EXPLOSIONS OF JOY by Paul  Yin

EXPLOSIONS OF JOY

A Memoir of the Grief Counselor for Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A grief counselor reflects on his life leading up to his involvement with the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in this memoir.

Yin rose to prominence as the grief counselor to the families of the victims of Flight 370, which disappeared en route to Beijing on March 8, 2014, in what remains one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time. He became the face of the victims’ families, speaking with international media outlets and advocating on their behalf. What in Yin’s life prepared him for this moment of crisis? With this book, he details his unusual life story. A star student in China, he came to the United States at age 16 to attend college, initially working as a motel custodian and living out of a literal storage closet. He discovered a major that was not taught in Chinese universities at the time: psychology. (“Originally, I found it very confusing. Every professor had a different view of psychology. It seemed they all belonged to a different school of thought!”) Entering the field, Yin got off to a rocky start attempting to counsel his psychology-averse fellow Chinese immigrants. He eventually returned to China, where his work as a counselor placed him at the center of a number of major events, including the SARS outbreak, the Sichuan Earthquake, the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, and the Malaysia Airlines case, where the lack of closure on the part of the devastated families presented particular challenges. The book—written with debut author Kraus—features a bouncy, conversational prose that communicates Yin’s earnestness, no matter the situation: “I noticed an elderly lady sitting on the floor who was crying. I sat down beside her while tears began rolling in single streams down my cheeks. I held her hands, and I closed my eyes; she put her head on my shoulder and started crying louder.” Yin is an idiosyncratic character, informed as much by Christian teachings and an inherent cheeriness as he is by Western psychology. The volume is not as polished as readers might like, but it offers a unique glimpse into the role of a grief counselor in various high-profile public tragedies.

A sincere account that examines a man who likes to help.

Pub Date: March 21st, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-692-06573-0
Page count: 202pp
Publisher: Kraus House Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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