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My Grief Handbook : Why Grief Hurts and How to Cope

"Sensible and sensitive, this is an invaluable handbook for bereaved teenagers and those wishing to support them"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Truthfully, this is a book nobody wants to have to read, borrow or buy, but in the hardest of times it will be a valuable guide for young people who have experienced the death of a loved one.

It is co-authored by Olivia, who is described as an expert by experience, and full of examples from fictional young people, who are the culmination of experiences from real young people who have been supported by UK Trauma Council. These voices give the book a sense of authenticity, talking directly to the young reader on their level.

As we would expect from a handbook, there are plenty of activities and tasks that will help examine, consider and process individuals' grief. A number of these pages have downloadable links, which will enable the reader to complete and return to the activities, as and when they want to.

The book starts by talking frankly about different types and levels of grief. All types of grief are shown to be valid, with none treated as more important than others. We are then introduced to several academic studies and theories about grief - including dual process theory, tasks of mourning, growing around your grief, and the upward spiral of grief. These are all explained at a perfect level to be interesting, without bogging the reader down in unnecessary theory. What I particularly appreciated is that the theories and studies are not placed in competition against each other, instead each is briefly and simply introduced. This approach offers the reader numerous perspectives and tools that may be helpful or resonate with them.

Importantly, the authors never promise to eradicate the heavy emotions of grief, but they do provide methods to learn to deal with and manage them. Likewise, they are realistic in their approach to human relationships, including a chapter on grieving for someone you had a difficult or distant relationship with, and how that grief is still very real. Similarly, traumatic deaths and deaths by suicide are both considered with sensitivity and honesty.

Whilst no book could ever provide an precise roadmap to tell you exactly how to handle the death of a loved one or specifically what to do and when, this book is an incredibly useful tool to help navigate and negotiate the journey. This includes practical tips on how to deal with family differences in grieving, and the possible changes that death might bring. It also considers the subject of anniversaries, and how there is no expiration date on grief. The final chapter provides signposting to specialist help and support, for those who feel they might need it.

This is a book I wish I'd had as a teen, and one I will definitely be giving to others in the future.

My Grief Handbook is available to buy through Jessica Kingsley at £12.99

Amy McKay

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