I've been fortunate, so far, in my life not to have been faced with an overpowering loss that left me grief-stricken and wanting to write about it. So why did I purchase this book?
Well, I've been around Jessica on several occasions and I know that she's a very talented writer (as well as an all round fascinating person.) Plus, I often get folks in my workshops of classes who are writing memoirs, thinly disguised as novels. So I thought this might be useful.
Renewal is the goal for the grieving survivor -- the ability to continue on.
"But grief is never over," Handler writes. ". . . There isn't closure, really. We don't want to forget or be forgotten. We want to develop the ability to celebrate what we love as we move forward, even if that dear person, place, or thing is no longer actively in our lives."
The process of writing a memoir can help the survivor to come to terms with that loss, to, as Handler puts it, build a bridge that connects the person you were before the loss to the person you are now.
The book is full of the most excellent advice -- not just for writers (or teachers) of memoir but for those of us who write fiction too. As I read, I kept thinking about several characters in my work in progress, characters who suffer major losses, and reading Braving the Fire is helping me to deepen those characters in a very meaningful way. Funny how that works.
Jessica's website and more about the book are HERE.