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A Grief Observed Paperback – 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060652381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060652388
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 0.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 186 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Grief Observed


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
C.S. Lewis is perhaps best known for children's stories that also delight adults; however, during his lifetime he was best known as an inspirational speaker, not quite in the same line as modern televangelists, but nonetheless a crowd-pleaser who had subtle but strong theology to share.
C.S. Lewis was a confirmed bachelor (not that he was a 'confirmed bachelor', mind you, just that he had become set enough in his ways over time that he no longer held out the prospect of marriage or relationships). Then, into his comfortable existence, a special woman, Joy Davidson, arrived. They fell in love quickly, and had a brief marriage of only a few years, when Joy died of cancer.
This left Lewis inconsolable.
For his mother had also died of cancer, when he was very young.
Cancer, cancer, cancer!
Lewis goes through a dramatic period of grief, from which he never truly recovers (according to the essayist Chad Walsh, who writes a postscript to Lewis' book). He died a few years later, the same day as the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
However, Lewis takes the wonderful and dramatic step of writing down his grief to share with others. The fits and starts, the anger, the reconciliation, the pain--all is laid bare for the reader to experience. So high a cost for insight is what true spirituality requires. An awful, awe-ful cost and experience.
'Did you know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past...'
All that was good paled in comparison to the loss. How can anything be good again? This is such an honest human feeling, that even the past is no longer what is was in relation to the new reality of being alone again.
In the end, Lewis reaches a bit of a reconciliation with his feelings, and with God.
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Format: Paperback
In the last book he'd ever write, C. S. Lewis showed a break from his usual encouraging and light-hearted discussions about Christianity in topical essays and fantasy (See The Chronicles of Narnia). A Grief Observed is compiled in the form of a diary, in which much thought and spirit had been commited, evident in the patient development of ideas over the span of days he was grieving his wife's death.

I feel it is less an inspirational book than a self-assessment book, for Lewis highlighted a few doubtful questions he had and which he believed everyone should have asked instead of being ignorant or in staunch denial. Controversial questions on God's goodness, His realness and the reasons of [some] sufferings are raised, not to stumble [the reader] but paradoxically uplift.

Interestingly, after reading this book, I wanted to know why we have hope in God, why we rejoice in His goodness which when asked about, we can only answer mindlessly with meaningless and bland model answers. Surely a Christian life demands a deeper realm of understanding and intimacy of/with God. Lewis depicted that maturity in his writing, through his boldness to admit his disappointments, his grief - which a Christian shouldn't be deprived of just because he believes in the hope of Heaven - and his doubts.

It is not a long piece of literature, nor did it explore all kinds of suffering but only parochially death. Despite that, Lewis had produced yet one of the most honest accounts in the Christian context, about his love for his wife, his faith [which before was a card castle ever so vulnerable], and God's good intention in everything He does. Even in suffering. Even in physical pain. Listen and probably what you hear is not the slam of a door and bolting locks, but a voice that will tell you to continue trusting and be at peace.

My salute to one of the most gifted and [Christian-wise] well versed writers.
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By A Customer on June 3 2002
Format: Paperback
The other reviews here give a little of CS Lewis's history and trials so I will comment on the the comfort I got while reading how another person faced the loss of a loved one.
Loss unites us all even though our situations vary. We all face the hurt, lonliness and longing for times that will never be shared with our loved one. Knowing that there will come a time when we will meet again is my great comfort.
I have found this book and other books to be a great help.
I would also recommend, Write from Your Heart, A Healing Grief Journal. Both of these books were instrumental in helping me cope with my loss.
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By A Customer on Dec 7 2001
Format: Paperback
It is important to know that we all experience a kindred feeling of loss and uncertainty. I was ashamed of myself when my Dad died. God had never let me down. I didn't understand why our prayers didn't save him. My faith was shaken. I have since grown stronger and through books like A Grief Observed and a great grief workbook, Write from Your Heart, A Healing Grief Journal, I have come to a new relationship with God and a new understanding of grief. I highly recommend both of these books to anyone who is hurting.
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By Steven R. McEvoy HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on Dec 6 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is another amazing book by Lewis, and another that I have read multiple times. I have had to read it for at least three university courses over the last 18 years. This book is unlike anything else that Lewis ever wrote. It is raw, visceral and at times disturbing, unlike most of his other work that is very precise, specific, well argued and clearly laid out.

Recently I heard this story: "Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis's stepson recently released a book about Lewis called Jack's Life. It includes a DVD interview, where Gresham states that Lewis did not intend to publish A Grief Observed; it was a personal notebook. When it was published it was under the pseudonym NW Clark and by a publisher Lewis had never published with. Gresham also said that Lewis received numerous copies of the book as gifts from friends who thought it would help." That speaks to the power in Lewis's writing; even his friends thought the book would be helpful for him as he journeyed through his grief.

Lewis states in his book The Four Loves: "We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him, throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it." That view is drastically changed when he writes Grief. In A Grief Observed we have a very different approach. Lewis presents a very visceral response to the loss of his wife. An example of this is that Lewis states at the beginning of the book: "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
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