Book Reviews of How it Feels When a Parent Dies

How it Feels When a Parent Dies
How it Feels When a Parent Dies
Author: Jill Krementz
ISBN-13: 9780394519111
ISBN-10: 0394519116
Publication Date: 5/12/1981
Pages: 128
Edition: 1st ed
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

5 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
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This is a set of 18 interviews, with photos, of children who have had a parent die. The kids were ages 7-16 at the time of the interviews; two of them are sisters. Krementz is a documentary photographer and writer. She has an extraordinary talent for eliciting genuine feelings from her subjects, and her photos of the kids, some with other family members or pets, are wonderful. I dislike many self-help/grief support books, especially those aimed at children, because they're sappy, preachy, or talk down to kids. This book is none of those. These stories ring true, and Krementz treats both her interviewees and her readers with great respect.

Krementz has written a series of these books: How It Feels ... When a Parent Dies, To Be Adopted, When Parents Divorce, To Live With a Physical Disability, and several others. I first discovered these books many years ago. I was newly divorced, and my children were 6 and 2 years old, and I was looking for things to help all three of us through the trauma. How It Feels When Parents Divorce was invaluable to all of us. Years later, I gave my daughter How It Feels To Be Adopted. (Although I'm the only father she's ever known, I'm actually her adoptive stepfather. Her blood father was completely absent from her life until a couple of years ago.) She was having some issues about being adopted, and she found that book very comforting too.

The How It Feels books are officially written for kids, but I think they're stealth therapy for adults too. When I bought When Parents Divorce, I not only read it with my kids, but I read it a lot on my own too. It not only helped me understand what my kids might be feeling, but it helped me understand myself. I was still reeling from the aftermath of my failed marriage, and struggling to reach my own buried emotional self -- my wounded inner child, to use the pop-psychology term -- and When Parents Divorce help me identify and express a lot of what I was feeling. It did a lot to heal my inner child.

I can't praise this book enough. Highly recommended for all ages.