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Once More We Saw Stars

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,154 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Two-year-old Greta Greene was sitting with her grandmother on a park bench on the Upper West Side of Manhattan when a brick crumbled from a windowsill overhead, striking her unconscious. She is immediately rushed to the hospital. Once More We Saw Stars begins with this event, leading the reader into the unimaginable.

But although it begins with the anguish Jayson and his wi
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,154 ratings  ·  186 reviews

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Vivek Tejuja
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I am not a parent. I will never know what it is like to lose a child. To grieve for the loss of someone you have created, looked over, been paranoid over, and prayed to God that they live healthy and happy, and yet you have no control over what happens to them. The sheer helplessness and then the realisation after. Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene is the book that makes you see the world through the eyes of a parent - what does it mean to lose a child, how should one grieve, how much shou
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, non-fiction, vine
There is a sense in which this is an almost unbearable story initially. The author's two year old daughter, Greta, is killed when a brick falls from a windowsill above where she is sitting. As a parent and grandparent I find this something I maybe would prefer not to think about I guess. However the author does offer his and the family's thoughts as they make they way through the trauma that follows this freak accident.

While a fairly large first section looks at the event and the immediate after
Martha Kelly
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly moving and uplifting at the same time. Loved it.
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The entire first half of this book made me sob. Having never lost someone close to me, I found the second half about their grief very interesting, overwhelming, and hopeful. All I am left with is wanting peace for every person in this book.
Ashlee Tominey
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I marvel at the author’s ability to share such an intensely personal and heartbreaking story and to capture such a breadth of emotions and thoughts in the retelling.

Sometimes the right book comes along to help process emotions you didn’t even know you had.
This book cracked me open emotionally and left me a little softer in the end. It was much needed.

Hand to those moved by the reading experience of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi or Falling: A Daughter, a Father, and a Journey Back by
Joanne  Clarke Gunter
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A heartbreaking book. You will cry. But that is a normal reaction to the random, accidental death of an innocent 2 year-old child. The book is interesting because it details how the author and his wife coped with the overwhelming grief of losing their beloved Greta and slowly moved forward to a hopeful and even happy life after her death. It is a painful journey. Many similar books have been written, but Jayson Greene is a gifted writer and tells their terrible story eloquently.
Dana Mackey
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book broke my heart ten times over today. Strange, then, that I ultimately found it uplifting. Seems like a lot of uplifting stories can still wreck your heart every which way?
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Tearful by page four. Full on pain-in-chest sobbing by page 14. Then intermittent crying throughout. I mean, it was expected. I have a visceral reaction to grief and loss. And I don't mind the catharsis of it all. The memoir was tragic and hopeful. And for music lovers like myself, the sparse references were always a delight.
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t have the words to describe how heartbreaking, poignant, haunting and brilliantly written this memoir is. I read it with tears streaming down my face.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, a true story written by a father who lost his two year old daughter in a freak accident, somehow pulls off the miraculous feat of being both crushingly sad and hauntingly beautiful. I have left a trail of tears throughout Manhattan in all the places I devoured this heartbreaking but lovely story. Put it on your to-read list now for when it is released in May 2019. The version I read was an advance copy.
Jt O'Neill
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is remarkable. I'll start with that. I'd read the reviews and requested it from the library but once I picked it up, I wasn't sure that it was such a good idea to read it. This memoir is the story of the tragic and unexpected death of the author's two year old child. Why would I want to read that? I have plenty of sadness and grief in my life. Why read about more? I decided to be brave and start it. I figured I didn't have to finish it.

And the first half was brutal. Jayson Greene has a
Susan Jarrell
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Living in NY, one often comes upon books left for the taking on stoops. Out of one such offering last week—in fancy Ft. Greene no less—I picked this book up and my life is the better for it.

I do not understand how Greene could write so descriptively and beautifully about moments that cut his soul to the quick. I have been in the environs of where he was following the unthinkable accident—my fourth son had a congenital defect diagnosed only 9 days before his due date. We ended up having a home b
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An incredibly sad memoir written by a father whose daughter's life is cut short by a freak accident. Shortly after her second birthday, Greta Greene is struck in the head by a crumbling brick. Jayson Greene chronicles the aftermath of her death narrating his stages of grief and quest for some sense of relief from the emotions threatening to overwhelm him.
Because neither Jayson nor his wife are religious people they seek out a variety of sources in an attempt to assign some meaning out to their t
Taylor Noel
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, devastating eloquent memoir about what’s it’s like to lose a child and continue living. It’s a journey of grief and hope and resilience, and one I will not easily forget.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir" is a book that is at once heartbreaking and inspirational. Jayson Greene wastes no time getting to the accident that took the life of his 2-year-old daughter, Greta, much too soon; we learn about the tragedy on the second page of the book. From there, Greene takes us on a journey that includes loss, heartbreak, anger, grief, guilt, and just about every other emotion you can imagine. Just how does a young couple deal with such a devastating loss? Greene's brutal ...more
Leah K
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
"I am the reminder of the most unwelcome message in human history: Children - yours, mine - they don't necessarily live".

This book is absolutely heartbreaking. Jayson and Stacy have to deal with what no parent should have to - the death of their child. This book goes through their tribulations. The hardship. The never-ending pain. The writing was so beautiful. I cried so many times. As someone who has lost a child (albeit, in a very different manner), this man was writing everything I've struggl
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: june-2019
Loved this book! Couldn’t put it down. Losing a child is unimaginable, and especially the way it happened to this little girl. I didn’t think I could read this story. However, it was told so well by the little girl’s father with such love and honesty, taking you through his darkest moments, and somehow coming to a place where he and his wife were able to move on! He is an exceptional writer! Can’t say enough. Just read the book and you will see!
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First, have a box of tissues, or a couple of boxes. This is a hard, heavy read, but it was worth going with him through the painful retelling of the death of his daughter and how he, his wife, and his family blazed a trail through grief while honoring and remembering his sweet little girl along the way. While it's important to remember that this is only one family's story, and it will never be the same for another, Greene's words give hope after something that seems impossible to find it in.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am just...*floored* at how good this book is. It’s about the most wretchedly unfair thing in the world, and yet it’s imbued with hope throughout. It’s fiercely, unflinchingly raw and honest—and also unexpectedly funny at times. Above all, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful love letter to the author's family, and especially to his daughter, Greta. What a stunningly beautiful work.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Horrible. I have no more words.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, heartbreaking and honest look at how grief transforms us- and can redeem us to live with our fragility.
I listened to a podcast with the author and his raw honesty took my breath away.
Roseanne Cheng
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gutting and positivity beautiful. Thank you @jayson_greene for sharing Greta with us.
Natasha Khanna
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I sobbed my way through this one. It was gorgeous and life changing. Beautiful writing accompanies a heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting and hopeful story.
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. So hard to read but so worth it.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5. Heart wrenching, insightful, and beautifully written.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book. What this family went through is heartbreaking and makes me so sad, but unfortunately tragedy happens and to build empathy we must read and share stories like this one.
Hayley Hoffman
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I still have a long time before we find each other again, Greta, and I am sure I will yearn for you during much of that time.”

A raw and blistering book about a father’s grief. I am so very sad for the loss that led to this book’s necessity, but remain in awe of Jayson Greene’s clear and biting prose. I am fairly certain I cried every time I picked this book up and will never listen to “Between the Bars” the same way again. Can’t believe I have to wait until May 2019 to start recommending it to
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inexplicably, i didn't realize until I was on the last couple of pages of this book that it was actually an autobiography, not a novel. Good book! I guess it speaks well of the author's lyricism and capacity to look at this tragedy both from a micro and a macro view that I could so easily feel like I'd been drawn into a horrible event befalling fictional characters.
Maudeen Wachsmith
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to state first off, due to the subject matter, HSP should proceed with caution when deciding whether or not to read this. You’ll need a box of tissues nearby.

Just days after her second birthday, Greta, the only child of Jayson and Stacy Greene, is sitting on her grandmother’s lap on a upper westside Manhattan bench when, without warning, a brick falls off a windowsill eight floors above, striking the toddler in the head. She is rushed to the hospital where, despite heroic efforts, she su
Charles Kreger
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
It is a parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child. I appreciate Jayson’s willingness to share his heart and soul with us as he deals with the tremendous grief that follows. I was saddened and puzzled to see Jayson and his wife go to extreme and extravagant effort to find their daughter again in every mystical way imaginable and not once seek to find comfort and peace from God or the Bible. It is sad to envision a parent in such a situation with no promise of hope of an eternal life. If you are wi ...more
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JAYSON GREENE is a contributing writer and former senior editor at Pitchfork. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Vulture, and GQ, among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

“Grief at its peak has a terrible beauty to it, a blinding fission of every emotion. The world is charged with significance, with meaning, and the world around you, normally so solid and implacable, suddenly looks thin, translucent.” 3 likes
“A pall of societal shame hovers over everyone in this club....Children who lose parents are orphans; bereaved spouses are widows. But what do you call parents who lose children? It seems telling to me there is no word in our language for our situation. It is unspeakable, and by extension, we are not supposed to exist.” 1 likes
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