Plot/Idea: The concept behind Overcoming Deepest Grief is simple: one woman's story of how she dealt with losing her partner of 18 years, Margaret. As readers will quickly find, however, it is about so much more, including the compounding loss of her beloved sister, the trauma of finding Margaret dead in their home, and the unceremonious pillaging of Margaret's possessions by her somewhat-estranged family. In this profound narrative, a journal-like collection of essays, letters, and poems written in the months and years after Margaret's death, Farkas records her long, painful, but ultimately joyful, journey to acceptance and happiness.
Prose: Overcoming Deepest Grief is written in beautiful, emotive prose and verse that can either be savored bit by bit or indulged in a single sitting.
Originality: While there are certainly many memoirs that address reclaiming one's life after profound loss, Farkas's text stands apart from the pack, in large part because it isn't consciously trying to be any one thing. A curated collection of writings created throughout her period of bereavement, there is such raw emotion and authenticity in the pages of Overcoming Deepest Grief. Many of the essays deal with grief, sadness, and the seeming impossibility of living through her pain, but the collection is also peppered with writings on different subjects—everything from bees, letting go of racist friends, and odes to the moon—that will delight readers.
Character Development/Execution: A stunning collection of emotive writing sure to touch the hearts of readers, Mary Aviyah Farkas's Overcoming Deepest Grief: A Woman's Journey takes readers through the author's raw, painful journey through the grief she experienced after losing her beloved sister to cancer and then, just a few months later, coming home from work to discover her partner of 18 years deceased in bed. The essays and poems, which were written in the months and years following the dual deaths, allows readers to follow how Farkas was able to slowly start letting joy back into her life one small moment at a time
Date Submitted: October 27, 2022
Always mindful of her connection to the Universe—and embodied with a deep sense of wonder at the world around her—Farkas writes with gentle poise, even in the darkest moments of her remembering. “Today, I emptied one jar. I undid your accumulation of insignificance, so significant to me,” she notes while trying to recreate life without Margaret, and, delving into the added pain of Margaret’s family’s bias towards her in the days following the funeral, she conveys “We were just Lesbians, Queer; our relationship didn’t really count.” That innate longing to stamp out bias powers the memoir as Farkas celebrates coming out on her 25th birthday and considers the pain of other minority groups.
Farkas offers much more to her readers than how to cope with grief, although she deposits soft reminders throughout the book for self-care and urges readers to fall back in love with experiences that create joy, whether that’s spiritual stirrings, learning new skills, or rediscovering movement. Farkas’s willingness to unveil her immense pain allows readers the privilege of free expression, and her unwavering self-empathy will inspire them to not just survive, but “come out strong and clear…even thrive.”
Takeaway: A moving meditation on love, loss, and rebirth.
Great for fans of: Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply, Tanja Pajevic’s The Secret Life of Grief
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B
Mary Aviyah Farkas
Overcoming Deepest Grief, A Woman's Journey - Grief, Acceptance, Gratitude and Joy
A collection of essays, prose, and poems, from author Mary Aviyah Farkas, following her journey through unimaginable loss, to acceptance, gratitude, and joy.
Overcoming Deepest Grief, a Woman’s Journey: Grief, Acceptance, Gratitude and Joy is a collection of essays, prose, and poems by author Mary Aviyah Farkas. The book was written by Mary following the death of her beloved sister, and wife of eighteen years within a six-month period, and the trauma she experiences as she leaves her cherished home and builds a new life in Southern California. The collection follows Mary’s personal journey from the depths of depression and grief, through to acceptance, gratitude, and joy. We learn of Mary’s history, her connection with God, and her experiences of being a lesbian woman in the twenty first century. We see Mary build a new life, make new friends, connect with family, experience the joy from the simple things in life, and find new love.
This book is a deeply intimate and emotional memoir of one woman’s journey through life, and her experiences of love and unimaginable loss. It gives hope and comfort to anyone who is experiencing grief and depression that they can live a fulfilling life and love again. This is a beautiful book, and a moving tribute to Mary’s wife, sister, and friends. Written by Mary during a turbulent thirteen-year period, and told through Mary’s unadulterated words, this is a book of pure, raw emotion. It is a deeply moving book, and it brought a tear to my eye on several occasions.
Star Rating: 5 Stars
‘A deeply intimate and emotional memoir of one woman’s journey through life, love, and loss. A FINALIST and highly recommended.’
Please join Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA) Chaplaincy School in collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Spiritual Department for a virtual seminar and conversation with Acclaimed Author, Mary Aviyah Farkas, on Sunday, September 4th from 7:00pm to 8:15pm PT.
In order to fully engage in the event, we encourage you to purchase and read her book, "Overcoming Deepest Grief: A Woman's Journey, Grief, Acceptance, Gratitude and Joy," prior to attending.
The virtual event is free and open to all, but you must register to attend. Please click here to register. We look forward to your joining us,
Rabbi Rochelle RobinsVice President and Dean of the Chaplaincy School