Sophie Stanton married at age 33 and was a widow by age 36. Sophie is lost in an empty house, her family is 3,000 miles away and she's working in a job from hell. Sophie's resolve to be "a Jackie Kennedy kind of widow" fell apart three months later when she drove her car through the garage door twice.
Totally un-Jackie like, Sophie goes to work in her pajamas and pink bunny slippers, has a breakdown in the produce department of the grocery store and sleeps in an unmade bed full of Oreo cookie crumbs from the family pack of Oreo's she consumed in her bed.
Finally, Sophie decides to move to Oregon, where her best friend lives, to start over. She toasts her decision with a martini in her husband's empty urn. Starting over is not as easy as she thought. She gets a job as a waitress in a local restaurant. After some incidents she is moved to the kitchen, where she shines. Sophie has a real talent for creating desserts and ultimately decides to open her own bakery.
At the same time, Sophie tries to find "solace in offering solace to others". She signs up to be a "big sister". Instead of a love starved sweet adorable little girl, Sophie's little sister is an irreverent thirteen year old named Crystal. Crystal lives alone with an uncaring mother, is struggling in school, has a morbid fascination with fire and has more emotional problems then Sophie.
Adding to the hectic pace, Sophie's going senile ex-mother-in-law, who never really liked Sophie, shows up one day for a visit and doesn't leave. The three become a not your normal family.
When Sophie meets a potential romantic interest, she struggles to realize that life is no longer about being a widow.
Sophie goes through all the stages of grief with humor, wit and charm. You find yourself wanting to laugh and cry at the same time.
Ms. Foreman reads Good Grief as if she is telling her own story. You feel the grief, sarcasm, humor and love. Good listening.
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - June 14, 2004
Good Grief is a story about a woman who was widowed far too young. Married only three years, she finds herself a widow at the ripe old age of thirty-six, Sophie Stanton, wants to model her widowhood after such famous widows as Jackie Kennedy. However, no matter how good her intentions, Sophie just doesn't have it in her to be a graceful, sophisticated widow. Rather she's more down-to-earth and apt to dress in a comfy bathrobe rather than austere widows' reeds.
Bereft of her husband, Sophie has fallen into an understandable depression. Often she doesn't get out of bed, and when she does, she doesn't seem to be able function properly. From driving a car through a garage to stuffing herself with ice-cream, Sophie is drowning in grief. When she finally hits bottom and realizes that she has a problem, she sets out to turn her life around - with comical results.
Written by Lolly Winston, and energetically read by Amanda Foreman, Good Grief is both humorous and moving. The story follows Sophie as she comes to terms with her grief, and how it almost causes her to lose everything in her life - including her house and her job, and how she goes about rebuilding her shattered life. To rebuild her life, Sophie takes the momentous leap and moves to Ashland, Oregon where she becomes a 'Big Sister' and finds salvation in the form of Crystal, a streetwise thirteen-year-old girl. As we would hope, Sophie also rediscovers love, although not in the form that we, or Sophie, would have first imagined.
Good Grief is a dark comedy that will have you laughing, and crying, with Sophie. There is a little Sophie in all of us, and this book will resonate with anyone who has ever had to deal with the loss of a loved one. Don't start this book unless you have time to listen to it all in one sitting - it is simply un-put-downable!
The Blind Assassin, By Margaret Atwood.
Two books for the price of one - a science fiction story about blind assassins and sacrificial virgins, and the fictionalized autobiography of Iris Chase Griffen that chronicles her attempts to see through the mysteries surrounding her sister's death. (Large Print)
Back When We Were Grownups, by Anne Tyler.
Tyler has crafted a unique coming of age tale in which Rebecca, a 53-year-old grandmother and professional party giver, suddenly wonders if she has "turned into the wrong person." (Large Print)