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Standing on My Brother's Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide - A True Story

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A suicide loss survivor tells her story.

Tara Lal’s childhood was battered by her father’s mental illness and by her mother’s death when she was thirteen. Caught up in grief and despair, she developed a deep, caring bond with her charismatic and kind older brother Adam, though he struggled silently with growing anxiety and depression. Four years after their mother’s death,
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Watkins Publishing (first published September 1st 2015)
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Anne Martin yes, it will. It will repeat what you wrote : you cannot control anyone else's reaction to life, no matter how much you love them. Suicide is taboo in…moreyes, it will. It will repeat what you wrote : you cannot control anyone else's reaction to life, no matter how much you love them. Suicide is taboo in our societies and people feel guilt and shame when someone close to them killed himself. But you cannot change anything, and that is what the book is about.(less)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow what can I say except this book was truly moving. Tara put her heart on her sleeve when writing this book, like she always has. This book was deeply moving on so many levels. Heartwarming, heart breaking to say the least. It moved me as a human being to read someone's else's journey through grief, pain and suffering. As well as navigating back to being able to find joys in life even through all the darkness she faced. She is an courages, strong and beautiful women and her journey will help m ...more
Anne Martin
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arc
Tara tells her story, and it is not an easy one. She lost her mother, who was the backbone of the family at 13. Her dad did not know what to live for afterwards, but survived. Tara got closer to Adam, her older brother, and they comforted each other through letters while apart, Adam at Oxford, Tara finishing high school. Then, the unexpected happens when she is 17, Adam commits suicide.
Tara tries to describe the emptiness of her life, with no anchor point, no place to call home, no one to give h
Denise DiFalco
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Tara J. Lal offers real hope to those who have encountered tragedy. This book tells the story of the Lal family where the mother, Bridget, steps up to take on the bulk of the household responsibity because her husband suffers from numerous nervous breakdowns. For the years, she is the glue that keeps everything together and the children admire her. Despite the obvious difficulties, the family is close. Tara has an older sister, Jo and Brother Adam. Her bond with her brother is significant. He is ...more
Charlotte Anderson
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was sent to me from NetGalley for my honest review.
This is Tara's true story about how she had to deal with her mother's death, who was the backbone of the family that held everything together, how her father did not know how to deal with the death of his wife.
During this time Tara and her older brother, Adam, formed a bond Then at the age of 17 Tara's brother committed suicide while he was is school at Oxford. With her mother's death and now her brother's suicide, Tara had to seek he
Corinne Rodrigues
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tara loved and hero worshipped her brother and when he took such an extreme step, he left her totally devastated. The book is honest, insightful and I was totally caught up with Tara's story of loss and survival and how she broke the cycle of grief and despair in her own life. ...more
Hayley (Shelflyfe)
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Watkins Publishing and NetGalley for approving me to read this ARC of Tara Lal's story, which will be available in September.
I admire Tara Lal for writing this book and sharing her experiences. To be so vulnerable and open is not easy, especially about topics like mental ill health and suicide, which still receive a lot of stigma even today.
People can be well-intentioned, but their responses can still be damaging because they don't know what to say, or se
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read
In this incredible book, Standing on My Brother’s Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide, we see not just a family struggling with heartache but a true study in the impact that mental illness, grief and suicide can have on both a family and an individual. Tara J Lal talks us through living with a father struggling with mental ill-health, a mother that has taken the brunt of most of the family life and then sadly passes away, a deep sibling bond with her brother Adam and the shattering lo ...more
Kate Southey
I have mixed feelings on this memoir. On one hand I really liked Tara and cheered her accomplishments and her ability to cope with her father’s often bizarre behaviour. But on the other hand, her car crash relationships with men and the habit she shared with Adam of navel gazing rather than just getting on with things did frustrate me. Adam’s writing style did nothing for me and I’m afraid I skimmed a lot of it. It is desperately sad that he took his own life at such a young age and wasn’t able ...more
Kat Jacob
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Right now there is someone out there with a wound in the exact shape of your words.

By sharing her story, Tara Lal with her incredible vulnerability and openness has undoubtedly helped heal and educate many hearts. This book will speak to your very soul as the author navigates her own trauma and its long term effects.

Lal traverses her story with a capacity for empathy and understanding that is nothing short of inspiring and a testament to the power of compassion. She has an incredible ability to
Eliska Herinkova
I think this book will stay in my mind for a long time. It is a very well written account of someone dealing with loss and grief, and I don’t think it is similar to anything I have read before. The author walks you through her life, but in doing so, she tells you an incredible story of dealing with things that could as well happen to anyone else. I admire the author's honesty, and how well she was able to write down what has happened in her life. Definitely worth a read. ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me have mixed emotions, so many parts I could personally relate to, if you know of anyone struggling I would highly recommend giving this book a read....... Actually I would recommend to anyone thanks netgalley for the opportunity to read this
Rebecca Nagrodski
An incredibly brave and moving memoir.

I'll admit there are parts that gets easier dense in detail, but nothing can take away from the raw pain and beauty of this story.

I applaud the author for her honesty and wish her all the peace in the world moving forward.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books-read
"I no longer see what life took from me - I see what it gave me."

A powerful book on loss, love and hope.
Jan 15, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
i liked the first half of this more than the second half
Claire Hood
A sisters story of grief and loss which started at a young age after losing her mum to cancer.
Just 4 years after her mother’s death she grieves again, for her older brother who dies by suicide.
This book is brutally honest about Taras grief and her journey after losing her mum and brother but also about her dads mental health.
This book may help people who have also suffered a suicide grief of someone close to them.

Thank you Netgalley and Watkins publishing for the arc in return for an honest
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

Standing on my Brother’s Shoulders is a novel about Tara J Lal and her journey towards acceptance of the grief brought by her brother’s suicide. She also must face her father’s madness and her mother’s death.

It could be quite a heavy book but Lal makes an effort to keep the action moving and to always have a bit of humour. If not, there was a pro
Angela Suzanne
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a while to get into this memoir because the first several chapters were background information which I didn't find all that interesting. The memoir did hold my attention enough for me to stick through the background chapters to get to the part where it deals with Tara's brother's depression and suicide. Before reading this book, I thought it was going to focus more on mental health than it actually did, but it was still i
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, nonfiction
This book teaches us how to be sensitive enough and to open our eyes and hearts to all possibilities, and most importantly, to accept. It lets us know that this can happen to anyone and instantly. It has some great quotes that are applicable to all life situations, and a Do's and Don't's guide in handling depression and suicide ideations/attempts of our family or friends. ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: misc-read
I was lucky enough to win this book through Goodreads. It was a very heartfelt, deep book. It could have been really dark but the author lightened it up w/humor. Very enriching. Thank you for sharing.
Golda Meir Piad
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Mar 19, 2016
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Mar 24, 2018
Abigail Hatherley
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Nov 09, 2016
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Lori Byrd
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm so sorry for your loss. I can understand all the heartache and pain you endured. What a brave story to tell. I loved it. ...more
Paige Randell
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May 04, 2020
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Sophie Cross
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Nov 11, 2020
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