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Janine Kwoh's Welcome to the Grief Club is the most accessible, funny, affirming, and relatable tool I know for those grieving a loved one. Some swears, but otherwise okay for 12+.
Welcome to the club that no one ever wants to join but so many of us end up needing. We’re so sorry that you’re here.
Based on her own experience with grief—the author’s partner died when both were in their late twenties—and those of other Grief Club members, Janine Kwoh uses brief writings, illustrations, and creative diagrams to explore the wide range of emotions and experiences that grief can encompass. For anyone who has lost a loved one or who is close to someone who is grieving, Welcome to the Grief Club is a book of solace, connection, hope, and reassurance. It addresses with empathy and honesty the aspects of grief that so many of us experience but that aren’t widely discussed: the variety and volatility of emotions—sadness, anger, guilt, joy; the physical symptoms of grief; and how grief isn’t linear, but it does change and soften over time. It affirms that there is truly no right or wrong way to grieve and assures us that the things we feel that surprise us or seem strange are often common and always valid.
Humor helps us to survive, and the book uses a lighthearted approach to cover powerful topics, like supremely unhelpful things that people say to those who are grieving, grief trigger bingo, and everyday acts of resilience. This book is a companion that says, I see you and you are not alone, from one grieving person to another. It is a gentle reminder to give yourself permission to grieve for as long as—and in whichever ways—you need.
About the Author
Janine Kwoh is the owner and designer of Kwohtations, a stationery company and letterpress print and design studio. Kwohtations is an ever-evolving collection of greeting cards and gifts that reflect and celebrate a diversity of identities and life experiences, always with humor and empathy. Janine's hope is that others will recognize some of themselves in what she creates and feel a bit more seen, more connected, and less alone.
While Janine doesn’t have any formal training in writing or illustration, she believes you can learn how to do anything by reading the internet and asking for help. Exhibit A: This book. When she’s not printing cards or writing about grief, you can often find her trying to keep her ducks in a row, but one of them is always wandering off in search of snacks.
Janine currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, but considers home to be wherever her friends are.
“Grief is an overwhelming journey without a road map, but Janine Kwoh has generously given us this lantern to carry down an uncharted path. Welcome to the Grief Club provides instant community for one of the loneliest experiences a person can go through.” —Mari Andrew, New York Times bestselling author of Am I There Yet?
“Through graphics and short, compact passages, this meticulously presented guide blends wit, charm, and empathy to explore the diverse aspects of loss and grief in an immensely accessible way. . . . Kwoh’s narrative offers camaraderie and inspires hope.” —Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines
“This is a lovely, sensitive, and—dare I say—humorous take on what it is like to be a person who has lost someone very dear to you. No matter how you’ve felt or what you’ve done to cope, The Grief Club can help.” —Ms. Magazine