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Widowish: A Memoir

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Melissa Gould’s uplifting and deeply moving memoir of grieving outside the box and the surprising nature of love. When Melissa Gould's husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed as his condition tragically worsened, she had to believe that while Joel’s loss was permanent, so was their love. Left to raise Melissa Gould’s uplifting and deeply moving memoir of grieving outside the box and the surprising nature of love. When Melissa Gould's husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed as his condition tragically worsened, she had to believe that while Joel’s loss was permanent, so was their love. Left to raise their young daughter on her own, and to act as if she could resume life without her beloved husband by her side, Melissa found that she didn’t fit the typical idea of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn’t look like a widow or act like a widow, but she felt like one. Melissa was widowish. Melissa’s personal journey through grief and beyond includes unlikely inspiration from an evangelical preacher, the calming presence of some Real Housewives, and the unexpected attention of a charismatic musician. A modern take on loss, Widowish illuminates the twists of fate that break our world, the determination that keeps us moving forward, and the surprises in life we never see coming.


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Melissa Gould’s uplifting and deeply moving memoir of grieving outside the box and the surprising nature of love. When Melissa Gould's husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed as his condition tragically worsened, she had to believe that while Joel’s loss was permanent, so was their love. Left to raise Melissa Gould’s uplifting and deeply moving memoir of grieving outside the box and the surprising nature of love. When Melissa Gould's husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed as his condition tragically worsened, she had to believe that while Joel’s loss was permanent, so was their love. Left to raise their young daughter on her own, and to act as if she could resume life without her beloved husband by her side, Melissa found that she didn’t fit the typical idea of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn’t look like a widow or act like a widow, but she felt like one. Melissa was widowish. Melissa’s personal journey through grief and beyond includes unlikely inspiration from an evangelical preacher, the calming presence of some Real Housewives, and the unexpected attention of a charismatic musician. A modern take on loss, Widowish illuminates the twists of fate that break our world, the determination that keeps us moving forward, and the surprises in life we never see coming.

30 review for Widowish: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    This memoir blew me away. Grief is a topic I find myself drawn to reading about. We have all experienced grief, but yet we don’t talk about it enough. I know I don’t. For that reason, I find books like this help me understand other’s grief, while also looking inside and making sense of my own. Widowish is Melissa Gould’s memoir. Her husband, Joel, is hospitalized and later passes away, all very quickly and without expectation. Melissa shares her deeply personal walk through grief, in which she fi This memoir blew me away. Grief is a topic I find myself drawn to reading about. We have all experienced grief, but yet we don’t talk about it enough. I know I don’t. For that reason, I find books like this help me understand other’s grief, while also looking inside and making sense of my own. Widowish is Melissa Gould’s memoir. Her husband, Joel, is hospitalized and later passes away, all very quickly and without expectation. Melissa shares her deeply personal walk through grief, in which she finds hope and inspiration in unexpected ways. Overall, I found Widowish insightful and hopeful. Melissa isn’t asking for anyone’s pity, but she’ll easily gain your empathy. In sharing her message, she offers hope and empowerment for anyone faced with a sudden loss, and her journey is beautifully written, and filled with immense joy even after loss. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Johnson

    I got my copy in the Amazon monthly early releases this morning and finished this evening. At one point, while I was mid-gasp, ugly crying I asked myself, Why? Why on the first day of a new year full of all the hope and possibility would I pick this story today? And I am telling you, it is the prefect story. Many of us have been suffering a collective grief over the last year. And we have done so at home. Reading the scene where the family came in to say their final goodbyes, I was so grateful f I got my copy in the Amazon monthly early releases this morning and finished this evening. At one point, while I was mid-gasp, ugly crying I asked myself, Why? Why on the first day of a new year full of all the hope and possibility would I pick this story today? And I am telling you, it is the prefect story. Many of us have been suffering a collective grief over the last year. And we have done so at home. Reading the scene where the family came in to say their final goodbyes, I was so grateful for them that they got this opportunity. How would we ever get to a place where it would even occur to me while I’m reading a book about an enormous loss that this family was so lucky to say goodbye? In walking through Melissa’s story, there is an enormous amount of healing and comfort. There’s an acknowledgment of the pain and the unfairness of an early loss. And there is a deep reconciliation with stepping forward one foot in front of the other, like the tin man, to move forward. Knowing you have no idea what level of joy and grief each day or moment will bring. This memoir is so poetic and a true celebration of hope, grief, loss and the beauty of a life well-lived.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Deacon Tom F

    Heart On the Sleeve Story This was a really special book. I am very lucky to still be married to my wife for 48 years. All through this book I felt the pain of the author. Plus, I challenged myself to see how I would have reacted in many of the situations. The book is well written and a fast paced read. In fact, I read it in one sitting. The characters are easy to associate with and clear described. In general, I enjoyed the book and give the author lots of credit for bravery in writing this book Heart On the Sleeve Story This was a really special book. I am very lucky to still be married to my wife for 48 years. All through this book I felt the pain of the author. Plus, I challenged myself to see how I would have reacted in many of the situations. The book is well written and a fast paced read. In fact, I read it in one sitting. The characters are easy to associate with and clear described. In general, I enjoyed the book and give the author lots of credit for bravery in writing this book. I strongly recommend.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Britt B

    Not at all what I thought it would be, one I would’ve stopped reading if that was a thing. I recognize that everyone deals with grief differently but the events/behaviors in this book were odd and confusing. With how things were depicted, I found it really hard to empathize with the author. I am deeply sorry for her loss and wish her and her daughter the best. I appreciate that she is sharing her story to potentially help others, it just wasn’t for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Honest, affecting, and thought-provoking! Widowish is a tender, moving memoir that takes you into the life of Melissa Gould as she struggles to raise her daughter, grieve, move forward, and learn to love again when her world is irrevocably shattered when her husband Joel, stricken with MS, suddenly passes from West Nile Virus. The prose is heartfelt and sincere. And the novel is a sentimental tale of one woman’s personal experience loving, supporting and caring for the love of her life, and ultima Honest, affecting, and thought-provoking! Widowish is a tender, moving memoir that takes you into the life of Melissa Gould as she struggles to raise her daughter, grieve, move forward, and learn to love again when her world is irrevocably shattered when her husband Joel, stricken with MS, suddenly passes from West Nile Virus. The prose is heartfelt and sincere. And the novel is a sentimental tale of one woman’s personal experience loving, supporting and caring for the love of her life, and ultimately finding the strength to be a mother, daughter, and independent woman after he is gone. Overall, Widowish is a candid, impactful, lovely tale by Gould that delves into all the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of widowhood and reminds us of the importance of loving large, sharing special moments, and remembering all the little things. Thank you to Amazon Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Jack

    Most of It Good, But... This is a book you certainly want to like because it is born of the author's pain and tragedy. She is very open and real about what has happened in her past—including the loss of her husband, their beginnings as a couple, and her early widowhood—as befitting a memoir. However, as a nurse, I had a hard time getting past what she chose as the first scene. Given my profession, I'm not a fan of patients or patient’s families screaming at medical personnel. Yes, I understand th Most of It Good, But... This is a book you certainly want to like because it is born of the author's pain and tragedy. She is very open and real about what has happened in her past—including the loss of her husband, their beginnings as a couple, and her early widowhood—as befitting a memoir. However, as a nurse, I had a hard time getting past what she chose as the first scene. Given my profession, I'm not a fan of patients or patient’s families screaming at medical personnel. Yes, I understand the difficulty the author faced and the frustration she felt at that moment, but what would be accomplished by her yelling at the doctors in the ICU nurse's station that they should make her husband better because they are doctors in a hospital? A hospital is already a high-stress environment, especially the ICU. Acting like that smacks of elitist entitlement. Thankfully, I have not actually seen that at the hospital myself; most people are more reserved and circumspect when they get bad news, and they don’t typically take it out on the messengers, especially those who are doing the best they can within the constraints they have. This scene may not negatively impact anyone who isn't a medical professional, so you may enjoy this memoir more than I did.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Meh At first I thought I would like this book, but it just didn't resonate with me. I didn't like the author or feel connected to anyone in the book. For such a deep and complex subject, the book just seemed very shallow. Idk, I think I wanted to be able to FEEL her and Joel's connection, and therefore feel her loss when he dies, but the author comes nowhere close to making that happen. Meh At first I thought I would like this book, but it just didn't resonate with me. I didn't like the author or feel connected to anyone in the book. For such a deep and complex subject, the book just seemed very shallow. Idk, I think I wanted to be able to FEEL her and Joel's connection, and therefore feel her loss when he dies, but the author comes nowhere close to making that happen.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Lamont

    I know it's ridiculous to judge someone for any reason, but in particular for their taste in music. Yet, here we are..... This book was extremely well-written and a very easy read, even though it dealt with some tough stuff. I know at least three women and one man who found themselves in the widow/er demographic while in their 40s, and all of them have communicated some of the same facts of/emotions about their very unwanted change in status. Also, it was somewhat surreal to read of things that w I know it's ridiculous to judge someone for any reason, but in particular for their taste in music. Yet, here we are..... This book was extremely well-written and a very easy read, even though it dealt with some tough stuff. I know at least three women and one man who found themselves in the widow/er demographic while in their 40s, and all of them have communicated some of the same facts of/emotions about their very unwanted change in status. Also, it was somewhat surreal to read of things that were going on with Melissa Gould's husband in the years/weeks before his death; it was as if I were looking at an update from the past from the wife-now-widow of a member of my husband's extended family about her husband's medical condition. So, many kudos on all those fronts. But now comes pettiness..... I don't think I would like Ms Gould very much if I were to ever have the opportunity to meet her in person. I've been analyzing this in the hours since I read the book earlier today, and all I can come up with is that, seriously, I don't like her taste in music, at least as she's depicted it in Widowish: A Memoir. (I was extremely impressed that her husband went on the road with Anthrax, though.) Edited To Add: And this matters in relation to the book because Ms Gould kept referencing certain bands and/or musicians as key to her life, and most of those same folks seem to represent to me a sort of pseudointellectual snobbery and related lifestyle. And, I'm not a big fan of Los Angeles. Our Author? She is most definitely a hardcore Angelian. (I mean, I tried to like Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series because my mom is such a big fan but I just couldn't, because: LA) Perhaps if she had made her personal and professional life in San Francisco or San Diego--or New York City or, heck, even Miami, as Los Angeles-like as it can be sometimes--I would have liked her better. Even if she did abbreviate honey as hun. Edited To Add: The Los Angelian part matters in relation to the book because name drop much? What have you done for me lately? It is a city without a soul? PS & UNRELATED TO THIS BOOK This This THIS!!!! ALL DAY LONG! https://onezero.medium.com/almost-eve...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Wow! Where do I begin? I don't think I quite knew what to expect going into this. I cried throughout most of the book, something I have never done before. I'm crying as I write this review. Widowish is a very well written memoir, and I felt so much emotion for everyone in the book - specifically Melissa, Joel, Sophie, Marcos, Joel's parents, and the dogs, Lucy and (I think) Daisy. Melissa is so fortunate to have been surrounded by so much love in her life. I particularly admired how real and raw Wow! Where do I begin? I don't think I quite knew what to expect going into this. I cried throughout most of the book, something I have never done before. I'm crying as I write this review. Widowish is a very well written memoir, and I felt so much emotion for everyone in the book - specifically Melissa, Joel, Sophie, Marcos, Joel's parents, and the dogs, Lucy and (I think) Daisy. Melissa is so fortunate to have been surrounded by so much love in her life. I particularly admired how real and raw Melissa was; I'm sure some things were extremely difficult to write/share. I don't really know what else to say besides if you have the chance to read her story, you should. It is a reminder that good people and true love both still exist.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Widowish was a heart felt and immersive memoir I read in one sitting. The writing was beautiful, tragic, painful, and raw, yet also hopeful as Melissa takes us on a journey as she overcomes her grief after a devastating loss of her husband Joel. As a nurse, I empathized completely with her account of the medical issues they had to go through - from the difficulties of determining the initial diagnosis, course of treatments, and eventually the ICU care and end-of-life account. I thought that Meli Widowish was a heart felt and immersive memoir I read in one sitting. The writing was beautiful, tragic, painful, and raw, yet also hopeful as Melissa takes us on a journey as she overcomes her grief after a devastating loss of her husband Joel. As a nurse, I empathized completely with her account of the medical issues they had to go through - from the difficulties of determining the initial diagnosis, course of treatments, and eventually the ICU care and end-of-life account. I thought that Melissa explained a very complex medical history without sounding too medical and kept it simple and clear. From the very first page, the writing gripped my heart full of emotions and didn’t let it go until the very last page. I felt every emotion as she dealt with slowly losing the man she loves. I found this memoir wonderfully written that touched upon chronic illness, dealing with a sick spouse, end-of-life decisions, single parenting, Jewish culture, grief, and the widowish complexity and vulnerability. I highly recommend this memoir. One of the best I have read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I feel so seen. This is the best (is that even a thing with these kinds of stories?) memoir about the loss of a SO and the grief journey that you don’t want to be on but inevitably find yourself to be a reluctant rider. From the hospital and waiting for answers that you never really will understand because there will never be a good enough explanation for why this thing is happening to your person, to the ultimate decision to let that person go, ending their suffering, but green lighting your ow I feel so seen. This is the best (is that even a thing with these kinds of stories?) memoir about the loss of a SO and the grief journey that you don’t want to be on but inevitably find yourself to be a reluctant rider. From the hospital and waiting for answers that you never really will understand because there will never be a good enough explanation for why this thing is happening to your person, to the ultimate decision to let that person go, ending their suffering, but green lighting your own as you learn that new normal of life navigation on your own. From the journey through your grief at is most consuming to finding that one day, you can bear it a little easier, breathe a little more, and keep moving forward, knowing that he’s proud of you, but never missing or loving him less. From the things you’re not expecting to add to your grief but do, like the financial concerns of going from a two income household to a single income household and the overwhelming pit in your stomach you feel thinking about having to explain the death of your person to an acquaintance who doesn’t know, and the constant searching for signs and the existence of “widow brain.” From the challenges of doing your favorite things or watching shows that you once watched together to finding that mindless thing you could take comfort in. From the weird ways people choose to show sympathy and try to relate, to the awkward and constant hugs. From allowing yourself to do things the easy way to giving yourself permission to be attracted and flirt a little, even if it feels weird and foreign, but exciting and right all at the same time. And, finally, finding that new love and letting yourself be loved again, and knowing that it in no way lessens the love for the person you lost. I connected so much to Melissa’s journey as someone who has also experienced the loss of my boyfriend and partner of 8 years, who had to make similar decisions about life support, and who has lived through my own grief journey, with the support of family, friends, grief support groups. Although grief is an extremely personal and unique experience, it’s nice to know you’re not alone. Melissa’s story was relatable, real, and beautiful. Her grief and love were palpable through her words. This was an incredible tribute to a beautiful relationship and to a man whose life ended far too soon. To Melissa, thank you for writing your story. Thank you for sharing your journey. This was the grief book I had been searching for and wanting for the last 3 and a half years.

  12. 5 out of 5

    CaraDico

    *Thank you to NetGalley, Melissa Gould and Little a for an ARC in exchange or an honest review* Dear Ms. Gould, I have just recently finished your memoir, Widowish. There are so many similarities to your story with my story that I am using this review to write you a note and tell you how much your writing has brought me back. I lost my 6yoson and husband in a car accident about 16 months before you lost your Joel. Though Joel was sick for a long time and my family died in an instant, how we reacte *Thank you to NetGalley, Melissa Gould and Little a for an ARC in exchange or an honest review* Dear Ms. Gould, I have just recently finished your memoir, Widowish. There are so many similarities to your story with my story that I am using this review to write you a note and tell you how much your writing has brought me back. I lost my 6yoson and husband in a car accident about 16 months before you lost your Joel. Though Joel was sick for a long time and my family died in an instant, how we reacted to those deaths is what has given me pause. Maybe my marriage wasn't as perfect as yours, but complicated grief is just as devastating. The minutes and months afterwards when you are forced to deal with the messy aftermath of a life cut short is when you look back on the choices you have made and the people you love and focus on that. I remember my "Clooney" hikes clearly and focusing solely on my daughter, 4 at the time. I enjoyed reading the story of your marriage and how you met. It sounds like a very successful marriage. Like you, it left me as a single parent in her 40s, From your descriptions of those first days, it seems neither of us had any idea what to do. There is no book called "How To Be a Widow". One scene that really resonated with me was your anger at being told to write about yourself. Going to find Marcos and tell him what you really thought is exactly what I would have done. My anger started much earlier than yours, though. I am happy that you didn't give up on love. 6 months is not typical for a widow to find what you found in Marcos. Someone said once that if you know how to love deeply, it is easier to get back in there. I also understand the trepidation and embarrassment of falling in love so early on after your Husband's death. I hope you are still together, as genuine love rarely happens twice in one's lifetime. My daughter, though much younger than Sophie, reacted similarly to her. Her Father's death was a very matter of fact in her life. Her practical way of managing her grief still sets me off some days. It doesn't mean they love their fathers (or fathers and brothers in my case) any less. It is the child's or young adult's way of processing something unknown to them. Thank you for writing this gorgeous book. You have made me think about things in a way I haven't in a long time. I deeply appreciate your take on "young" widowhood, as it stands.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Basic B's Guide

    Grab the tissues and settle in for a journey that will give you all the feels. It’s been 8 years since I lost my Mother but the grief comes in waves and when I least expect it. No one really understands without going through it and even then it’s such a personal experience for each of us. My experience was different from my sisters and again different from my fathers. This memoir was a beautiful way of Gould sharing her journey of love and loss and helping me to feel understood and less alone. It Grab the tissues and settle in for a journey that will give you all the feels. It’s been 8 years since I lost my Mother but the grief comes in waves and when I least expect it. No one really understands without going through it and even then it’s such a personal experience for each of us. My experience was different from my sisters and again different from my fathers. This memoir was a beautiful way of Gould sharing her journey of love and loss and helping me to feel understood and less alone. It gave me good perspective on how different my mothers loss was to my father. How important it is to remember the ones we lose, keep the memory alive and a space for them in your life going forward. Touching and hopeful this is a memoir I would suggest to friends at the right time in their grieving process.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    What a heartfelt memoir that really sticks with you and has you really feeling a rapport with the Author. After losing her husband, you see her struggle with the before, during and after his death from her honest reality. The struggles with being a young widow and solo parent gives insight and understanding to anyone that has lost someone and gives issue with being expected to act according to societal views. It’s a beautiful written journey that you need to venture & experience.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Godwin

    Could not put Melissa’s book down! I highly recommend her memoir to not only widows, but to anyone who is feeling alone in their grief. So many feelings and thoughts that Melissa had as she processed her husband’s illness, his ultimate death, being a single widowed parent and finding love again were feelings I have had too. Her words sure helped me feel less alone!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (The Book Club Mom)

    So, let’s talk about memoirs for a little bit. What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy them? They’ve always been a favorite genre of mine, and I think it’s because I’m a very curious and nosy person! Ha! Other people’s lives absolutely fascinate me. At first, I was a little reluctant to pick up Widowish. Judging from the title, I knew it was going to be a sad read. I need to be in the right frame of mind to read one, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready. I finished it over the weekend, and flipped the So, let’s talk about memoirs for a little bit. What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy them? They’ve always been a favorite genre of mine, and I think it’s because I’m a very curious and nosy person! Ha! Other people’s lives absolutely fascinate me. At first, I was a little reluctant to pick up Widowish. Judging from the title, I knew it was going to be a sad read. I need to be in the right frame of mind to read one, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready. I finished it over the weekend, and flipped the very last page with a smile on my face. I expected to be in uncontrollable tears as the author discussed her husband’s illness, death, and then her grief. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle it. I didn’t have a sob fest, but my eyes did indeed well up a few times. In her own beautifully unique way, Gould makes the entire experience seem uplifting, encouraging, and hopeful. The memoir was quite thought-provoking as well. I would often pause and ask myself questions while reading. For instance, what does a widow look like? How does one act? Is there only one way to grieve? Gould mentions that she didn’t fit the typical idea of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn’t necessarily act or look like a widow, but she most definitely felt like one. She was widowish. I admire Gould’s bravery for sharing her personal journey with us, and I know I will think about this memoir quite often. All the feels and all the stars for Widowish! Highly recommend!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    The author’s compelling memoir reveals her journey from happily married mother of one to sudden widow. After her beloved husband died following an unexpected hospitalization, Melissa’s world turned upside down. How she righted life for herself and her young daughter is at turns tragic, hopeful, at times funny, and always inspirational. She describes not acting or looking like a widow, but feeling like one. Hence the title, WIDOWISH. This is a beautifully written account of her walk through grief The author’s compelling memoir reveals her journey from happily married mother of one to sudden widow. After her beloved husband died following an unexpected hospitalization, Melissa’s world turned upside down. How she righted life for herself and her young daughter is at turns tragic, hopeful, at times funny, and always inspirational. She describes not acting or looking like a widow, but feeling like one. Hence the title, WIDOWISH. This is a beautifully written account of her walk through grief to new life. Highly recommended! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 01 Feb 2021 #Widowish #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Little A, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl McDonald-Tuckwell

    Could not put this down. Such a beautiful story, full of emotion but overall love and happiness shone through. A story of grief but a beautiful story that shows that all families are different but as long as there is love, patience, and acceptance, you can be happy, loving, and remembering, even if parts of that family are no longer there.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judith von Kirchbach

    Brilliant memoir You don't have to have experienced the loss of a husband or wife to appreciate Melissa's story. Beautifully and honestly written, the reader can readily understand and feel the rawness and chaos of her emotions during the devastating reality of her husband's illness, sudden decline and unexpected death. Her story not only takes you to those lowest points in her life so far, but also through her grieving and healing process to the realisation that she can laugh, live, and enjoy lif Brilliant memoir You don't have to have experienced the loss of a husband or wife to appreciate Melissa's story. Beautifully and honestly written, the reader can readily understand and feel the rawness and chaos of her emotions during the devastating reality of her husband's illness, sudden decline and unexpected death. Her story not only takes you to those lowest points in her life so far, but also through her grieving and healing process to the realisation that she can laugh, live, and enjoy life and love again, without feeling guilty for doing so. I am glad this is not my experience and hugged my husband a little tighter when he returned from a business trip a couple of hours ago, but I believe Melissa's journey will resonate and bring hope to anyone who has experienced the loss of a partner or loved one, and will touch those of you fortunate enough not to. Memoir lets us see the human experience in other forms than just our own and appreciate other people’s experiences a little bit more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Soula Kosti

    Grief is a personal experience and when life moves on and we move on with it, we never completely let go of that grief. As we keep living, the grief will always follow us, but not always burden us the same way. In my experience, grief sometimes is plain bitter, but other times it's bittersweet. Melissa Gould explores some important questions in her memoir, like how to choose what's best for the person you love while they're in a coma, how to approach kids with such hard subjects and how to help Grief is a personal experience and when life moves on and we move on with it, we never completely let go of that grief. As we keep living, the grief will always follow us, but not always burden us the same way. In my experience, grief sometimes is plain bitter, but other times it's bittersweet. Melissa Gould explores some important questions in her memoir, like how to choose what's best for the person you love while they're in a coma, how to approach kids with such hard subjects and how to help them deal with the aftermath of a parent's loss, and if there is a timeline in grief and when it's acceptable by our society to move on. Even though I couldn't connect to Gould's writing style in a deeper level and often found her thoughts wordy and repetitive, the message of the book is of great importance and it is vital for such books to get published and reach readers who struggle with their grief or want to find some comfort to their grieving through the stories of others. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange to my honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I read almost all of this book in one sitting, tissues at the ready. It feels strange to call a memoir about living with grief a page-turner, but it definitely felt that way to me. The writing is straightforward and assured and I found it easy to place myself in the stories Gould was spinning. I didn't always resonate with the choices she made, but I was awed by her honesty and her willingness to put her story out there, warts and all. I'm not sure what compelled me to read a book about a woman I read almost all of this book in one sitting, tissues at the ready. It feels strange to call a memoir about living with grief a page-turner, but it definitely felt that way to me. The writing is straightforward and assured and I found it easy to place myself in the stories Gould was spinning. I didn't always resonate with the choices she made, but I was awed by her honesty and her willingness to put her story out there, warts and all. I'm not sure what compelled me to read a book about a woman my age becoming and living as a widow during a global pandemic, but there is a lot of hope, love, and acceptance in this admittedly very sad story. It somehow felt like a very fitting read for the strange times we're living in.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Hughes

    To be honest no book could ever fully sum up the ups and downs of being a widow, emotions change like the wind and thoughts go from happy to sad in a heartbeat. In telling her story she has succeeded in setting many of them out for those who haven’t experienced this change in relationship status, as well as shining a light on some of the less helpful attitudes and opinions of others. Overall she puts across well the fact of being a widow but the feeling that you’re still a wife. Widow-ish should To be honest no book could ever fully sum up the ups and downs of being a widow, emotions change like the wind and thoughts go from happy to sad in a heartbeat. In telling her story she has succeeded in setting many of them out for those who haven’t experienced this change in relationship status, as well as shining a light on some of the less helpful attitudes and opinions of others. Overall she puts across well the fact of being a widow but the feeling that you’re still a wife. Widow-ish should be a new word for the dictionary I think!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    I enjoyed and appreciated this heartfelt and frank memoir about surviving unimaginable loss. Melissa Gould's young husband, soulmate, best friend, the love of her life, dies unexpectedly, leaving her to pick up her life and go on without him. Ms. Gould is an experienced writer and her story is affecting. I enjoyed and appreciated this heartfelt and frank memoir about surviving unimaginable loss. Melissa Gould's young husband, soulmate, best friend, the love of her life, dies unexpectedly, leaving her to pick up her life and go on without him. Ms. Gould is an experienced writer and her story is affecting.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cherie Caviness

    Provides a refreshing perspective on widowhood Having lost my first husband at the tender age of 25 (also due to a mosquito bite, coincidentally), I found this memoir very relatable in many ways. Every widow has a story and our stories are all different. But there is commonality among us and it helps to know we are not alone in what we are experiencing. If you’ve recently lost a spouse, read this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    When the person you love has a life-threatening and debilitating disease, you are perhaps a few steps ahead of the mourning game. Melissa Gould had already had to adjust to her husband Joel having Multiple Sclerosis and losing much of his energy and mobility, but nothing had prepared her (or him) for the mystery illness that put him in hospital and later intensive care. It's no spoiler to say that he doesn't make it - the book is called Widowish, after all. We read a lot about their relationship When the person you love has a life-threatening and debilitating disease, you are perhaps a few steps ahead of the mourning game. Melissa Gould had already had to adjust to her husband Joel having Multiple Sclerosis and losing much of his energy and mobility, but nothing had prepared her (or him) for the mystery illness that put him in hospital and later intensive care. It's no spoiler to say that he doesn't make it - the book is called Widowish, after all. We read a lot about their relationship, how they met, how they had their daughter, and subsequently were unable to have further children. It's a tale of great affection and a very successful marriage. Left as a single parent in her 40s, Gould was definitely a widow but didn't really know how to adapt to the new and unwanted role. Photos show she's an attractive woman and she clearly didn't feel ready to give up on love. Joel had already pre-approved some potential (if slightly jokey) partners and made it clear that he didn't want her to be alone. My mother was widowed at the age of 28 and again 50 years later. A highly practical woman, she's an expert at just 'getting on with it' but nobody could ever mistake getting on with it with getting over it. My sister and I were much younger than Gould's daughter so we don't really remember much about how mum got on with widowhood the first time around. Had we been older, I can imagine that some of the things Gould did might have been helpful to her. Maybe. There will be some readers who'll find the speed with which Gould finds new love a bit surprising or that she appeared to have hit the jackpot with the hottest man in town. I've always believed that if people have loved deeply, they're programmed to do it again and so I say good luck to them both and I hope it all works out well. I found the passages about taking the decision to turn off Joel's life support to be very strong and inspiring.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caryn

    A touching tale of life after loss and covered all of the emotions. Such an easy read and I appreciate how none of it was written in a “Feel bad for me” way. It was the perfect length, given the subject and not overly heavy. Great insight on how grief looks different for everyone. My thanks to the publisher for the early copy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I felt Gould's dizzying frustration and devastation as her husband, age 50, got sicker and sicker in the hospital while the doctors didn't communicate very well, and couldn't find answers. I thought she was very brave when she sat with her comatose husband while a doctor took him off life support. I liked how her depiction of grief was a journey for the reader, too. There were no labels (e.g., bargaining stage, etc.), just what it felt like to be inside her mind and in her life. There were some v I felt Gould's dizzying frustration and devastation as her husband, age 50, got sicker and sicker in the hospital while the doctors didn't communicate very well, and couldn't find answers. I thought she was very brave when she sat with her comatose husband while a doctor took him off life support. I liked how her depiction of grief was a journey for the reader, too. There were no labels (e.g., bargaining stage, etc.), just what it felt like to be inside her mind and in her life. There were some very hard, and very poignant, moments--especially with her daughter. The widow-"ish" elements come in mostly in the second half of the book. It's hard to believe (although I do) some of the horrible things people said to her when she began to date again. She wasn't "widow" enough for them. But she *was* a widow--in fact, she found the term empowering in a way--and she would be so on her own terms. This book is very readable. It feels like a friend is talking to you.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Hannover

    This is a beautifully written memoir of a widow having to say good-bye to her spouse to death too soon. Her experiences are not uncommon (from the ICU, to grieving someone so young, to then thinking about dating again) and written with authenticity and class. It could be a comfort to those that are widowed to not feel like they are alone in their feelings, however, I found it to be a real gift as someone that walks alongside widowers of all ages. I read this book early thanks to Amazon!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I chose this book as one of my First Reads for January, 2021. I have several friends that have lost their husbands in the last few years although none of them are young widows in terms of age. This book helped me to more deeply understand their loss from their perspectives. It is an easy read but emotional and I had to put the book down several times to collect my thoughts. Good luck to the author and her daughter as they move forward.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Just from a reading point of view I feel this book is well written and has a good flow. The subject matter is hard to read at times without crying and imagining yourself in the same scenario. But it’s also such an uplifting read too. I also feel it’s good Melissa talks about Marcos as, I’m sure, a lot of people would be fearful of admitting they wanted to find another partner. But why shouldn’t they? No decent (dead) partner would want to think of their living partner being on their own for howeve Just from a reading point of view I feel this book is well written and has a good flow. The subject matter is hard to read at times without crying and imagining yourself in the same scenario. But it’s also such an uplifting read too. I also feel it’s good Melissa talks about Marcos as, I’m sure, a lot of people would be fearful of admitting they wanted to find another partner. But why shouldn’t they? No decent (dead) partner would want to think of their living partner being on their own for however many years. I would certainly recommend this book to others.

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