Cover Image: Good Grief

Good Grief

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Member Reviews

I don't think I've ever cried this much reading any other book. That's not a bad thing, but definitely not a book I'd read on the bus. Fair warning. Maybe you're more stoic, but I an not.

On these pages, E.B. Bartels discusses the many ways animals.touch our lives and the lasting effects of losing them. Having grown up with pets and having had many of my own as an adult, the book brought back memories of my own lost pets through the stories of others' experiences and grief. This book isn't only about death, but also about the lives of these animals and the people they loved and who loved them.

I started this book and got distracted by life, but picked it up again about 6 months or so after having to make that difficult final decision for my dog, Reilly. Sometimes, timing is everything and I quickly read, both smiling and crying at times through to the end. It was interesting to see the various methods people use to handle their grief. This book is a good reminder that we aren't alone in our grief and the animal was never "just a dog/cat/horse/etc" and deserves to be remembered regardless how long ago s/he passed.

Thanks to Mariner Books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Mariner Books as well as the author for this ARC.
#NetGalley #MarinerBooks #EBBartels #GoodGrief

Many of us have been destroyed by the loss of a non-human family member.  Sometimes, just the thought of the inevitable loss is enough to take my breath away.  This book is a must read for any animal lover, not to mention any pet guardian.  I’m glad I read this collection of essays.  I have been in this unfortunate position many times and there will be many more.  It’s good to know that this book is here for me.  
Throughout this book, we learn about the different ways of mourning and caring for pets after death across time and culture.  We learn about the grief process for both humans and animals.  We learn about the authors past pets.  This is handled with love and care.  It’s uplifting, heartbreaking, interesting, and sweet.  I’m grateful for this book.
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A collection of essays--each one titled with a witty alliteration, elegantly meanders through E.B.'s personal experiences with pet grief and robustly researched examples of the way people grieve the loss of pets throughout history. I learned so much about the unique (and all valid) ways people deal with such a great loss-- from various ceremonies enacted to honor a pet to some way of creating keepsakes as a remembrance. At the heart of this book, we see just how very real losing a pet is the same as losing any family member. As E.B. points out, losing a pet is often the first time we experience grief. 

Your heart will ache and feel full from the stories told in this book! Anyone who has lost a pet will find comfort in these stories. I highly recommend this!
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Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. Good Grief by E.B. Bartels explores the connection between pets and their owners and the very real hurt that happens when these animals die. In a historical context through modern day, E.B. delves into how pets were saluted and given their own grave sites into not seen as worthy and now coming back as companions worthy of grief and memorials. A very touching book.
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Rarely does a book make me reflect on my life and the lives of the animals I cherish. There are parts that may aggrieve the reader, but there are also many parts where you may find yourself smiling. I a honored to have received an advanced copy of this book because I felt such joy from reading each chapter.
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This was a hard one to read as I am an animal lover. I think the author did a great job discussing loss and how people go though it in different ways. I enjoyed this even though it was sad.
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E.B. Bartels gives us this collection of stories sharing some of the most important events in people's lives. All people have a relationship with animals. Whether they are in their homes or in nature. Each chapter will share the effects of seeing animals die, either falling out of a fishbowl or witnessing a cat being run down by a car. We experience grief. Bartels offers a positive approach by creating relationships with the animals as if one word characterizes an animal's importance to carry us through. We expect changes in good ways. Good Grief gives us the reality of suffering animals' fate, yet we can reflect on passing through sharing.

Though our experiences with pets happen in their presence, we express our dearest remembrances after their passing. Good Grief will help people realize the natural events of living and dying outside the human realm. The ideas present subjectivity and forge a relationship with a positive theme.
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E.B. Bartels’ nonfiction book about the ways humans react to the death of their pets is more than just a sociological study. It’s also a deeply personal look inward for the author and a reflection on her own response to the end of her former pets’ lives. Bartels’ love for animals is evident in every paragraph, and all animal lovers will relate to her as a narrator.

As a foster parent to multiple senior dogs, I’ve spent a lot of time preparing for and handling the end of beloved pets’ lives, so I knew I would relate deeply to this book and the subject matter. But I did NOT know that I would find myself in tears a half-dozen times as I read, relating to every source Bartels interviewed, and viscerally feeling every emotion with them. The research that went into the creation of this novel is remarkable, and the way in which Bartels weaves her personal experiences with those of vets, friends, psychologists, religious leaders, scientists, and dozens of others is seamless.

I recommend this book for anyone who has ever loved and lost a pet, wondered if their emotional response to their pet loss was “normal,” been curious about the lavish arrangements the rich make for their pets, or wondered anything else about what happens when pets leave us (from cloning, to taxidermy, to what happens to service dogs when they retire). Bartels’ tone is that of a good-humored friend telling you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about pets and their deaths, and everything you didn’t know yet that you were curious about. I’m so glad this book exists.

Thanks to NetGalley and Mariner Books for this ARC E-book in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this book! I wish I had this when my beloved dog died, would have helped me feel so much less alone. So well-researched and thoughtful and the voice was great. Highly recommend!
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If I could I would give this a hundred stars . What a heartfelt book so full of loving tributes to the power of animals both pets and working in our lives . 
Well written and jam packed with interesting anecdotes and personal memories from the author ‘s own pet experiences .
Though the book is about the loss of pets it is much more about what we find in the power of our love of animals … the power to live . I plan to buy many copies for friends and the little libraries in my community .
Thank you Net Galley for the honor to review this book and thank you to the author by making the world a better place by writing it .
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My profound thanks to the publisher, Net Galley and to the author for this wonderful book. Having lost a 21 year old and 19 year old beloved cat companions I was interested in reading this book about pet grief. Our culture does not recognize pet grief and most of us suffer in silence. The author brings the grieving process for our companions to the surface and has wonderful insights here to coping with pet loss grief. The sections on the history of pet loss and rituals was informative and interresting to the subject. I found this a remarkable body of work  of pet grief and will recommend it to friends in the future.  This book will lift your spirits and prove that you are not alone in grieving your companion animals. Well done to the author.
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I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I LOVED it!!! It's nice to know I'm not alone with grieving for a pet  decades after it's death. There is plenty packed in this book, and it's not depressing!  I think I went through at least 10 tissues while reading this. If you love your pets, both the deceased ones and live ones, get this book!!!
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Thank you Francesca from Harper Collins for sending me this book directly!

"When we open our hearts to animals, death is the inevitable price."

E.B. Bartels’ really did her research on this! I learned a lot about pet death, including how people chose cloning and taxidermy as an option. *I didn’t know you could clone a pet and that it costs $50k.*

I loved how Bartels’ takes us through different traditions and cultures from Egypt, Japan, and America. I love how people are the same across cultures when it comes to losing a pet even if there are differences in how we deal with them. Not only did I learn a lot, but we also get to read about Bartels’ experience with loving and losing pets. You won’t leave this book tear free, specifically if you've lost a pet too but this definitely is very validating. I recommend this quick yet informative read for any pet or animal lover! I highlighted quite a few different passages/quotes but the one below really spoke to me as I could relate and when I was going through my own loss - I felt very alone.

"Just because an animal is gone, even if its death is long in the past, that doesn't mean that pet isn't part of you. It doesn't mean that the experience of having that pet didn't profoundly change you, or make your life better, or help you become a stronger, happier person. And even if it's been six years, thirteen years, a whole lifetime, those animals still deserve to be honored and remembered."

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book! I'm happy to have had it sent my way.
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256 pages

4 stars

Having loved and lost several pets in my long life, I was reluctant to choose this book. I didn’t want to bring all that grief back to the forefront of my mind. But I chose it anyway. To my surprise, it helped soothe the pain of loss. I kept thinking fondly of the pets I had lost (not without a tear or two), but I also remembered the good times. The times we had fun and the unconditional love they provided me. 

I still feel sad, but also I’m glad I read the book. I strongly recommend it. 

I want to add that I think my favorite pet cemetery is the one in Japan where the author witnessed the ceremony. I thought that was beautiful. 

The book contains a bibliography for those who want to further explore the subject. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins/Mariner Press for forwarding to me a copy of this very informative book for me to read and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.
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This review will go live on The Wellesley News in the next few weeks! I'll update my NetGalley review with the link once it's up.
The first time I met E.B. Bartels ’10, she was guest lecturing in my first year writing class. I had just gotten the idea for “Dear Wendy” a cool two days prior, having sent my first shaky queries to literary agents for a now-shelved project. (Yes, I dug up my WRIT 144 syllabus to see exactly when her guest lecture was.)
And there E.B. was, ten years out from Wellesley, with a whole book deal with HarperCollins, telling our class about how to be better writers. She literally could not have been cooler. 
E.B. and I have talked a number of times since then, sharing stories of the publishing industry as she’s neared publication. A year and a half after that guest lecture (that I barely remember), I’ve finally gotten to read the book in question: “Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter.” It’s far from my usual tastes — I rarely read nonfiction, and the only pet I’ve ever had was a fish. And yet, this is one of my favorite reads of the year.
Part memoir, part research and wholly filled with both heart and humor, “Good Grief” explores the experience of losing a pet and the human connection it brings. Across cultures and time, people have mourned their pets in a lot of different ways, and through interviews with experts and regular people, as well as in personal anecdotes, Bartels weaves together tales of dead pets and the humans who grieve them. 
I’m not quite sure what I expected going into this book, but it’s oddly fitting that “Good Grief” is what it is. Bartels has cared for lots of pets over the years, and as we read chapters on how different people grieve their pets, information is sprinkled with anecdotes about all of Bartels’ own dead pets. 
From a guinea pig that wouldn’t stop biting to a tortoise who escaped a backyard to Bartels’ two family dogs, stories about all these dead (or not — who knows if the tortoise is actually still kicking it) pets brought me to giggles and to tears and sometimes both. I particularly felt a sense of connection with a story about a betta fish named Wanda shared by Bartels’ first year triple at Wellesley. 
(You might guess already that the fish died, but I’ll save the cause of death for readers of “Good Grief.” All I’ll say is that it felt like a very Wellesley way to die, if that makes any sense.)
I had absolutely no idea there were so many ways that people deal with the loss of their pets. I suppose I knew that you could taxidermy a dog or sneak a dog’s ashes into a person’s coffin, but as I was shown more and more paths a grieving human could take, I felt awed by the diversity of pet mourning possibilities.
Now, of course this is a biased review. I won’t even pretend that it’s not; I know E.B., after all. But take this as a recommendation anyway: “Good Grief” is a fantastic read, whether you’re an avid animal enthusiast or haven’t even owned a single fish. I think I want to get a dog now.
“Good Grief” comes out on Aug. 2, 2022. I received an early copy from the publisher, Mariner Books (an imprint of HarperCollins), in exchange for an honest review. Also, if the College doesn’t get E.B. to do a book signing on campus, I will riot.
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I knew when I requested this book that it would be a hard read for me. I'm nearly at the one year anniversary of the loss of my beloved Savannah, the dog in my profile picture, and while I've been down this road quite a few times throughout my life, for some reason the loss of her has hit so much harder and I've not managed to move past the sharp knife of early grief. I originally read this book in April, but found I needed to take some space and reread it a month later when I was a bit more prepared for what was coming.

Bartels takes us on a trip through the lives of her past pets while simultaneously taking us on a current tour of pet cemeteries and memorials of all types in order to discuss and understand the different ways that people have mourned and honored the loss of their companion animals. It is touching and heartbreaking and a labor of love. I can see how it might also be comforting to know that others have felt the same way, but in finding myself overwhelmed in my personal grief still, I wasn't quite able to experience that. In the end, the passion and respect and love of animals shines through, making this an important read for anyone who loves animals.

My thanks to Mariner Books, the author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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"Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter", by E.B. Bartels, is all about the privilege of owning a pet and the heartbreak of losing them. Bartels is very open and candid about his own pets and the pain he's experienced. I appreciate his candor, and the reminder of what a wonderful thing it is to love and by loved by an animal.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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I wrote this book and I am very proud of it. I spent almost a full decade researching and writing it, and I hope that through sharing my own stories about grieving my own dead pets and hearing about the ways that other people have mourned their animals both in the present day and throughout history, fellow pet owners will know that they are not alone in their feelings. Thank you so much for reading.
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This book is such a joy and a comfort to read. I truly can’t wait until it’s out because I’m going to give a copy to every single person I know. For real.
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