This book is the kind of book that makes you feel lots of feels. I like to feel lots of feels and I read a lot about grief and loss, so this book was straight up my alley. If you’ve ever grieved, want to support someone who is, or just enjoy really human, feel-y stories, you’re going to love this book.
Modern Loss started as a website, and is still first a foremost a website. Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner started the site when, faced with grief over parent loss, they couldn’t find the resources they wished existed. So, they created it themselves! The website has grown into an amazing resource for anyone facing grief, or looking for ways to help someone in their lives who is grieving.
The book has a couple stories included that are also on the website, but has a bunch of original ones as well. I loved that there are so many stories from so many different people who’ve experienced different losses in different ways. I just found it fascinating to be let into all these people’s’ lives, and into their grief.
The stories in the book are broken up into sections like Secrets, Inheritance, Data, and Identity. Each story you start, you go into not knowing how the overall feeling of it is. Will it make you feel like crying? Laughing? Loving? All of the above?
Here’s a snippet of one that stuck with me:
The thing about having a dead mom is that everyone assumes you miss her most during milestone moments.
“I’m sorry your mom is missing this!” guests shouted at my wedding, as my college roommates swayed arm-in-arm to “Sweet Caroline.” “I wish your mom could meet her,” friend cooed about my newborn daughters while bringing us lasagnas and flowers. And they’re right, of course. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think of all the things I long to share with her.
But the truth is, the real reason I wish she was still here is to discuss the Kardashians with me. Because holy shit, my mom would love the Kardashians.
Overall, this book made me reflect on my own losses, how other people handle loss, and just humanity in general. It’s beautiful and painful and lovely, and I personally loved identifying with much of it. Five stars…all the stars.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book to me in exchange for a fair review.
About Rebecca Soffer
Rebecca Soffer is the cofounder and CEO of Modern Loss. A former producer for the Peabody Award-winning Colbert Report, Rebecca is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of loss and resilience. She is a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism alumna and contributes regularly to books, magazines, and other media. Rebecca lives in New York City and the Berkshires with her husband and two children.
About Gabrielle Birkner
Gabrielle Birkner is the co-founder and executive editor of Modern Loss. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and writes regularly for national newspapers and magazines. A journalist and digital content strategist, she has served as managing editor at JTA, director of digital media at the Forward, and features editor at The New York Sun. Gabrielle lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.