them. Instead, “Good Grief” has a target: for the newly-bereaved, it’s worth spending a little more time.