Good Grief was another one of those serendipitous judging-a-book-by-its-cover library discoveries I was very happy to have made. In one of Anne Lamott’s books she talks about going to a library during her father’s illness and looking for the funny books about cancer — and getting a strange look. I think you’d get the same response if you looked for the funny books about grief, but Good Grief is a very funny, and also very real, fictional exploration of one young widow’s journey through grief.
Sophie is thirty-six when her husband Ethan dies of cancer, and rather than sliding beatifically through grief as she had imagined doing, Sophie finds her life falling apart as she slides into depression — and then manages to crawl back out and cobble together a new life for herself. What makes the story funny and engaging is Sophie’s voice, which is so strong and true and likable that you really feel for her when, in the depths of her depression, she goes to work at her PR job wearing a bathrobe and bunny slippers — knowing, somehow, that this isn’t the right thing to do, but not sure how to correct the problem
In the later part of the book, when Sophie is rebuilding her new life in a new town, there are a few parts that stretched credibility with coincidences that just seemed too neat, but the story never became fairy-tale-like or ridiculous. It was always an enjoyable read and one that kept me turning pages right to the end.