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When Bad Things Happen to Good People Paperback – Aug 24 2004

80 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (Aug. 24 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400034728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400034727
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Rarely does a book come along that tackles a perennially difficult human issue with such clarity and intelligence. Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi facing his own child's fatal illness, deftly guides us through the inadequacies of the traditional answers to the problem of evil, then provides a uniquely practical and compassionate answer that has appealed to millions of readers across all religious creeds. Remarkable for its intensely relevant real-life examples and its fluid prose, this book cannot go unread by anyone who has ever been troubled by the question, "Why me?" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this book features Rabbi Kushner's perspective on how people can better deal with evil that enters their lives.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nikolay Alexandrovich Romanov on Dec 1 1999
Format: Paperback
My grandaughter is now 12. The book is dangerous. Readers need approach this when they are emotionally and spiritually strong not in crisis. I was told this book could help me in a crisis mode and I approached it thinking I could use the book as a spiritual guide in dealing grief. I would tell anyone that is in crisis mode and believes in a kind and loving and interacting God to talk with their spiritual leader and stay away from this book. This philosophy is not kind. It is brutal and those in crisis don't need the brutal approach.
It is interesting reading when you can view it and not be involved. Go to your place of worship read cs lewis A Grief Observed.
I read WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE and then HOW GOOD DO WE HAVE TO BE. I have a 7 year old Granddaughter with a brain tumor who has endured one year of hell. I don't believe anymore. Both of Mr. Kushner's books are logical, perhaps too much so and maybe too simple in theory. If God is passive then why do we pray at all because God 'can do nothing' and why would he give one family strength to endure life over the person who does not ask. If God assumes no role, I can't believe. I can't believe in a loving God that could be passive with sickness,war,and events of hunger,and human destruction. The books have created more thought processing in my life than any other book because they challenged my belief in a God of intervention. The answer according to Mr. Kushner is to be thankful for life and accept what we have created for ourselves or life has given us. I can't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandi Norman on April 7 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My little daughter had a genetic illness that there was no cure for. We had a hope that a procedure called a bone marrow transplant may be able to help her. It was 1988, there were only two places available at this time. Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, B.C. It was all so new. I was terrified, I din't know how I was going to get through this, I had so many questions that there were no answers for. Someone told me about this book. Rabbi Kushner lost his own son and he speaks of his journey as a father first and then as a Rabbi, a man of God who was faced with an earth shattering truth. His struggle was one that every parent who has ever had to deal with a life and death crisis, no every person, searches for something to make some sense of our tragedy. To find a way to get up every day and take another step. He helped me immensely, I could go on, one day at a time, sometimes, one breath at a time, until my little girl died two years after I read the book. And then it helped me go forward from there. I was lucky enough to meet him a few years later when he came to Nova Scotia to speak. I have given a copy of this book to several people over the years and also to some clergy. I gave another away just last week to a friend whose Grandchild is terminally ill. My loss was twenty three years ago but what bought me here today is that I have just purchased another copy. I still have my original copy, well thumbed and highlighted but I always like to have another just in case. This is an excellent book, if you or someone you love are in pain, you really should buy a copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Matthews on Dec 2 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before reading this book, the first thing that came to mind, as I noticed the title was, "They find a way to turn things around."
I had no idea that this book would be such a wonderful book about accepting life, on life's terms.
But first, let's look at what causes bad things:
1. The laws of nature
2. Chaos
3. An act of nature
4. Human choices
5. Self-punishment when things go wrong
6. Accidents
7. Expectations of others that can't be fulfilled
8. Denial of emotional immaturity
9. Our reactions to our own hurt and anger
This book teaches readers how to accept any kind of loss as part of the human condition.
This book also tells us that God doesn't cause accidents, sickness or disasters.
When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they chose to live a life of choices, as knowledge is about choices. They were no longer in the category of animals. And with those choices God gave humanity choices, feelings and a need to congregate with other human beings, to affirm who we are.
God is here to build strength, courage, and a sense of human connection - when we are ready to ask ourselves, "Now that this has happened, what am I going to do about it?" And, "Whom does this suffering serve?"
"Let me sugggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any good reason which would cause us to accept them willingly. But we can give them a meaning."
It is a book to be read over and over again, to become more compassionate, as compassion is the language of God.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Hersh-Gilbert on Oct. 6 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" when it first came out five years ago. At that time, I found it interesting. But it was not until I lived through the deaths of two of my closest friends and I reread Kushner's classic that the book hit me with full force.
Two recent books also were important to me during this dark period. I recommend all three of these books for anyone going through difficult times:
During the early summer, two of my best friends, both women in their 40's, died of breast cancer. I searched for books that would offer me help with my grieving, and a perspective on what I was going through. Most of the books I found were long on faith and hope, and short on thought. And then I discovered two books, both recently published, that saved my life. These were Harold Kushner's "The Lord is My Shepherd" and Dennis Shulman's "The Genius of Genesis." I thank Harold Kushner and Dennis Shulman for giving me a way of understanding life and death in a broader context.
All three of these books tenderly guided me through my valley of the shadow of death and toward healing, and, for this, I am grateful.
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