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The Cure for Grief: A Novel Hardcover – August 5, 2008

42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The only girl in the strong, loving Bronstein family, nine-year-old Ruby anchors this adept debut from Hermann. Ruby has always felt both admiration for and rejected by her three charismatic older brothers; she is similarly intrigued by her Holocaust survivor father, whose observance of Jewish customs persists despite his professed loss of faith. Ruby's own sense of faith, family and self will be sorely tested over the next 10-plus years: her oldest brother Abe's schizophrenic break, a truly frightening event to 10-year-old Ruby, is but the first in a series of crises. The well-developed chapters have a tendency to read like individual stories, but Hermann keeps the novel's themes of loss and resiliency constant. Foreshadowing and symbolism get heavy, but what could have become a litany of family pain is tempered, in Hermann's eminently capable narrative, by young Ruby's concurrent journey toward self-discovery. (Aug.)
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Review

"The Cure for Grief is a searingly beautiful, stunning debut, saturated in the lyricism of loss and mourning yet rooted in the everyday. The book's sadness is irradiated by a wild hope as the characters take their places among the living; we are drawn in by the force of their sorrow but elevated by their rich and complex attachments to each other, the past, the future, and their own inner lives." -- Mary Gordon, author of Circling My Mother

"Written in measured, splendid prose, Nellie Hermann's debut novel is a courageous gift to readers. Far more than a coming-of-age story, The Cure for Grief is both vivid in its immediacy and poignant in its timelessness." -- Howard Norman, author of Devotion

"The Cure for Grief is a profound and thrilling achievement -- an exemplar of the reason books should be written and read. Nellie Hermann is wise beyond her years, though to say this is to miss the point -- that all great artists float beyond age and outside of time. The Cure for Grief is a coming-of-age story that reaches far beyond its subject; it shimmers with clarity and grace, fulfilling the deepest of literature's promises -- drawing us into a riveting world, punching us with emotion, revealing the most secret truths of the soul. Her vision is that of the seer, whose illuminating beam might help the reader learn how better to live." -- Shira Nayman, author of Awake in the Dark

"Stunning. A subtle, elegiac coming-of-age novel about catastrophe, grief and the persistence of everyday life. A gorgeously readable meditation on mourning and survival. Hermann is a young author to watch." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416568239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416568230
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,279,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nellie Hermann was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and is a graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at Columbia University. She teaches creative writing at Columbia University and has taught and lectured widely on the use of creativity in nontraditional contexts. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By I. Fischer on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Hermann's book tells the story of a young girl, Ruby, who suffers immense family losses as she grows up. The first half of the book chronicles these losses and Hermann does an amazing job of capturing the way shock can make terrible moments pass by almost without realizing how awful they are. Hermann lets Ruby lead the reader as she compartmentalizes and endures. In the second half of the book we see Ruby delve into her suffering and deal with her losses. This story offers the reader an opportunity to understand grief and the regeneration of love and emotional presence after loss.
Highly, highly recommended.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Faith Morningstar on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book just a week ago and already three people have consumed it! Who would think that a book dealing with such intense feelings could be a page turner? Who would believe that a woman in her twenties could teach us so much about life experiences few of us have experienced, but many have feared? Thank you, Ms. Hermann, for this simply, but elegantly told coming-of-age story. Thenk you for inviting us into the mind and heart of an extremely sensitive protagonist. Thank you for a fabulous read and a powerful personal growth experience.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Lissy on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Hermann's book is riveting, not only because the events take unexpected and at times heart-wrenching turns, but also because the characters are so richly drawn, so full and alive, that I found myself wanting to spend more time with them. Emotionally vibrant and insightful, this novel is full of real people struggling to make sense of enormous loss while still loving and hoping and living.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on October 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ruby is the youngest child in a Jewish family. She is close to her three older brothers growing up but then a series of tragedies begin to begall her family.

Although this book is well written, I had trouble getting into it. Mostly because I never feel like I got into Ruby--not into her heart. The author tells us she is broken up about the tragedies but I never felt the closeness between her and her brothers. Her father is a holocaust survivor but we know nothing of his exeriences and never get to know him. Same with the mother. It's really hard to care much about all the awful things that happen when I don't really know or care about the characters. This book seems to be a lot of telling but little showing. I would have liked a lot more depth and feeling.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By OrchidSlayer VINE VOICE on October 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a very quiet book. The story of Ruby Bronstein's adolescence covers a number of family tragedies - illnesses and death come in very quick succession. Nothing is told with great drama. She incurs one loss after another while her story is told almost matter of fact. Although I liked this book and enjoyed reading it, I was never compelled to read "just a little more" and had no trouble putting it down and going to sleep. It was an interesting read, a level telling of a tale without the depth of emotion that would have had me reading all night. Although three tragedies happen to Ruby in just a few years, it was almost like a book where nothing happens. Good, but without a hook that left me wanting more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven James on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't know why, but for some reason I truly connected with this book. As many other reviewers have expressed, this book is everything that I am not...dark, depressing and serious. I was glued to it. I think I was hoping for some sort of redemption or ray of light at the end. The tragedies that Ruby Bronstein (and her mother, too) had to endure would have pushed many of us over the edge, but Ruby manages to keep it together for a long, long time until it all comes boiling out. She has accepted her lot in life and best expresses it on page 246 when she says "If there's anything certain about the future, it is that it will hold more loss." Very sad, yet quite telling about the depths one will be reduced to when repeatedly beaten down. The reader can use that frame of mind while reading THE CURE FOR GRIEF, or do as I did and choose Mr. Bronstein's recurring addage: "Life is the highest good, whenever it is possible, choose life." This is one of those books that hit home for me. I loved it at this particular time in my life, however, if I were to read it 5 months from now, or 5 years from now I can't guarantee my feelings would be the same. Overall, this is a well-written novel about a family like yours and mine, that is forced to endure overwhelming tragedy. There are moments of levity interspersed throughout so it's not all doom and gloom. I highly recommend THE CURE FOR GRIEF.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Anderson on October 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a deeply moving story about Ruby Bronstein and her struggle from the age of 10 to deal with loss and grief. She is the youngest child of an upper middle class Jewish family in Massachusets. She is also the only girl with three brothers 5, 8 and 10 years older than her.

Her father is a holocoust survivor and a warm and loving father yet distant with firm strict rules. Her first loss in her family is when her oldest brother becomes mentally ill and never is the same again. In fact, an older Ruby will barely remember him before his mental illness. Soon after this tragedy her father is diagnosed with a brain tumor and within a couple of years he dies.

Her oldest brother, Abe, has been hospitalized for his illness, the next oldest, Aaron, is away at college. Her brother, Nathan, closest to her age and the one she was closest to has just recently left for college. Nathan one day while at home begins to have symptoms that result in his being diagnosed with the same tumor their father had. He ends up in a coma and then finally he as well dies.

Throughout all of these trials Ruby is an adolecesent then teenager trying to live a normal life. Her oldest brother begins to live with her and her mother again, yet, he is still unbalanced and not well at all. Her grief is so bottled up within her she is just going through the motions. She stays in her bedroom most of the time when at home. When at school and with her friends she trys to leave her other world behind her.

This is a deeply moving story with a honest, believable ending to the novel. The losses and sorrow this young girl has to go through in her formidable years is overwhelming. Yet, the power of family and love and faith seem to come through and it was a very satisfying book to read. My heart went out to this family, most especially Ruby. This is worth reading. Remarkable work by this author.
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