Good Grief (Review)

Labels: A Lighter Touch

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Good Grief
Lolly Winston, 2004
342 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
April 2009
Why would I place the story of a young woman struggling to cope with her husband's death under "A Lighter Touch?" Because even while tracing the stages of grief, this book does so with sweetness and humor.

Funny, self-deprecating, and sly, Sophie Stanton makes us laugh as she drags herself out of the depths and begins to rebuild her life. Here she is attending a group counseling session for grieving survivors:

Dr. Ruppert thinks the group will help me move from denial to anger to bargaining to depression to acceptance to hope to lingerie to housewares to giftwrap. But it seems the elevator is stuck.

But the elevator gets unstuck as Sophie leaves Silicon Valley and heads to Ashland, Washington. After struggling as a waitress, she eventually opens her own bakery. Along the way, she meets a handsome man (No! Really?), mentors a rebellious 13-year-old, and creates a family out of whole cloth. Love, family, career—voila! Sophie gets it all.

Though hardly a feminist tract, Grief answers Freud's famous question—what do women want?—in a warm, engaging manner. Unfortunately, Winston loses her punch toward the end: she has trouble maintaining the witty edge of the early sections, and the love story is, like, totally Seventeen magazine-ish.

Still, I like Winton's breezy style and her quirky characters. This is a delightful read that manages to affirm the very thing women want—a life of their own choice.

See our Reading Guide for Good Grief.

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