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Brooke Carlock
Grief Sucks (But Your Life Doesn't Have To)

Adult; Self-Help, Sex & Relationships, Psychology, Philosophy, Fashion; (Market)

Grief sucks, and Brooke Carlock gets it more than most. After losing her dad, mom, stepmom, and ten year-old daughter in a year and a half, she's practically a PhD in the school of hard knocks. Brooke shares her grief journey with raw honesty, providing a beacon of hope for those feeling overwhelmed by sorrow. This book doesn't just acknowledge the depth of grief; it also offers practical, actionable strategies for moving through it with her innovative TRUST Method. It's your no-BS guide through the grief minefield—no platitudes, no sugar-coating, just raw, real talk. Brooke Carlock is not just an author; she's a fellow traveler on this crappy journey, offering up a map, a flashlight, and even a few laughs along the way. Because, believe it or not, there's a path through this mess that leads to a place where life sucks a little less—and you don't have to walk it alone.
Blending self-help, memoir of loss, and a sense of humor, Carlock’s debut offers a hopeful look at the long road through grief from an author who has navigated it so often that she wonders, in a preface, “exactly whom I pissed off in another life.” Carlock shares her own story while offering hard-won, practical advice—like how to handle people who disappoint as you try to build a support system, or facing “firsts” after bereavement—all broken down into small, manageable pieces. She emphasizes the importance of grievers being emotionally honest about their experiences and, as part of the healing process, remembering their lost loved ones. She also stresses the need to reach out to others and presents research suggesting positive-minded people cope with grief better.

Carlock has endured a seemingly overwhelming amount of tragedy, from her parents’ vicious divorce when she was eight, to her own two divorces to the year and a half in which she lost several family members, including her ten-year-old daughter, Libby. This was “the worst pain I had ever experienced,” she writes, and she addresses these losses with earthy candor. Her slow healing, especially all she’s learned about “grief, resilience, and post-traumatic growth,” informs the TRUST method at the heart of the book, a distillation of her guidance for others into a mnemonic device she’s crafted for simplicity, noting “Grief leaves most people feeling like they’ve lost about fifty IQ points.”

The book is compact and approachable, offering an inviting, honest, and sharply plainspoken survey of what the author has learned as she pulled herself “out of the suck,” with neither genre, memoir nor self-help, fully dominating. While the guidance is sound and the revelations often moving and insightful, the brisk storytelling by design emphasizes Carlock’s own experience, with touching material about her love for her family and thoughtful consideration of her own “deeply, deeply personal” choices involving medication and treatment. Throughout, she makes clear that one guiding voice is not enough—readers facing grief should seek out support and professional help.

Takeaway: Lessons and hard-won insights from a life facing grief.

Comparable Titles: Megan Devine’s It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Joanne Cacciatore’s Bearing the Unbearable.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A