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Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying: Embracing Life After Loss Paperback – January 11, 2011
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"Serendipitously, I was asked to review Allen Klein's book Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying directly following my mother's passing. Reading this book has been a gift to me during this difficult transition. As the sting of loss begins to wane, the words in this wonderful book continue to resonate in my heart and in my healing. This book does the impossible--it turns the dark into something beautiful. This is a moving, provocative book about life, death, and most importantly, perspective."
--Joseph J. Luciani, author of Self-Coaching: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety & Depression
"Klein has written a poignant and easily readable guide to the grieving process based on his personal and professional experiences. Grieving people will find some solace and professionals will gain insight from someone who has been on both sides of grieving and helping the bereaved."
--Stephen R. Connor, author of Hospice and Palliative Care: The Essential Guide
"Like a dear friend, this beautiful book takes us by the hand and walks us through the stages of loss and recovery. Allen Klein has inspired us all to define ourselves, not by our grief, but by our joy." ----Susan Sparks, Pastor and author of Laugh Your Way to Grace
"Allen Klein's new book, Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying, is touching, informative, and heartwarming. Allen's ability to find the perfect quotations over the years adds to the lovely journaling in this treasure. A must for anyone and everyone!" ----Ester Leutenberg, co-author of GriefWork: Healing from Loss
"If life sometimes feels like a bucket full of small dark stones, Allen Klein's insights are like bright pennies waiting to be found. This collection of brief sermons on grief and recovery can help turn fear into forgiveness, wounds into wisdom, and losses into laughter." -- --Stephen Kiernan, author of Last Rights
"Like many a good self-help book, "Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying" contains a lot of common sense and universal truths.
Subtitled "Embracing Life After Loss," the compact book by Allen Klein, a San Francisco-based motivational speaker and former director of the Life-Death Transitions Institute in San Francisco, is filled with aphorisms, anecdotes and advice about dealing with the difficulties of going on with life after a loved one has died.
While there's nothing terribly groundbreaking about the book's main theme, pegged to the power of positive thinking -- both it and a 2011 Pocket Pal calendar contain inspirational quotes from Winston Churchill, Bill Cosby, Mahatma Ghandi and Charles Schulz -- it nonetheless offers wisdom and comforting thoughts in an easy-to-read format for those facing dramatic changes in their lives.
The book is divided into five sections that deal with steps in the grieving process: "Losing," "Learning," "Letting Go," "Living" and "Laughing."
Each part has a series of short entries, with a title, quote and commentary, sometimes personal, elaborating on the quote's concept.
Klein gently repeats simple but powerful things to remember for those confronting pain and seemingly impossible obstacles: people are individuals who have different needs and ways to grieve, time will mitigate overwhelming despair, change is inevitable, even small steps help in overcoming feelings of emptiness, indulging in simple pleasures like a cup of tea is therapeutic, helping others and accepting help from others lead to positive results, and that smiling and laughter are as good as what the doctor prescribes.
Klein, now in his 70s, wrote the book from personal as well as professional experience. His wife died at 34, leaving him with their 10-year-old daughter and at a crossroads in life. He left a silk-screening business he co-owned and went on to get a master's degree along with a career as a public speaker and author of many books on the topic of the healing power of laughter.
While Klein's book isn't particularly funny and might benefit from a few jokes to evoke those laughs he advocates so much (perhaps he is wise in assuming that his audience's sense of humor is different from his own), it nonetheless is packed with insight and compassion.
Meant to be read in short sessions to provide a boost of energy, the book won't take away the pain of its readers' losses, nor will all of its insights appeal to all readers. As Allen suggests in the forward, readers ought to use what they need and ignore the rest. Like much of the material in the book, it's good advice not just for those experiencing profound loss, but for everyone." --Leslie Katz, Arts Editor, The San Francisco Examiner
"If life sometimes feels like a bucket full of small dark stones, Allen Klein's insights are like bright pennies waiting to be found. This collection of brief sermons on grief and recovery can help turn fear into forgiveness, wounds into wisdom, and losses into laughter." ----Stephen Kiernan, author of Last Rights
About the Author
Comedian Jerry Lewis has said that Allen Klein is "a noble and vital force watching over the human condition." Klein is an award-winning professional speaker and best-selling author of 17 books, including The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, Change Your Life!: A Little Book of Big Ideas, Inspiration for a Lifetime, and, Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying. Klein is also a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, a Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association, a Toastmaster's Communication and Leadership Award, and, a New York City Hunter College Hall of Fame honoree.
Top customer reviews
I especially appreciate:
* The lay-out, the 5 chapters, the content
* Lots of good quotes and author's commentaries
* Much food for thought, and phrases that offer encouragement
I also appreciated observations about change, hope, finding the positive in the negative, and being open to what's new.
I cast my vote for a winner!
His book is just another "how to grieve" book and I wish I could get my money back.
As an Literature major I've had to read alot of books so maybe its time I write my own instead of read everyone else's crap.
This book is written in very short, concise chapters each beginning with a related quote and followed by thoughts, reflections, tips, or suggestions. It is easy to read, does not preach at the reader, and offers help on both the emotional level as well as some practical advice for anyone grieving any kind of loss. It is just the kind of book one should present to a grieving friend even months after their initial loss. It is a book that you would pick up from time to time and read a chapter just to remember that you are not alone and that grieving is a process with it's own timeline.
When one suffers a loss (regardless of the type of loss) we do not eventually "get over it and go on with our lives", but rather we become a changed/different self. This book helps the reader to see and understand that process.
Yet like Allen and the death of his wife our lives have not become what we hoped all the time.
Allen has written a very comfortable in a friendly easy tone book filled with excellent tips, suggestions, techniques, methods for helping people more successfully deal with loss of loved ones and the various stages of grief that follow over weeks, months, years, sometimes decades.
The main premises that Allen weaves throughout the book are based upon his own personal experience with loss, the knowledge and skills he has gained through years of study and reading and living with loss.
If you have lost someone important to you or you may lose someone close to you, your spouse, a child, a parent, a brother or sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent or cousin or a friend or colleague this book will help you or prepare you for accepting the loss and dealing with the following grieve.
Remember as Allen says in many ways throughout the book: We never completely lose anyone only physically. Our minds and hearts will always be filled with memories, stories, images, feelings of those who have passed away.