A handbook seeks to help readers survive loss and grow as a result.
The latest nonfiction work from Green (Generation Reinvention, 2010, etc.) centers on an alarming reality for baby boomers: the prevalence of personal loss in their lives. The author alerts readers at the outset that he has lost many important people in his life—grandparents, aunts, uncles, and most tellingly his sister—and these deaths have motivated him to write a book addressing some of the essential questions surrounding the whole experience. Is there value in suffering? Can it make someone stronger? Is there more to existence than the life humans see on Earth? What are the virtues of showing mercy, even to those who seem not to warrant it? What changes occur when a person endures a major loss? What steps can readers take to prepare their own loved ones for their inevitable deaths? This last question is echoed throughout the volume by Green’s frequent invocations of Randy Pausch’s 2008 bestseller, The Last Lecture, in which that author makes exactly this kind of life summation for his children to consult after his death. Green’s work sensitively elaborates on the larger questions raised by Pausch’s book, using end-of-chapter discussion questions to help readers examine their own behavior at key moments. “Each of us is likely to confront at some point in our lives the choice to be merciful or not,” Green writes at one point, following it up with the question: “When you have punished someone in the past, how could the outcome and consequences have been improved through mercy?” These questions, as well as his many citations of modern motivational and spiritual authors, give this guide a very inviting conversational feel, a sense that Green is helping rather than merely lecturing. His reminders to readers to remember their blessings especially when times seem darkest will likely speak directly to those dealing with loss.
A soulful exploration of the way humans love and how they cope with death.