Normal Broken: The Grief Companion for When It’s Time To Heal but You’re Not Sure You Want To

BenBella. Nov. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9781637743829. pap. $19.95. SELF-HELP
The subtitle of this book by Inchstones blogger Cervantes (host of CURE Epilepsy’s Seizing Life podcast) speaks volumes for anyone who has experienced the liminal state of wanting to heal yet not feeling ready. There’s so much societal pressure placed on people to live in clear, linear ways, when—as Cervantes so compassionately explains—the heart does not follow a straight path from hurting to healing. She writes with a combination of poetic devices and vernacular directness as she shares her own circuitous process of grieving for her daughter Adelaide, who died in 2019 just before turning four. Intensely personal and written from the perspective of one whose tragedies and triumphs seem almost epic in scale, this book doesn’t ever minimize the grief or grit of others.
VERDICT An honest, self-reflective book, peppered with journaling prompts and suggestions for readers to help process grief. Cervantes also acknowledges that no single book or self-help toolkit can do away with real human loss; this in itself is enough to make her book an essential work for anyone impacted by grief.
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