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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • B07F3WVCG8
  • 270 pages
  • $8.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 05/2018
  • 9781633020931 1633020932
  • 270 pages
  • $18.95
This Side of Heaven: A Memoir
Just a few days before Christmas 2009, Valerie Staggs received a call that would change her life forever. Her husband, Ken Staggs, had been found unconscious at the bottom of their pool. Four days later he would be declared dead leaving her a widow at 42 and her son, Ryan, fatherless at the age of seven. This Side of Heaven chronicles the lives of Valerie and Ryan as they struggle to survive the aftermath of Ken's death in a world that neither they nor anyone around them really knows how to navigate. As they search for help from friends, family, school, church, grief groups, therapists and strangers, Valerie gives us a raw look into the unique experience of loss from the perspective of both woman and child and shares the fallacies that we all hold of the grieving process. From the initial shock of sudden death and the harsh realities of a grieving child, to the sticky nuances of being a widowed woman, to the surprisingly humorous side of death, "This Side of Heaven" chronicles exactly how life goes on after loss.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10

Assessment:

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

Reviews
Amazon

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!

Amazon

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.

News
07/04/2018
You Need a Memorable Book Cover

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.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • B07F3WVCG8
  • 270 pages
  • $8.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 05/2018
  • 9781633020931 1633020932
  • 270 pages
  • $18.95

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