Book Review: Some Guidelines
by Kara L.C. Jones

I was going to review a book this month, I swear. But the books I had in the stack were so disappointing that I couldn't even get through an entire manuscript without being so ill that I wanted to throw up. So I thought that this month, maybe I would offer some tips and guidelines here to let you know a little about what snags me into reviewing a work and what gags me into filling the recycling bin.

1) In regards to life after the death of a child: Grief is grief is grief. I will not acknowledge or give review to books where there are qualifications of grief. A miscarriage is not worse or better on the grief scale than stillbirth - *in fact, there is no grief scale*. The death of an adult child is no less painful for that bereaved parent than is the death of a stillborn. We love because we love. The amount of time we spent with our children does not qualify our love and grief. And if you can honestly say that you love your older living children more than your younger living children just because you've spent more time with the older ones, then you know? You need some serious parent education. Bottom line: I will not review anything that compares or qualifies the grief of bereaved parents after the death of a child.

2) While there are many kinds of grief and loss in our world, I am interested in works exploring life-after-the-death-of-a-child. I, too, have lost pets, jobs, partners, even my house and all my belongings. And being homeless in my car sucked. And while all of those things were very difficult for me and can be the end of the world for others, my interest is in exploring grief and loss within the context of life-after-the-death-of-a-child. I do not think that losing or quitting your job involves more pain than the death of a child. Losing or quitting your job may ADD TO or RESULT FROM living life-after-the-death-of-a-child. But I am not interested in works that set these other losses into comparison with the death of a child. And I am not interested in the context of those losses alone. Bottom line: If you are writing about life-after-the-death-of-a-child -- maybe even about these other losses after the death of a child -- then I am interested. But if you qualify any of that saying that the other losses were "worse" than the death of a child -- no way, not interested.

3) People are people are people. Grief has taught me that mothers and fathers grieve just as much for their sons as they do their daughters. So while I once was a proud feminist fighting for the equality of women, I am now a proud PERSON wishing for the equality of all PEOPLE. Yes, people grieve differently. But I do not believe those difference fall along gender lines. Our difference come because PEOPLE are different. None of us is from Venus nor Mars -- we are all from Earth, and if we don't learn to appreciate the "different and the same" in all PEOPLE soon, we are going to be our own self destruction on this planet. So please do not send me works that promote the segregation of the genders. Bottom line: Segregation of the genders is as bad as segregation of the races. I'm not on board for either kind of segregation.

Those things are pretty general maybe. But it's a start. Please consider these things before sending works to me, okay? I simply wish to offer solid resources for bereaved parents. I'm not interested in being a "critic" who thrives on publicly bashing individual pieces of work. So save yourself the postage and the recycling of your book by moi, and think about it before you send in your works!

Many thanks.


Reviewer Biography
Kara L.C. Jones lives, works, loves, and plays on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. She is a bereaved mommy to Dakota and a staunch advocate for revolution in the health care systems that claim to help bereaved families in the U.S. and in the world. If you have comment or question, please email her at

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