Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review: Good Grief by Lolly Winston

Several years ago as I struggled to become a published writer a good friend recommended that I read a new book. So I went out and bought it. It wasn’t the usual book that would attract me. The cover was of a woman wearing bunny slippers and the title was Good Grief. But knowing that my friend knew me and what I like, I opened the book and started reading. I was pulled in by the first paragraph. See what you think.

“How can I be a widow? Widows wear horn-rimmed glasses and cardigan sweaters that smell like mothballs and have crepe-paper skin and names like Gladys or Midge and meet with their other widow friends once a week to play pinochle. I’m only thirty-six. I just got used to the idea of being married, only test-drove the words my husband for three years: My husband and I, my husband and I ... after all that time being single!”

Right away I liked the protagonist, though she was in pain grieving the death of her husband, her personality came through and I knew this was a person I wanted to know better.

Here’s a quote from the book flap.

“The funny thing about rock bottom is there’s stuff underneath it. You think, This is it. I’m at the bottom now. It’s all uphill from here! Then you discover the escalator goes down one more floor to another level of bargain basement junk.”

See what I mean?
Now take a look at the synopsis on the book flap.

In an age in which women are expected to be high achievers, thirty-six-year-old Sophie Stanton desperately wants to be a good widow—a graceful, composed, Jackie Kennedy kind of widow. Alas, Sophie is more of a Jack Daniels kind. Self-medicating with cartons of ice cream for breakfast, breaking down in the produce section at the super-market, showing up to work in her bathrobe and bunny slippers—soon she’s not only lost her husband, but her job, her house, and her waistline.

Desperate to reinvent her life, Sophie moves to Ashland, Oregon. But instead of the way women starting over are depicted in the movies—with heroines instantly being swept off their feet by Sam Shepard kinds of guys—Sophie finds herself in the middle of Lucy-and-Ethel madcap adventures with a darkly comic edge involving a thirteen-year-old with a fascination with fire and an alarmingly handsome actor who inspires a range of feelings she can’t cope with—yet.

Filled with laugh-out loud humor, struggles, triumphs, and plenty of midnight trips to the fridge, Good Grief is a funny, wise, and heartbreakingly poignant novel from one of fiction’s freshest and most exciting new voices.

I have read this book numerous times and loved every minute of it. In fact, when a friend of mine was going through a difficult divorce, I gave her a copy of the book. It helped her look at her life differently and pulled her through some tough times.

I haven’t read other books written by Winston, so I can’t comment on her other work, but Good Grief is a keeper.

(This novel was published by Warner Books. I freely reviewed the book and have no financial ties to its success.)


  1. That's an incredible voice, right there. I simply must read it.

  2. I think you'll like it! It's and incredible first book for Lolly Winston. The humor keeps up all the way through. I think it's even in paperback now. :0)
    Thanks for stopping by, L.T.



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