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A Grief Observed Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 28, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
I rated this book 4 stars because it's difficult. It's not difficult to read, it doesn't contain long arguments or technical language. The content is hard for those in the throws of grief. And yet it is somehow comforting to know that you're not alone, the feelings that you feel aren't the signs of insanity. I remember several times thinking I was going insane, that I'd finally lost it...only to read those exact thoughts from Lewis' journal.
Lewis' experience with grief was different from mine, too. I suppose everyone's is different in some way. Lewis is angry with God, and he struggles with his faith. He explains that it wasn't that he was in danger of losing his belief in God, but that he "was in danger of coming to believe such terrible things about him." You may identify with Lewis' words, and I truly believe you'll find comfort in this book.
If I may, I would like to recommend another book for those who suffer and those in ministry to the suffering, as well. Nicholas Wolterstorff's LAMENT FOR A SON captures the intimate details of grief, and in many ways I identified more with Wolterstorff than I did with Lewis.
For those who've lost, this book is a difficult and yet rewarding right of passage. You travel down the narrow path, on hallowed ground. You make a journey that those who haven't made cannot speak of, and you can find comfort in the experience of those who travel with you.Read more ›
In the first pages of the book, he tells of going to God, seeking relief from the agony he feels in his heart over the fresh loss of his beloved wife, Helen Joy, only to find - the door slammed and the sound of the door being bolted and doubled bolted from the inside.
He rails against God and his faith is stirred to its core.
In the end, he finds his way back to God, but it is not an easy journey or a primrose path.
For all of Lewis' intellectual reasonings and scholarly attainments, I find "A Grief Observed" to be his best work because it comes from the very heart of a man seeking to find the answers to life's hardest questions. It is not a philosophical insight or an intellectual wrangling, but a spirit-filled work that lays bare the heart of a man who loved his wife completely.
This is an important book. Read it. You'll be changed.
In contrast to many works, this book doesn't try to simplify grief, justify it, or dance around the issue with pat observations or cheery reminders. Instead, it dares to question those very tactics. Lewis allows himself to feel a broad range of emotions, including doubt and great despair. I love this quality in Lewis: he is one of the few Chrisitian writers who is brutally honest about his fears and anger. His writings allow that God is big enough to handle our toughest questions.
This little book is full of images and ideas that will stay with you long after you've finished it. Lewis takes feelings that you can't quite pinpoint and eloquently puts them into words. As I read the book, I kept thinking to myself "Yes, THAT'S what I feel too!" Misery does love company, and Lewis is excellent company.
As usual, Lewis is full of astute observations and points to ponder, but don't expect a bunch of clean and pretty answers. At the end, his grief is still very much a work in progress, which is definitely how it has been in my life....a journey.
"A Grief Observed" is about Lewis' crisis of faith following the death of his wife, poet Joy Davidman, whom he wed in the final decade of his life, well aware she was dying of cancer. Their romance and the tragedy that befell them was later dramatized in the play "Shadowlands," and the subsequent film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
It's easy to see why Lewis, a famous Christian apologist who also wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Screwtape Letters," first published "A Grief Observed" under the pseudonym of N.W. Clark. The brutally honest reactions to tragedy and its effect on his definition of God would have shocked his faithful readers and might have tarnished his reputation. We are taught to love God and accept that He loves us. To question that thesis, or to express anger at God or to doubt his character, might be construed as blasphemy.
Lewis writes that grief feels much like fear at times. "Meanwhile, where is God?" he asks. God is present, or seems to be, when all is well. "But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away."
Lewis does not doubt God's existence, but wonders if the Supreme Being is not what He has claimed to be.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is what I am sure is redundant praise for a superlative help for those who grieve a traumatic loss. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Jeremy
I recently lost a daughter; I did not understand my reactions to "grief"; I read several notable authors who had written on grief that did not whet my curiosity! Read morePublished 5 days ago by J. Mason
This an incredible book to give to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one. So beautifully written.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
After loosing my wife, brother, Father and Mother; three heart attacks and Colon cancer: I can empathize with the grief others encounter. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Daniel
excellent, I purcahsed 2 copies for family memeber during the grief period of the loss of my momPublished 1 month ago by joyce hawkins
Very honest description of grief following the death of the beloved. Very thought-provoking. Very touching. It is a book not to be missed.Published 1 month ago by Pang Hon Wah