Plot: For readers who are unfortunately all too familiar with grief, this memoir is something to be treasured; it reinforces a resolve to go on despite life's myriad and recurring heartaches.
Prose: Staggs's prose is clean and well-constructed. It provides readers with just the right amount of raw emotion, as well as a calculated reflection that comes only with time.
Originality: There's nothing inherently original about a memoir involving the death of a close family member. However, Staggs's story is unique in that, while she continues to struggle with the loss of her husband, she is not defined by the loss—her life goes on, and her voice and resolve grow stronger with time.
Character development: Readers cannot help but feel for Val as she cries on the floor in her bedroom in the weeks following Ken's death. And they can't be blamed for thinking that maybe she might not make it, given the nature of her struggle. But they will be glad to see her gather the strength to move on in the best way she can.
Date Submitted: July 10, 2018
Staggs authentically and eloquently writes about the year following her husband's death. Interjecting humor alongside grief, Staggs brilliantly transports you into her world as she attempts to navigate life without Ken; from single parenting to unsympathetic Catholic school staff, old friends, and new relationships. I adore her writing style and often laughed out loud when she would highlight her quick wit--as when she told Ken at a campground he had "tent envy"--I read this in 3 sittings. I loved it!
We all know the image: Was the dress blue and black or gold and white. This story gives a whole new perspective on loss and living through the obstacles. Valerie was real and very open in pouring out her thoughts and soul. Grab a box of tissues.
Author Valerie Staggs used journaling as a way to grieve after her husband unexpectedly passed away. In this episode of The Author Inside You, Valerie tells us how her journal was the basis for her first book and why it is important to have a book cover that stands out on the shelf.