Bad Review?

A friend didn’t like my new book!!!

Since I really didn’t anticipate that response from him, I felt disappointed, and wondered if he could be right….after all, he is a retired medical doctor whose opinion I respect.

Naturally, I was sorry that my book had somehow let him down which was not my intention. So I was curious to understand where I had gone wrong, wondering if others might feel the same way… that I had perhaps overlooked something fundamental.

The major clue I had to work with was, he said, he ‘Was expecting some kind of “self-help” book, and he didn’t find it at all “helpful” at reducing pain, or suffering, or providing a remedy for grief.

Then I got it! It’s what most of us want when dealing with harsh circumstances beyond our control – when our lives have gone off the tracks – when we’re feeling helpless and fearful, confused and overwhelmed, vulnerable and alone, lost, and angry.

You see, we’ve not been taught to deal with these sporadic stormy situations very well. So when a devastating event happens to us, one of our first inclinations is to react with ‘fight – or flight’, denial or avoidance, or look for a fast solution; and to help us, there are plenty of ‘self-help’ books to protect and save us on every subject imaginable.

And my book “The Secret Pond” obviously didn’t provide the ‘magic self-help bullet’ – he was seeking, even though he read it twice, I suppose, thinking he might have overlooked it the first time.

But he didn’t! Because frankly, the ‘answers’ just aren’t there to be found. And it told me I’d better not expect to retire on my sale royalties and move to a safe haven in a sunny warm climate, the island of my dreams…

So, if you too, take the chance and read my book looking for the ‘answer’ to shorten or even eliminate the short or long-term effects of that age-old ‘classic’ grief, when you’ve lost a loved one, then save your money.

And it got me thinking it might not be too late (if I still wanted to retire on that idyllic island) to review the criteria of what a good book is on the subject of grief and, whether I should add some handy ‘self-help’ suggestions to try not to disappoint my reader’s needs and expectations.

So, I reviewed what I had written and also the reason why, and this is what I came up with:
In the first place, I felt it extremely important not to mislead my readers by promising something I couldn’t provide or was, indeed, in my opinion, impossible to give. And knowing a little about grief, I knew that grief is one of the worst psychological challenges that man has to face. It’s no wonder we fear and dread it!

Grief affects different people, differently and, at different times, and generally, like a powerful river, runs it’s own course with whatever it has a hold of. And we just have to either follow where the current takes us and eventually come out where we finally learn to navigate closure or, we drown in our own ignorance, by dragging ourselves to some psychological place of perceived ‘safety’.

And generally speaking, this is where we deny and resist reality and especially our emotions – more accurately, postpone them to a later date where, unbeknownst to us, they will still be waiting. In other words, “You can either pay the price of grief now – or, pay later.” (Ok, some may be lucky, if you’re a risk-taker; however, like most things under pressure, when they break, the damage is far worse.)

So, in my story, from a grief perspective, my main character, a young boy called Peter had to wait a year before he was able to come to terms with the loss of his beloved younger sister. And he did this with the help of a stranger he met on the same road as his sister died, one year before.

(Note: now if you’re looking for ‘self-help’ to deal with grief, you can make note of how beneficial it is to enlist the help of someone who can understand your grief and be willing to work together through the maze of it.)

Now what’s the next thing I chose to write about in the telling of my story:

Well, it was the significant transformation that took place in that meeting between the young boy Peter and the unexpected stranger in a similar circumstance; and I chose a deeply personal place were two souls in pain could meet to confront their grief together. And no average place either, after all, I’m a writer and the setting, as one I would conceive from my nature, had to be fanciful for such sensitive and tender subjects as love, loss and grief.

So I created a beautiful and magical ancient forest and a mystical pond where miracles could happen with the help of nature…..

And it was here that the two of them did what they had to do for each other to find the peace and meaning in grief they sought and to restore the love, that they were both seeking so desperately. And, in the end, they discovered a whole new way of looking at grief and the true meaning of life.

Granted this was their way and as I said grief is a personal matter, different for each person; however, not so different, that two total strangers weren’t able to discover some common ground and together heal their broken hearts. Of course, you’ll have to read all about their relationship to see if there are any ‘self-help’ ideas in that, and who knows you might find something, but I can’t guarantee it.

So failing to find the “help” you may have been looking for, what else might you find in my book to still make it worthwhile reading.

Well, as I said I went back to see for myself what I had written and came up with the following special features: It’s a simple tale – or fantasy for people of all ages, especially those who are sensitive and with a bit of imagination.

Granted this was their way and as I said grief is a personal matter, different for each person; however, not so different, that two total strangers weren’t able to discover some common ground and together heal their broken hearts. Of course, you’ll have to read all about their relationship to see if there are any ‘self-help’ ideas in that, and who knows you might find something, but I can’t guarantee it.

People who can see themselves flying; and communicating with each other through feelings rather than words; who can believe in a singing forest; and who can imagine a shallow stream, “flowing easily out of the forest over sun-dappled, silk-smooth rocks into a natural waterfall, spilling melodically into the velvet blue pool below…”.

People who can see themselves flying; and communicating with each other through feelings rather than words; who can believe in a singing forest; and who can imagine a shallow stream, “flowing easily out of the forest over sun-dappled, silk-smooth rocks into a natural waterfall, spilling melodically into the velvet blue pool below…”

Note: not much self-help there! Yet it’s a world of enchantment where anything is possible – like life, that we all need to be reminded of from time to time; so we don’t feel entirely alone and abandoned in times of loss and deepest grief.

Anyway, in the end, I concluded that it’s quite enough to write a book about love lost and found, that is first a good story and can stand on its own merits, entwined with a secondary subject of universal mystery and how two unlikely characters helped each other on a special journey through that significant and unavoidable part of life, called grief.

Oh, and it does have a happy ending, as I’ve always loved those kinds of stories! Note: I’ll let you decide which kind of book it is: a memorable, inspiring fantasy or a failed ‘self-help’ book…

Why not find out for yourself?

Order via email: billbrubacher@gmail.com  Cost $15. plus $3.60 shipping.