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Our first book club choice (6 replies)

Nina
4 years ago
Nina 4 years ago

I am suggesting ‘A Widow’s Awakening’ as our first book club choice. You can download it on a kindle if you have one, which is what I did. Here is the amazon link to the kindle edition: http://www.amazon.co.uk/WidowsAwakening-Maryanne-Pope-ebook/dp/B007RRUMWU/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

If you prefer the paperback version, here is a link to it: http://www.amazon.com/A-Widows-Awakening-MaryannePope/dp/0981064302

I chose it because it had a deep impact on me. It deals with grief, but the book also forces us to face many difficult questions, such as the dilemma of mourning someone close to us, while at the same time becoming financially secure as a result of that loss.

The book is non-fiction. Maryanne Pope, the author, lost her husband John (the names have been changed in the book), a police officer, in the line of duty, aged just 32. Maryanne a budding writer, always dreamt of being able to write full time, however, as a struggling young couple, that dream had to be put on hold. That changed when her husband died. She received many financial payouts, and was also entitled to her husband’s salary for the rest of her life. Her mortgage too was paid off. I will stop there, so I don’t spoil it for you. This is a powerful story that challenges many of our assumptions about grief.

In addition to this being our first book, I would also like you to suggest our next book after this one. The idea is to always announce two books at once, in order to give everyone plenty of time to prepare. You can recommend books that deal with any subjects, not just about being a non-parent. Your choice has to be no more than 400 pages.

I do understand that time constraints mean some people may find it hard to be part of a monthly book club. And so, I have decided to make this a bimonthly (once every two months) book club for now.

Monday May 23rd will be the date when we will start discussions on this book. I hope this gives you all plenty of time to get the book and read it. Because of the time difference and also for the sake of flexibility, you will be able to post your replies throughout the day, and throughout the week as well.

Here are the questions to answer once you have read the book:
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how will you rate this book and why?
2. What would you say is the most memorable scene or piece of writing in the book?
3. What impact did the book have on you?
4. If you had a chance to meet the author, what question would you ask her?
5. What have you learnt as a result of reading this book that you didn't know already?

Maryanne
4 years ago
Maryanne 4 years ago

As the author of "A Widow's Awakening," I am very honoured to have nonparents.com choose the book as their very first on-line book club choice! Thank you, Nina 🙂

Writing "A Widow's Awakening" was a powerful experience for me, even though it was very emotionally and psychologically challenging. Losing a loved one and grieving is difficult enough, writing about one's innermost thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears - over and over again - made a tragic situation go on and on, perhaps longer than was healthy 🙁

But based on the feedback I have received from readers over the years, I am SO glad I persevered with the book. From other widows, I often hear comments such as "Thank you for making me feel so not alone - or crazy." From readers who haven't necessarily lost a loved one but who enjoy an engaging story, I have often heard back comments such as, "I could not put this book down!"

As Nina mentioned in her introduction of my book, the fact that the death of my husband and soul-mate meant the birth of my dream as a writer IS an intriguing paradox to read about...and to live.

I hope you are able to read "A Widow's Awakening" and join in the on-line discussion. I'm looking forward it!

Thanks so much,
Maryanne Pope

Nina
4 years ago
Nina 4 years ago

Thanks Maryanne. I gained a lot from reading your book. It has confirmed my belief never to take my relationship with my husband or anything else for granted. I have been both humbled and inspired.

SMYYC
4 years ago
SMYYC 4 years ago

I read Maryanne's book, and though I am not a widow or childless, I found it captivating and full of insight to apply to my own life. I can only guess that for one who is widowed and childless it is even more helpful.

I would rate it 10/10. The writing style pulls you in on page one. It's concise, full of candor, where not a sentence is wasted. Everything in this book seemed to have meaning for me.

Her writing is very rich in thought and candor, and so it provides a very truthful, painful look at being given a life you hadn't planned on - one of a young widow who has lost her soul mate. Following her through her struggles, depression, sadness, childlessness, is eye opening -- where the reader feels her pain and can only imagine being put in this horrible position.

The scene in the book that had the biggest impact on me was: when, shortly after she was widowed, she saw her blue birth control pills on the bathroom counter. At that moment she realized - she'd never have a child with her soul mate, she'd never feel his loving touch again, ever. And the possibility of a family and a life with him was forever over. Very impactful. You really get the sense that this man was truly her soul mate, like no one else ever could be. Which leads to the realization: can one ever find another? Sadly, not likely in some cases. This was a harsh, harsh realization for myself. It made me truly understand the depths of grief that one must enter in this terrible situation. It made me have an even deeper appreciation for every day that I have with my husband.

The book is ultimately uplifting, as one sees that she does gradually turn her anger, grief and depression into so much good. Her husband's legacy provides the impetus for her recovery, though it is not an easy path. His memorial foundation is still running strong and is a testament to her strength and the strength of his family and friends.

Her book reminded me that to heal and live a fulfilling life, after we heal ourselves, then we need to look to others to help them: to love them, to listen, to make changes in our lives that have a positive impact on others and in the world around us. Even in some small way. And on a daily basis.

One of the best books I've read.

Maryanne
4 years ago
Maryanne 4 years ago

Hallo...it's Maryanne Pope, the author of A Widow's Awakening. I just read through the ever-so-kind comments by "SMYYC" about my book. Thank you!

I am so glad my writing and story resonated with you - and that you found it, in the end, uplifting. It was a very difficult path to travel for so many years. But as you say, after we heal ourselves it is SO important to live a fulfilling life...helping those we can and appreciating each and every day, regardless of what it brings.

You also raise a really important question about if you lose one soul mate, can you find another? I am still working on answering that...but I sure hope I will find true love again 🙂

Thank you again so very much for such positive feedback on the book!
Take care,
Maryanne

Nina
4 years ago
Nina 4 years ago

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how will you rate this book and why?
Definitely 10. Even though my spiritual beliefs have taught me that things happen for a reason etc, reading Maryanne’s book, I couldn’t help asking myself what purpose was being achieved by John dying so young. All that pain that was being inflicted on those closest to him. No matter how strong we think we are, death still remains the ultimate test.

The book takes us through the various stages of grief in raw details. The pain of both Maryanne and her mother in law is so raw in the immediate aftermath of John’s death that I could not help shedding a few tears. Those who have lost loved ones will certainly understand, while others like myself, will go away with some insight into what that side of life really feels like.

2. What would you say is the most memorable scene or piece of writing in the book?
The scene at the hospital when the friends and family start to gather. You can only imagine the sense of utter disbelief. Even though John was already brain dead, the fact that this had not yet been announced officially, meant that everyone was hoping he would recover. This to me was so poignant. It is in our nature to always expect a happy ending. Unfortunately, there was not going to be one.

3. What impact did the book have on you?
The book has reinforced my belief never to take anything for granted and shows how quickly our life can change. Maryanne went from having a great holiday in the US to mourning the death of her husband within the space of one week.

4. If you had a chance to meet the author, what question would you ask her?
I do speak to Maryanne on social media, even so, I would like to ask her about John’s family. How have they been doing since John’s death? His sister Angela proved quite a support back then.

5. What have you learnt as a result of reading this book that you didn't know already?
I didn’t know anything about what went on behind closed doors when someone dies in terms of organ donation. Reading Maryanne’s book took me through the various stages of the process, and as a result, I am now registered as a donor.

Nina
4 years ago
Nina 4 years ago

Thanks Jane. Some books have the power to stay in your consciousness for a very long time and A Widow's Awakening is one such book for me. It touched me very deeply.

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