Book Review: Invitation to Tears

By | May 27, 2014

Invitation to Tears” is a new book coauthored by Jonalyn Fincher and Aubrie Hills. If I were to describe “Invitation to Tears” in a word, it would be “permission”—permission to grieve. The authors are sensitive to the various ways people grieve. They also recognize that the death of a loved one is not the only loss over which we may grieve. I appreciated this since the greatest losses I’ve experienced have been of this latter type.

My impression is that the book is written for the person who is grieving. It is divided into short, easy to read chapters. In each, Jonalyn and Aubrie attempt to express some of the emotions and experiences in the grief process, giving a few thoughtful tips along the way. If grieving, I certainly think this will be easier to get through than a deep theoretical examination of grief (though any processing of grief is likely to be difficult). On the downside, at times I had difficulty understanding the point the authors were attempting to make in a given section due to the brevity. For example, they caution against avoiding grief. But it was difficult to tell the difference between this and certain expressions of grief they describe elsewhere.

There is a “checkpoint” section found at the end of each chapter. This section contains a song or poetry, a suggested movie to watch, and accompanying questions to consider. I believe these could be helpful tools as someone slowly works through the book along with their grief. (However, I haven’t read many books on grief so I can’t compare “Invitation to Tears” to other books in the same category.)

One of the most notable parts of the book takes aim at the well known five stages of grief. Aubrie and Jonalyn prefer a “four tasks” model of grief. They describe how grief often doesn’t progress linearly as suggested by the five stages. In contrast, the tasks of the latter model may be engaged at different times and in different order. I can see how this would be helpful as well. I found some other concepts insightful also, such as anticipatory grief and the comparison of feeling verses doing in expressing grief. For more information about the book, visit the landing page.

(Note: I was sent a copy of this book and asked to provide a review.)

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