Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Review: What Grieving People Wish You Knew...

What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (And What Really Hurts). Nancy Guthrie. 2016. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I have to tell you something up front: I think you're awesome. I assume you're reading this book or considering reading this book because you want to figure out how you can be a better friend to people around you who are going through the devastation of losing someone they love.

Premise/plot: What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps is a nonfiction book written from a Christian perspective. The first chapter focuses on "What To Say and (What Not To Say). The second chapter focuses on "What To Do (and What Not To Do)." The three remaining chapters handle a variety of subjects: social media, if it's a good idea or a bad idea to talk theology to the grieving, frequently asked questions.

My thoughts: The book isn't just one person's idea of what works and what doesn't. (I hate the phrasing of that. The grieving are not a problem to be fixed, and talking to a grieving person isn't something to just check off your to-do list.) Guthrie has compiled dozens--if not hundreds--of statements from real people about the grieving process. You hear not just Guthrie's professional opinion, or even her personal opinion, you hear from people--just like you, just like me--who are sharing their stories, sharing their hearts. And all this for the cause of helping the average person better know how to respond to others.

Can a book truly teach you how to be compassionate and avoid horrible blunders? Maybe, maybe not. But I think it can help the anxious.
It matters less what you say than that you say something.
When you're grieving, you know who has acknowledged it in some way and who hasn't. You just do.
Your purpose in saying something is to enter into the hurt with them and let them know they are not alone.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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