Essex Books Presents Shelf Awareness: Life After Loss

The year following my father's death, I bought book after book in search of the one that would tell me what to do. After all, I was accustomed to turning to books for everything. Surely there would be one that spoke to my experience.

Ultimately, I learned that such a book did not exist. No one will traverse the exact same path as you after the death of a loved one, full stop. But there is hope and understanding, empathy and wisdom to be found, hidden here and there in the lines of this volume and that one.

Naturally, I was curious about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, just published by Knopf. Admittedly, I had not been one of the millions who'd heeded the call to Lean In. But the woman's very public loss (the sudden death of her husband while the two vacationed in Mexico) piqued my interest. Partnering with author and psychologist Adam Grant, Strandberg goes beyond grief to examine the role resiliency plays in any measure of adversity.

This is no flowery meditation on loss. Recovery requires work. Strandberg lays bare her innermost thoughts (could her children have a chance at being well-adjusted; how would her job evolve in light of her loss; what was dating, and did she even want to know?) while Grant and a host of other experts offer up practical advice on developing the resiliency necessary not only to see your way clear of unfathomable upset, but even grow and help others who find themselves in "the void," that "vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe." Science-y, insightful and straightforward, Strandberg's take is worth your time.

Written by Stefanie Hargreaves, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

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