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:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2004, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2005, 360 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I hardly took any time off after Ethan died-just the three allowed bereavement days and the two sick days I'd accrued. Coworkers stopped by my cube and asked, "How are you doing?" I wanted to tell them not to worry; my husband was only out of town, maybe at a trade show. He'd be back.

Ethan's presence in our house was palpable, his loafers and sneakers lined up in the closet and his Smithsonian and Wired magazines still arriving every month. But all too soon floury dust coated Ethan's shoes, and his toothbrush grew dry and hard in the cup on the sink, and his pile of unread magazines toppled over.

People stopped saying, "How are you doing?" and Lara started assigning the black diamond projects again. This damn patch.

Lara whistles into my cube now. "Don't bother with a press release," she says, looking over my shoulder at my keyboard, hands on little StairMaster hips, blond hair pulled into a high, tight ponytail.

"Just get a story. Call The Wall Street Journal." I cower at the keyboard, thinking of the leak underneath my house. A few weeks ago a plumber in coveralls crawled through a trapdoor in the front hall closet and reported that it would cost $2,000 to repair the leak and install a sump pump. Money I don't have right now. "You folks need a pump," he said. "It's just me," I told him.

If you reach behind the coats and lift the slab of wood, you can see the black puddle, which smells like iron. My car would like a piece of my paycheck now, too. It's been making a grinding noise and pulling to the right, as though it would rather drive through the trees.

"Okay? Okay?" says Lara. Although she's only five-three, she somehow manages to tower over people.

"Okay." I flip slowly through the Rolodex on my desk. Later, when I can breathe, I'll tell her about the Herald story. She huffs a sigh of exasperation and leaves me in a pit of Willy Loman cold-call despair.

On my way home from work that night, I get in an accident: I'm broadsided by the holidays. It happens when I stroll into Safeway and see the rows of tables by the door stacked high with Halloween candy: Milky Way, Kit Kat, Butterfinger. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Stop, turn, run! I try to shove my cart toward produce, but it won't go. One stubborn wheel tugs like an undertow toward the candy. I kick the cart and focus on my shopping list: eggs, milk, ice cream.

I make it safely to produce, but there the pumpkins lurk. Look! they shout. The holidays are coming! I spot the bunches of brown corn you can hang on your door and the tiny gourds-the bumpy acne ones and the clown-striped green-and-yellow ones. I lean into the cart for support. How can a place called Safeway seem so dangerous?

Last Halloween Ethan and I took Simone, the daughter of my college girlfriend, Ruth, trick-or-treating. Ethan dressed up as Yellow Man, his own made-up superhero. He wore a yellow T-shirt, yellow rubber gloves, and a yellow rain poncho for a cape. He made Simone laugh so hard, she choked on a Gummi Bear.

I remember the yellow yarn dust mop bobby-pinned to his head. I remember his hair-the sweet, almost eggy smell of Flex shampoo. Beautiful hair! Thick, straight, shiny, and brown. The hair I always dreamed of having instead of my wiry curls. Sometimes a Dennis the Menace piece stuck straight up on top of Ethan's head, which is probably why he got carded. He was thrown together in a boyish way-baseball caps and too-big sweatshirts, Converse sneakers with no socks, dirt on his knees from crawling around in the backyard looking for his Frisbee. Why did I ever sign that paper to have him cremated? That's what he wanted. To have his ashes spread at Half Moon Bay, where we went for our honeymoon.

It made sense at the time. But now there isn't even a grave to visit. How can I be a widow when there's no grave? "Miss?" A clerk clutching a bunch of basil stands beside me. "Are you okay?"

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
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!