Tag Archives: Leah Hager Cohen

The Real in Fiction: Emily Rapp’s “Notes of a Dragon Mom”

Our experiences have taught us how to parent for the here and now, for the sake of parenting, for the humanity implicit in the act itself, though this runs counter to traditional wisdom and advice.

-Emily Rapp, “Notes of a Dragon Mom”

This article made me think of Leah Hager Cohen’s The Grief of Others, the way knowing your child will die can change you, change everything. The way saying that and knowing that seems like the most obvious, silly observation, and yet you can’t stop looking away, can’t stop observing the ruins. While this is different in its truth, its realness, it is the gut from which Cohen’s story — and stories like it — come. And seeing a woman of letters write about the experience in a way that can communicate and empathize with others in situations similar and startlingly different is why I write. It’s why I read. It’s like those zombie films (I’ve been watching The Walking Dead, forgive me), where all they really know to do is search for anyone — everyone — who is, like them, still alive despite it all.

This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.

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Review: The Grief of Others

I’ll be honest – it was the cover of Leah Hager Cohen’s The Grief of Others that made me pick it up off the library display table. It looked like the cover on some movie, which is usually a deterrent, but there was something eerie but welcoming about this one. I mean look at it, you want to enter but you know there’s a chance you might never leave.

Having read the book now, it’s funny that that was my initial reaction. Characters are drawn to this house, as I was to its image. As though Lady Liberty herself stood on their front lawn, the Ryries’ house draws suffering to it. Whether Cohen is saying that misery does indeed love company, or it is only by empathizing and witnessing the suffering of others that we can truly heal, she does so with a light pen.
Continue reading

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Notes on: The Grief of Others

Lately my train rides have passed without complaint, thanks to Leah Hager Cohen’s The Grief of Others. I’ve managed to keep up my late night and I-wish-my-commute-was-longer reading sessions from Perrotta’s The Leftovers on into this next book.

I’m a little over halfway through, and I anticipate having a review ready and up in the next couple weeks, but in the meantime I thought I’d drop a few tasty morsels that I jotted down hurriedly yesterday afternoon.

The vast spearmint distance she felt between herself and everyone — everything — else was almost, she imagined, what royals must feel, and forevermore Ricky would link mourning with royalty, and royalty with mourning; for the rest of her days, the words king and queen would remind her of deep sorrow.

The Grief of Others, page 135

And, possible spoiler alert! Continue reading

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