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Showing 1-10 of 10 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on July 24, 2014
Having read all the unfavorable (one-star) reviews, I continue to find most of the book persuasive and illuminating, not to mention consistent with my experience of several losses in my immediate family.

I would agree that it's hard to judge the quality of the underlying studies Bonanno cites without reading them, but the quality of his discussion suggests that he knows what he's talking about. By contrast, most of the one-star reviews don't seem to reflect thoughtful consideration of what the book actually says - and doesn't say - much less to address actual scientific or methodological issues as opposed to giving emotional - or perhaps even vested-interest - reactions to misperceptions or distortions of what Bonanno is saying. Or so it seems to me.

For a more extensive and substantive response to the negative reviews, and in particular to vigorous assertions made by a "grief counselor and critical incident stress management responder," I recommend the five-star review by Anthony Mancini, one of Bonanno's collaborators.
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on November 16, 2013
Everyone experiences the losses of important people in their world. Because of this truth, when one seeks the help of a Mental Health professional, one of the major areas of evaluation during intake is to assess the level of grief each individual. The language of “Grief Work” or the “Work of Mourning” is deeply ingrained the nomenclature of counseling profession, accepted as a matter-of-course as a result of the “research” of grief and its effects. Grief is thought to be of such importance that a mentor once tutored me that, in regards to treating individuals, “any session that is held without an awareness of the (client’s) grief is incomplete.” Dr. Bonano addresses this issue, using his extensive, original research and the work of other scientists, in this easily comprehended, documented tome.
The author credit’s Sigmund Freud with the original idea of “the Work of Mourning” but also indicates that this is one of his less developed concepts. As has become true with many of his concepts, Freud’s grief ideas became codified and the field of “Grief Work” was born. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her work with the terminally ill, developed “the stages” an individual experienced as they faced their nearing death. Those stages (the term “stages” lends an inaccurate understanding of the experience) were broadened to include everyone facing any (and all) moments of grief. Dr. Bonano argues the data indicates the broad application of Dr. Kubler-Ross’ findings is misguided, as grief is universal, personal, fluid and cannot be limited to a step-by-step event that can “completed.” Grief will be intense at points but those moments will be relatively brief for the majority of those experiencing bereavement. For the 15% of the population whose bereavement does become entrenched, Dr. Bonano states, what is felt is close to a Post-Traumatic Stress event caused by the loss. Eventually, with VERY limited exceptions, those who grieve or are bereaved will re-engage with life. Often, this reconnecting occurs within hours of the loss. Grief does not have to be, nor is it normally, debilitating or routine.
Within the last seven months, I have faced the deaths of: an uncle, four friends, and the spouse of a friend; of those six deaths, only one, my uncle, was expected. In my work, I sit with people who are actively grieving on a regular basis. What Dr. Bonano writes in this relatively slim volume rings with deep truths of my encounter. I have both experienced and seen in my clients the responses indicated by the author’s research.
The information cited by Dr. Bonano is sourced in a broad spectrum of experience, time, culture and history. His discussion of the bereavement practices in Asia is intriguing; reading it lent perspective to how my culture responds to bereavement, specifically funerals. The term “comfort food” had to have originated in an attempt to describe what is provided at a Southern Funeral. The Chinese, according to this book, burn joss paper representations of the things “needed” by the departed in their life beyond this one, we Southerners cry ourselves silly then eat ourselves into a near coma. Both responses have the same goal, to remember the departed and restore the living to life.
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on April 4, 2013
Bonanno is clearly an academic and, as such, provides a great deal of credibility to his premise that, in the face of loss, we are more resilient than we think we are or can be. I only gave it four stars because as someone in the middle of grieving such a loss, the first couple of chapters seemed a bit dismissive of the pain I've been trying to manage the last few months. I'm glad I continued reading, however, because he redeems himself in later chapters and what he has to offer provides a great deal of hope for those of us mourning the loss of a loved one and wondering how life can ever be once again joyful in their absence. I was grateful to the author when I finished this read.
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on November 28, 2012
This book will tell you that you are not alone in your grief and may even be more resiient than you think. There are also suggestion for those who seem to grieve too long or too much. There is much good comfort here
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on September 21, 2011
I get many books from secondary sources (due to the nature of my work) and this was one of them. The subject matter intrigued me at first and a careful reading allowed me to compare earlier works (by Kubler Ross) on the subject that I had read many years ago. Our understanding has improved due to the large data base accumulated over the past 20 years or so. He certainly does not claim finality, as the subject overlaps not just science but culture as well. It is also not one of absolutes or judgments, but rather a tour of this field. It is very accessible to a non specialist who is sometimes inundated with vague terms, jargon and "excessive counselling" even by well meaning professionals. Human grief and loss is universal; a major surgical intervention or illness can be included in that category not just the loss of a loved one. This is intuitively obvious as humans would not be around today if grief was so debilitating. The key then is in the details that (the body of work that is cited) this book expands in lucid terms. When consumers understand this ongoing research, the benefits of tailored and optimal intervention becomes apparent. In my own area of medical research, we constantly try to get optimal levels of surgical or medical intervention based on individual needs rather than a simplistic average need.

Disclosure: I am a Medical Researcher with experience in conducting clinical trials of drugs in both Immunology and Oncology. I have never been involved in psychology or psychiatry research.
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on November 30, 2014
Good book and explains how people are resilient. Written from a perspective of clinical studies. Learned quite a bit from the book including how the 5 stages people grieving don't actually go through and why.
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on March 4, 2014
I am suffering great sadness this book was recommended to me. It helps to understand grief which makes you more able to cope with loss.
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on April 7, 2014
Good book. I appreciated the review of recent empirical studies by the author and others, but I would like to know more about the methodologies and statistical results. I finally found the notes and complete citations. This book was very readable, informative and helpful.
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on March 3, 2016
Totally identified with this book...glad to know that others we are considered resilient and not uncaring!
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on March 10, 2016
A worthwhile discussion of approaches to treatment of grief.
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