Cover Image: The Mourning Report

The Mourning Report

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Member Reviews

This book is a very emotional read dealing with love, life, cancer, death & grief . It isn’t an easy read I will say that but it is beautifully written all the same.
Thank you NetGalley and publishers for gifting me this book
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#The Mourning Report #NetGalley #Read
I tried to get into this book, the writing was really good but I just couldn’t get into the story and eventually got bored and dnf.
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This is something I need to have the right mood to get into. Caitlin’s book is not only about her and her mother but about all of us who have lost someone and trying to make sense of ourselves after their loss. I have been deeply moved by it and it is very humane and delicate. Thank you so much for the copy.
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Caitlin Garvey's memoir The Mourning Report is heartbreaking and powerful.  Her story articulates how grief after the death of her mother when the author was just becoming a woman herself shaped her own life.  In order to come to terms not only with her mother's death but also her own depression and thoughts of suicide, she travels through the world of people who played a part in her mother's last days and her passing: a hospice worker, a priest, an estate planner, a funeral director, etc., in order to understand how people who live their lives surrounded by mortaility nevertheless embrace life.
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A deeply moving investigative memoir about death, loss and love.⁣
Caitlin Garvey lost her mother to breast cancer at the age of 18, and this book is an attempt to find healing. She is unflinchingly open about the chaos of grief and, twenty years on, how unmoored she remains by the loss of her mother. She details her struggles with depression, her suicide attempt at the age of 20, and her longing for her mother. ⁣
In this book Garvey tries to relive her mother’s life by remembering her death through interviews with the people around her when she died - the hairdresser, the estate planner, the embalmer, the priest, and the hospice nurse. ⁣Scattered amongst these are her memories of her mother, and the love and warmth that she gave to her daughters. ⁣
Like Kisa in the Buddhist parable of the mustard seed, she hopes to bring her mother back to life and in the process is reminded of the universality of loss.⁣ Unlike Kisa this is not necessarily redemptive or comforting. ‘How painful it is to be graceful’, she says. In her conversation with the priest, he recounts a man asking ‘Why me?’ after visiting his sick mother and he replies ‘Why not you? Why do you think you’re exempt from hardship? God never promised us that terrible things won’t happen’. ⁣
#TheMourningReport #CaitlinGarvey #NetGalley
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Garvey's memoir delves deep into the themes of grief, of loss, of family and of memory in a heart-warming work that feels absolutely sincere and personal.
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The first noticeable thing about this debut memoir: “The Mourning Report” (2020) written by Caitlin  Garvey is the lovely book cover of the mother and infant reflecting the mother-daughter bond. Garvey’s mother was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (2001) and passed away several years later following a double mastectomy and removal of lymph nodes. It is tragic enough to lose a parent in this manner; understandably, Garvey was devastated—and has chronicled her profound story of mental anguish, illness, breakdown, and grief related to her loss.

After her mother’s death, when Garvey was a junior at the University of Notre Dame, she was admitted to a South Bend Indiana psychiatric facility after a suicide attempt. Since 2011, she has been prescribed numerous psychotropic medications and has sought the help and council of 5 different therapists. Perhaps, in an attempt to hold on to her mother’s memory, Garvey related her own (morbid) obsession surrounding her mother’s death as she interviewed her mother’s best friend, her mother’s (retired) priest Father Dore, the hospice nurses that cared for her mother, the funeral director that embalmed her mother’s body etc.

As early 19th century, writers discovered a profitable market for the “misery memoir” which was eventually identified as a literary genre in the U.K. by Bookseller Magazine. A headline article from Entertainment Magazine reads: “20 Wonderfully Miserable Memoirs: A Reading List for the School of Hard Knocks” (2015). Garvey’s book certainly falls into this category-- it was a sad and depressing memoir, that took longer than usual to complete reading. Furthermore, Garvey doesn’t seem to reach any conclusions in her storyline regarding improved mental health and well-being, or elaborate on how she relates to current healing circumstances involving her partner, her sister’s, friends etc. which could have made this book more interesting for the average reader. Instead, the book may be more helpful for grief counselors or mental health professionals for study and research. Caitlin Garvey earned an MFA from Northwestern University and an MA in English Literature from DePaul University, her writing has been featured in several publications including the Baltimore Review. She lives in Chicago.  (2.5*)    **With thanks to Homebound Publications via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.
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Reading this book during a global pandemic, made the idea of death that much more intense. However, this is a fantastic journey of how to learn to grieve in a healthy manner. I would highly recommend.
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A bereaved daughter's memoir of grief, The Mourning Report maps out Caitlin Garvey's attempts to come to terms with her loss by talking to people who were part of her mother's journey in her last days—her close friend and hairstylist, the family priest, a hospice nurse who took care of Breast Cancer patients like her, her former co-worker and estate planner, and her funeral director—nearly a decade after the fact.

In collating her own memories of the departed and her struggle after the loss with whatever stories the interviewees might reveal to her, the author hopes to be able to see a life ended too soon as a coherent whole; to be able to understand her mother in life and in death and to gain the closure and strength required to finally face a future without her.

Garvey's approach to grief in this book is striking in its unflinching rawness and honest: she chooses to dive headlong into the aimlessness, awkwardness, and pain of it rather than masking it with the false and burdensome sense of hope so meaninglessly prescribed to those lamenting death; she opens up about her struggles with suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety and the overall effect her loss has had on her life instead of leaving it in the footnotes. Be it her unusual choice of interviewees or her arrival at an understanding of how an awareness of other people's afflictions is very rarely a lasting balm, Garvey in this "grief journey" offers touching insight into the ways we remember and mourn the dead, and into how all the pain is a result of the desire to celebrate their lives.
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This was a story of loss. The writer took me on her journey. She wanted to find closure. She interviewed 4 people who were with her mom at some point during her life. 
The book was about that and so much more. It’s not a pleasant read. But you might gain some perspective about loss. It clearly effects all of us differently. 

Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This book seriously made me cry so much. I never knew another person that loved her mom as much as I do, and when she lost her mother, I felt this pain, it’s like “what would I do if I lost my mom as that young age? Or at any age?” 

Caitlin talks about her struggles dealing with the loss of her mother, getting to know her mother more, and trying to move on from her death. But she doesn’t want to seem to let go, and and she decided to interview the people who have seen her before she died, and this is some form of closure project.

Throughout this whole books we read these amazing flash backs that she has with her mother, and having her mother’s support and love, it was just a beautiful book to read, this is my second memoir this month and I’m so happy I reas a another great book. It’s sad because you feel her pain and even the stories of the people she interview, other than that it was a breeze to read, and it was so well written. 

Thanks Netgalley and Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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I thought this was an incredibly sad book, very moving at times but heart-breaking. Its clear Caitlin’s never got over her mother’s death and her grief, many years later still shapes her life. Grief affects people in different ways. Not everyone will respond the same way or take the same amount of time to move on. My Gran died almost twenty years ago and my Mum still grieves her though it has gotten easier over time. I don’t think about Gran very often. I cried a lot reading The Mourning Report because the author had allowed me the privilege of sharing her grief and mourning process. I wanted to hug her. I found the people she decided to interview an interesting choice as they were not always the most obvious person I expected her to want to speak to. The chapter where she speaks to the hospice nurse is quite upsetting as it becomes clear the patient they are discussing is not Caitlin’s mother but she chooses not to say anything. The interviews are interwoven with flashbacks of her mother’s illness and death and the life of the family before she became ill. There is a ray of hope though, at the end that Caitlin may have started to heal.
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i really felt for Ms. Garvey, it was a beautiful read and I enjoyed reading this. It was really beautifully well done and I look forward to more from the author.
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******** TRIGGER WARNING ******** 
This book contains talk of depression, grief, a suicide attempt and suicidal ideation. If any of these topics are triggers for you, I suggest you either skip this book, or proceed with caution. 

"I'm scared to live, and I envy those who aren't..." 

Caitlin Garvey lost her mother to Breast Cancer when Caitlin was only twenty years old. Unable to find her way through her grief, she attempted suicide and ended up in a locked psychiatric facility. 

Caitlin was depressed and her anxiety levels were off the chart. Her time in the hospital was helpful, but even after she was released, she was still suicidal. 

"[She] began this book out of desperation to feel unbound, to feel a comfort that could allow [her] to move forward in [her] life. [She] wanted to revisit [her] memories of the few days before and after [her] Momma died, the moments when [Caitlin] felt the smallest and the most detached from the world. [She] hoped that [she] could pick up the pieces of [herself] that [she] left behind. [Caitlin] hoped to feel whole, not fragmented, and that [she] could remember more of [her] Momma and get a fuller version of her story." 

"[Caitlin] interviewed five people, all of whom were a part of [her] Momma's dying process:" 
Those five people were: 
Her mother's hairstylist who was also her close friend. In fact, it was this woman who styled her mother's hair for the wake.
The family priest 
A nurse/administrator at Heartland Hospice Care 
The author's parent's estate planner AND 
An embalmer/funeral director 

"[She] thought that if [she] could figure out how these five people functioned after being so close to death, [she] could better navigate [her] own life. [She] hoped they could give [her] some guidance." 

Each chapter focuses on the interviews between Caitlin and the person she was interviewing. Each time, she discovered more not only about her mother, but about herself as well. Personally, I found these conversations fascinating and insightful. 

THE MOURNING REPORT is probably the most raw and honest grief/depression memoir I have ever read. Caitlin does not shy away from the truth and admits that "[She was] mad at myself for wanting to die when all [her] Momma wanted to do was live." 

Caitlin's honesty and integrity left me with a feeling of having peeked inside her psyche and having gone along on her journey of healing. 

There is just no rating other than 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ that would be truthful. In fact, I plan to go back and read THE MOURNING REPORT again in a few weeks. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever lost someone close to them. As well, anyone who has an interest in mental health, depression and suicide prevention should be sure to read The Mourning Report. 

Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this #memoir
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This book was an emotional journey through interviews with people who could provide insight into the life and death of the author’s mother. In an attempt to make peace with her mom’s death years later, Garvey sets up with interviews with people who were connected to her mother in some way, or connected to death. This book is an emotional and eye opening read and I would definitely recommend it. 

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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It was very hard to rate this book in stars I want to give it a four but let me explain.

As I enjoyed this book and the journey to find answers, to feel whole again I found well I was reading it that my mind would trail off as I am still reading. 

In one of the interviews they talk about life and death and how babies come into the world and then I found myself thinking of my daughters birth and how scared I was , I thought I was going to lose her, made me tear up a bit ... ( won’t leave you hanging, my daughter was born 7 weeks early, 4lbs 11 1/2 oz and once she was born she was taken from me, I didn’t meet her for three hours... she’s now 9)

Another interview was talking about death and dressing a body ... this again had me trailing off to when my family had to pick a outfit for my brother, it was my first time having to be involved and I was uncomfortable but I suggested his Shawn John suit... and that’s what he was cremated in. ( yes I am still grieving but when dose driving end? Is there a time line?)

This is a great book, makes you think, makes you cry and I feel like it deserves more then a three star but it didn’t suck me in... he was a very quick and easy read. 

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book. Also thank you to Caitlin Garvey  for sharing your journey and I do hope you found peace.
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The Mourning Report is the memoir of a daughter who is still processing her mother's death 10 years later. She sets out to find closure and healing by interviewing people who were there in the 36 hours on either side of her mother's death. Her hope is that talking with them about that time will help her to understand her mom's death in ways she has not been able to thus far. 
This book is terribly depressing. I was grateful that it was a short read because the weight of gloom throughout the book was difficult to get through.
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“I grieve for her, and I grieve for the mother I didn’t get to know. I grieve over the gaps. I grieve for order, and I grieve for comfort.”

This book is a compelling account of the author’s journey on her attempts to come to terms with the grief of losing her mother and resonate with one of life’s greatest tragedy, death. 

While walking readers down her memory lane, the author was open and honest, her state of mine was revealing, the sentiments stirred were achingly provoking and difficult to ignore. 

Today, as I write this review, it is my late brother’s one year anniversary. It took me a long time to finish the book, because it is relatable. For those of us who are left behind, we do grieve, for them, we grieve for the person we did not get to know, we grieve over the gaps, we grieve for order, we grieve for comfort, we grieve for what ifs and we grieve for the people they left behind. 

I just reviewed The Mourning Report by Caitlin Garvey. #NetGalley
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I've been racking my brain for the better part of 15 minutes trying to figure out how to write this review. I can't think of a way to do it tactfully, so I'm simply going to say that while I finished it, I didn't enjoy reading this book at all. To be honest, the best thing about it was the fact that all things considered, it was a short book so I didn't have to devote much time to it. 2 stars.
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If my heartstrings played a song while I read this book, it would be Cryin’ by Joe Satriani. That song reaches in and tugs at my emotional core, as did this book.

Caitlin Garvey writes with raw honesty and vulnerability about her experience with loss, faith, sexuality, and mental health. Her story is personal but also relatable.

Perhaps it’s strange to say I loved a book that deep-dives into death. I did, though. I read this book in one afternoon because I didn’t want to put it down.

I could toss words at you, like poignant, captivating, and thought-provoking. I could list all the ways in which this book is so much more than I expected. But, ultimately, I think the reading experience will be a little different for everyone who reads it, just as loss and love are different for each of us. Maybe this book is like a hand stretched out in the ether, offering a human connection, if we’re willing.
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