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Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers


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About the Author

Dr. Earl A. Grollmana pioneer in the field of crisis intervention, was rabbi of the Beth El Temple Center in Belmont, Massachusetts, for thirty-six years. A certified death educator and counselor, he was cited as "Hero of The Heartland" for his work with the families and volunteers of the Oklahoma City bombing. Dr. Grollman has spoken at many colleges, clergy institutes, seminaries, physicians' forums, and hospital nursing associations, and has addressed many support groups, such as Compassionate Friends, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Widows Personal Services. He has also appeared on national television and radio, includingThe Oprah Winfrey Show, Children's Journal, All Things Considered,andMister Rogers' Neighborhood.Recently, he was featured on National Public Radio'sEnd of Lifeseries in the roundtable discussion on grief and bereavement.


Gr 7 Up-- The major themes here are that unexpressed grief is damaging, and that the manner of grieving and its length are individual matters. There is also advice on directing rage constructively . In general, Grollman views the rituals established by organized religion as helpful. He writes from a universal perspective, for readers of any affiliation or none, presenting practical coping strategies for everyday life. He encourages teens to face the new reality, to seek out support groups, confide their thoughts to a journal, or go for counselling. Danger signals that indicate a need for professional help are listed. The one source given is the address of the ``National Directory of Children's Support Systems.'' The book contains much wisdom; unfortunately, its style and format impede the message. It is repetitive, making the same point in slightly different ways. Especially annoying is the interpolation of glib, sometimes banal aphorisms into sensitive passages of prose. On each page a few sentences are set against an expanse of white background, making the advice look more like free verse and giving an unfocused, run-on impression. The book concludes with self-help exercises that are entirely out-of-step with what has preceded them. More sophisticated and comprehensive than Elizabeth Richter's Losing Someone You Love (Putnam, 1986), but lacking the social history component of Margaret and Lawrence Hyde's Meeting Death (Walker, 1989), this title has potential, but sadly disappoints. --Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY

'I thank God for Earl Grollman, and I thank Earl Grollman for this long-overdue book for grieving teenagers. Not only is it a treasure for kids, but it should be read by every school counselor and youth minister in America.' --Janice Harris Lord, national director of Victim Services, Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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