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The Widower's Notebook: A Memoir Bets On...

The Widower's Notebook: A Memoir

July 2018

Years ago, I met Jonathan Santlofer at a thriller writer event; I was a fan of his work, and he was a lot of fun to talk to. He has a quick wit and is the kind of person who can turn a casual evening into an adventure, which happened with him more than once. His latest work, THE WIDOWER'S NOTEBOOK, is not a thriller, but rather a memoir in which he looks at his first two years as a widower. In doing so, he draws back the curtain on every emotion and the days when he felt void of emotion. Readers will see the cloudy haze of grief that envelops him and how he emerges from that fog.

Four years ago, I heard that his wife, Joy, had died suddenly. I knew that after her death, he and his daughter, Doria, had devoted themselves to getting a book that Joy had been working on about the history of food in New York published. But I did not know much more. I see why now. Jonathan was going through the motions and in something of a fog after Joy’s sudden passing; reading it, I could feel him trying to write and swim towards the surface.

THE WIDOWER’S NOTEBOOK is written with abject honesty as well as humor, the latter of which is often self-deprecating. It has brilliant emotion, heart and pacing. Though it is not a thriller, you can feel strains of that as he chases down the results of Joy’s autopsy, zigging and zagging us with him as he struggles to find answers. There is so much packed into every chapter. The one with the witless things people say will have you thinking before you babble to someone who is grieving, because honestly that is probably what it is going to sound like.

Years ago, when my friend Jamie lost her husband, she told me that what she missed the most was having someone to do nothing with. That feeling of knowing that there is someone in the house and in the room, and you are comfortable talking to them, or not. Jonathan captures that and a lot more in his book. Oh, and in addition to being a compelling writer, Jonathan is a very talented artist. Throughout the book are lovely drawings of his wife, as well as his daughter and himself.

This book would make for a great book group discussion, especially for groups whose members have been touched by the death of a loved one.

The Widower's Notebook: A Memoir
by Jonathan Santlofer

  • Publication Date: July 10, 2018
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • ISBN-10: 0143132490
  • ISBN-13: 9780143132493