Excerpt from Good Grief by Lolly Winston, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Good Grief

By Lolly Winston

Good Grief
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Apr 2004,
    448 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2005,
    360 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Now my cuticles demand my attention. Pick at us, they insist. Yank away. Don't mind the blood. Keep going. At last, a use for Kleenex. As I blot at the blood, the counselor glances my way and says you have to find ways to release your anger.

"Keep a box of garage-sale dishes you don't care about," she suggests. "And break them when you're upset." She says you can lay down a blanket and throw the dishes at the garage, then roll the whole thing up when you're done. She's enthusiastic about how easy this is, as if she's relaying a remarkably simple recipe. It's hard to imagine her stepping on an ant, let alone breaking a service for twelve.

Would it be all right if I threw dishes at my former mother-in-law?

I want to ask the counselor. Marion, Ethan's mother, calls every other day now to insist that she come over and help me pack up Ethan's stuff for Goodwill. I dread the thought of her snoopy paws all over his Frank Zappa CDs and Lakers T-shirts. She'd probably want to chuck his frayed flannel shirts, which I've started sleeping in because they're as soft as moss and smell like Ethan. Marion's house is as neat as a museum. The only trace of the past is one family photo on the baby grand piano. It was taken the day of Ethan's college graduation, and he stands between Marion and Charlie, his father, who died a few months later of a heart attack. Ethan's smiling and the tassel on his graduation cap is airborne, as if it might propel him through the future. Marion looks up at him, bursting with awe.

Marion's always needling me to get ahold of myself. "You have to get back on the horse, dear!" she'll chirp. "Chin up, chin up!" Get-your-act-together euphemisms that say, Look, I'm a widow, too, and now I've lost my only son, but you don't see me driving through my garage door or inhaling pralines and cream out of the carton for break-fast.

I would like to bean Marion with a gravy boat.

Now, even the men are weeping. I'll bet the counselor feels she's making real progress here. I'll bet tears are to a grief counselor what straight teeth are to an orthodontist.

Still, dry eyes for me. Maybe I need the remedial grief group.

Maybe there's a book, The Idiot's Guide to Grief. Or Denial for Dummies.

Maybe this is going to be like ice-skating backward, which I never got the hang of. Or like Girl Scouts, which I got kicked out of for having a poor attitude. I didn't have any badges and wasn't enthusiastic about making my coffee-can camp stove and wouldn't wear that Patty Hearst beret while selling cookies. (It was hot and made your ears itch!) The troop leader, Mrs. Swensen, called my mother to say that I should find an after-school activity I was more enthusiastic about. She didn't know that I had been working on the cooking badge. I'd written a little report on paprika-although it was mostly copied out of the encyclopedia-and learned to make pie crust, rolling out the dough until it was as thin and transparent as baby's skin. "Too thin, sweetie," my mom commented, pointing at the huge disk of dough glued to the countertop. Anyway, I was relieved to be free of Girl Scouts, preferring to lie on my bed and listen to Casey Kasem's countdown, chewing banana Now and Laters and reviewing the repeats in the daisy wallpaper pattern to soothe my nerves. Flower, flower, stem. Flower, flower, stem.

Now, it doesn't look as if I'm ever going to get the grief badge. I look out the window at the brittle, leafless trees, their branches like bones in the sky.

And that's all the time we have today.

"The warmth of the body causes the patch to adhere," I explain to the Herald health care reporter who's interviewing me by telephone for an article he's writing. As public relations manager at Gorgatech, I'm supposed to improve the image of a scrotal patch product that's prescribed to men whose testosterone production is off-kilter on account of illness. A scrotal patch! Why can't I work on the headache product? The problem is, the patch doesn't always stick. Just imagine some poor guy in a sales meeting looking down and suddenly discovering a thing like a big square Band-Aid clinging to his sock.

From Good Grief by Lolly Winston. Copyright © 2004 by Lolly Winston

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  158The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.