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A Kiss Before You Go: An Illustrated Memoir of Love and Loss

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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  422 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
After the loss of his wife in a tragic accident, beloved artist Danny Gregory chronicled his grief in the medium he knows best—the pages of his illustrated journals. This intimate volume reproduces these journal pages in a stirring visual memoir of Gregory's journey towards recovery. Uniquely sincere, and by turns tender, raw, and hopeful, Gregory's idiosyncratic text and ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 28th 2012 by Chronicle Books
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Kateri Ewing
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I have met Danny Gregory three times now. Well, not physically met him, but encountered him through his art and words. He's that kind of writer though; I feel like I've known him as a friend all of my life. The first time we met it was inside of his illustrated memoir, Everyday Matters, where he chronicled his life, in words and drawings, when his wife survived a tragic accident, but was left a paraplegic. He shared his wisdom of how drawing his days saved him.

The second time we met was in his b
...more
David Schaafsma
I thought this was good, though not among the best graphic memoirs detailing grief and recovery that I have read. Does this sounds callous? I don't mean it to be so. I think I might have felt differently had I had a long experience getting to know Gregory and his wife, as others seem to have had. In his first illustrated memoir, Everyday Matters, he chronicles his relationship with her, and then focuses on how she survived falling off a train platform, getting run over by no less than three cars ...more
Joy Murray
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
A Kiss Before You Go is one of the most honest and immediate books on the grieving process I've read. There is almost an imperative in society to get over it but this journal instead honors the loss and is honest about the painful process of getting one's balance back. There is uplift, but there is a profound respect for the way grief reshapes us and hones our perspective.

The illustrations are stunning. As in his other books, the story is handwritten. Gregory often uses a dip pen and the entries
...more
Mara De Guzman
***5 Heartbreaking Lovely Inspiring Stars!!!***

My best friend bought this for me as a gift during his vacation in California. Out of nowhere, he went and asked me if I have read this book. I initially thought he was the one reading this and wanted to ask my opinion about it, and I said no but I searched it on Goodreads and read good reviews about it. He said "well okay then, I'm buying this for you." Just like that.

So when he gave this to me last week when we met up for coffee, I told him, "dude
...more
Janet
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Janet by: Teresa
Shelves: one-day-reads
A beautiful, teary-eyed read for me. Danny tracks the ups and downs of the months following his wife's death using vivid, bright illustration and snippets of thoughts and slices of life. A moving testament to how those we really love with be with us always.
Parka
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books

(More pictures on my blog)


A Kiss Before You Go is a heartfelt memoir by Danny Gregory. The pages are from sketchbooks he kept after losing his wife to an accident in 2010. He shares with with us what it is like to lose someone you love.

I read the book with a heavy heart. You can feel his emotions through his handwritten words and the beautiful watercolour sketches. There are his personal thoughts, anxiety and turmoils. It's an intimate look at how his life has changed.

The heaviness also comes fr
...more
Natasha
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of the most touching, beautiful books I have ever read. I have read three of Danny Gregory's other books and love his writing and illustration style, but these illustrations are taken to a whole new level. There is a vibrancy, and feeling of raw emotion, and the book took my breath away. I read passages in tears, and marvel at the bravery of Danny to share his journey through grief in such an honest and poignant way. To share moments of his life with the world at large, and to do it ...more
Nancy
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book to help me in processing my grief after the loss of my husband two years ago. I first ordered it for my Kindle, but quickly revalued that the format did not display well there. So I ordered the book. When I received I sat down and immediately went through it cover to cover - identifying strongly with almost every page. That has been several months ago, but every time I pick it up and open it to a random page, it still speaks to me. Thank-you, Danny Gregory, for sharing. I feel ...more
Jayne Lamb
Gregory's visual memoir - describing how he coped with the unexpected death of his wife Patti - shows that a book doesn't have to be a gigantic, Gravity's Rainbow style doorstop to be really touching and tragic. It's a slim book (readable in one sitting), illustrated and handwritten in his distinctive style. Moving, sad and inspiring, sometimes on the same page. Trying to avoid cliche, but you really will want to pay special attention to the people close to you after reading this, and realise th ...more
Elizabeth A
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction, memoir
This visual memoir covers the year after the author's wife dies. Danny writes about the highs and lows, the dark and light, the transcendent and the mundane, that is life after the loss of a loved one. The text is accompanied by drawings that are personal and draw you in, and I'd suggest reading this in print form. The colors are rich, the size perfect, and the paper stock wonderful. Such a wonderful legacy for his son.
Karen
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t even know I was going to read this book today. I ordered it with some Christmas money, knowing it was a book to keep on your shelf as it is an illustrated journal about a man’s grief over the loss of his wife. The package came an hour ago and I opened it just to take a peak, 45 minutes later I have read every word, and cried. I feel like I know he and his son and I have so much hope for them both.
Marian
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was read in the period of 90 minutes. I must re-read it to review it better. The art is beautiful, poetic in line and color, full of pain and beauty. His words echo it. It wasn't just touching - it was intimate - without being too invasive. It was a window not a door to his experience. There was something so composed about the book - the art, the language, the arc, the pace - that it maintains boundaries even as it tells of Gregory's boundless sadness.
Camila
Apr 13, 2013 added it
The artwork is loose-lined, vivid and compelling. And aside from that statement, I don't think I can rate this book in any fair way; it feels so sincere that it seems un-composed, un-structured, un-planned. I hope I'm not selling the artist short if I call this a cri di coeur rather than a crafted piece. Reviewing it would be like evaluating the prosody of someone's diary, or the narrative arc of a grieving process.

So in short: emotionally sincere and visually lovely.
Lori
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir

After the loss of his wife, Patti, artist Danny Gregory used his illustrated journals to chronicle his path through grief.

His illustrations are amazing...evoking emotion through the use of colour and font and subject matter.

It is a very intimate book, jarring at times but also honest and heartbreaking.
Thomas
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Danny Gregory has created a format all his own, to tell a story that's just as personal.

His art is human and vulnerable, his observations those of a man who is open and sees the world through both his eyes and his heart.

This book is a great gift to all of us, and no doubt to his wife Patty, his son Jack, and to himself.

Thank you Mr. Gregory.
Jeanne
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a touching exploration of the grieving process... the messiness of it, the gifts of remembrance... without being depressing or morose. And Danny's paintings add breathing space to the words and add life to his portrayal of his wife. I look forward to reading more of this honest author.
Kathy
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It took me a little while to finish this book because I needed to be in a certain frame of mind to read it. It is, perhaps, the sweetest book that I've ever read. Kind of like an adult "picture" book. It is a celebration of a relationship and the year after its tragic end, how the remaining partner moves through that time to recognize how he's changed and how he will go forward.
NZBook Girl
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking in that you know from the beginning that it's written by a man grieving for his wife, but overall it's the life force of the wife that comes through most of all. Beautifully illustrated in watercolours that capture their environment and all the main characters. Makes you want to get out there and live a better life.
Sandra
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
Read for book club. Beautiful, sad, but somehow uplifting.
Margaret
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Powerful, honest and gentle record of grief.
Robin
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So good, cried like a baby.
Lswinakur
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Danny Gregory's journals are all lovely, but the text in this one touches the heart. This is a beautiful volume.
Jenn
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
Read for book club.
Leslie
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful book (words and art) about loss and grief. It portrays a real example of how people deal when faced with something so heavy and life-altering. Love this book.
Alexis
Sep 25, 2015 added it
Shelves: 2015
Read for book club. I bought a copy, if anyone else in the book club wants to borrow it.
Jamie
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
What an intensely illustrated and honestly written memoir of the year following the death of his wife. It's amazing how we find ways to go on in spite of shockingly unexpected losses.
Moni Smith
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Oh my goodness. That just broke my heart into a million pieces. What a beautiful homage to his soul mate.
Shandra
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy Danny Gregory's art. This story made me tear up. It's about losing someone and I can deeply relate to it. Like your world is flipped upside down and the normal becomes a strange memory.
Pat Loughery
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you've encountered Danny Gregory's work before but haven't met him in this book yet, this is his pinnacle for me. If you haven't yet encountered Danny, start here.

Danny's visual journals - watercolor images and handwritten text - carry an emotional weight that mere words don't. And this book, written as he grieved the sudden death of his wife, will make you misty and show you a way forward in dark times.

Danny shows me how the combination of imagery and text can combine to be greater than the
...more
Carrie
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Danny Gregory, an artist and writer, who has inspired thousands to reach out and explore their creative side through such books as "The Creative License" and "Everday Matters," has compiled a moving and difficult illustrated memoir of the emotional and dark months following the sudden death of his wife. He matches his personal and painful recollections of this loss with bold images that powerfully captures his angst and struggle with grief and uncertainty that resonates with many people who have ...more
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