Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief
By Nocero, Meg(Author)
An intimate epic of transformation and embracing life, Nocero’s memoir recounts the author’s experience of grief and depression following the death of her mother in 2011. Nocero (The Magical Guide to Bliss), celebrates her mother as her “champion” and the woman who, as Nocero grew out of a childhood made miserable by bullying, “encouraged me to forgive and let go of the past so I could have a wonderful future.” The months after find an exhausted Nocero fighting to achieve a positive work/life balance, reaching out to family and friends, enduring a deeply unsupportive support group, and facing a diagnosis of tinnitus.
Her transformation comes from commitment to thoughts and ideas like the ones she sets down in Butterfly Awakens: She devotes time to spiritual and uplifting literature, like the works of Paulo Coelho and Julia Cameron, to writing workshops and seminars, and to getting the chance to meet Oprah Winfrey herself. That vivid scene pulses with energy, as do her accounts of her mother, her time and travels with the LoveButton nonprofit, and her work on behalf of asylum seekers at the INS. (Nocero quits not long after the 2016 election, writing “I needed to leave before the new administration got their act together and replaced Obama’s photo with Trump’s.”)
Nocero’s frank about disappointments in jobs and qualms when pushing herself to achieve at something new, like hiking. She shares poems, dreams, journal entries, and her responses to current events. Her attention to all these different aspects of her life, and a variety of memoir approaches, means that the book is not as sharply focused as other accounts of grief and transformation, but it captures the range of a seeker’s journey and the sneaky way, in any stretch of living, seemingly unrelated elements bind together into something whole, as when she feels her mother’s presence years later in a great square in Santiago. This unruly but often moving book leads by example.
Takeaway: This memoir of searching and healing in the face of grief captures surprising connections as a woman seizes life.
Great for fans of: Meghan O’Rourke’s The Long Goodbye, Gail Griffin’s Grief's Country: A Memoir in Pieces.
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