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Once More We Saw Stars

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4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,957 ratings  ·  668 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
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Hardcover, 245 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  4,957 ratings  ·  668 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
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Martha Kelly
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly moving and uplifting at the same time. Loved it.
Rebecca
We live in a world where a brick can crumble off of an eighth-story Manhattan windowsill and strike a two-year-old child in the head as she’s chattering with her grandmother on a bench below. This is what happened to Greta Greene in 2015. Her head injury was too severe to survive; although she underwent surgery to relieve the swelling in her brain, she never woke up again. The title phrase is adapted from Dante’s Inferno, and it’s appropriate because the author and his wife, Stacy, went through ...more
Nigel
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, vine, arc
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
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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 ...more
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
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Tania
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We push the apartment door open and are greeted by silence. Nothing in here knows about Greta’s death—not her red horsey with its empty smile, the toy bin beneath the living room chair, the straps on her purple high chair that she would fiddle with. We bring the news with us into each room, like smallpox.

I think I can safely say this will be my favorite memoir of 2019
My younger sister passed away when I was little, which obviously made a big impact on the way I view life. Being a mom myself
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Heather
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It doesn’t feel right to give a star rating to a book like this. This is a true story and it is written from the heart. It is beautifully written and it is a wonderful, heartfelt tribute to the little girl this couple lost. I was inspired by the strength of this couple and the love between them. ...more
Cassidy
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
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
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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?
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.
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
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Amy
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.
Bonny
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband's family lost their oldest son to malignant melanoma when he was 29-years-old, and this tragic event served to divide the family's story sharply into before-Jim-died and after-Jim-died. Every one of the remaining four siblings changed, some more markedly than others, and as you would expect, the real changes were most apparent in Jim's parents. They rarely talked about it, but I wish they were both still alive because I would give them this eloquent memoir, Once More We Saw Stars.

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Ginger Bensman
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
"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." (page 103)

An exquisitely painful and ultimately grace-filled examination of the sudden and tragic loss of a
child, and the reckoning of such a loss within a life and a marriage.
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
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Steve Peifer
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
About half way through this book, I started to think this was one of the greatest books ever written. He combined a penetrating insight with such a lyrical gift with words that four different times I read different parts out loud to my wife.

The first half of the book, which deals with the freak accident that killed his daughter and how grief can overtake you was as powerful as anything I’ve ever read. If the book had ended there, I would have been buying the book for people who have suffered a
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Stacie Buckley
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
It feels terribly awkward to give this a star rating. It’s one man’a beautiful, raw, tragic, grief-stricken, horrifying recount of not only the freak accidental death of his two year old daughter, but also of his grief and pain and anger, that of his wife, and other family members. This book captures how they tried to find meaning in this senseless and life altering event and how they dared to find hope again.

I’m not going to lie: this book had me sobbing at points. It’s not easy to read (or in
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ms.petra
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Achingly beautiful. Having had my own losses, I identified with the journey. I have just begun to really grieve and heal 20 years later. It was just so painful I avoided it all together. This story gives hope to what is possibly a most hopeless and helpless experience. We can move forward without forgetting.
Kristen Freiburger
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
It started out powerful, raw and moving. The second half fell apart imo.
Sandee
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.
Sarah
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
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Madeleine
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.
Stephanie
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was so moved by the author’s poignant retelling of his daughter’s accidental death and the years of excruciating grief, struggle, and self exploration that followed. He uses a lot of figurative language that takes the reader directly into his broken heart, and his wife’s broken heart. Their experiences with grief and different, of course, but so connected and interwoven.

Honestly, the depth of pain was kind of scary to me...the Mom in me wanted to crawl out of my skin at the thought of that
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Kate
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jayson Greene has the unthinkable happen to him. His two year old daughter is killed after being struck in the head by a piece of falling brick from the eighth floor of an apartment building. This is his memoir about the event and how he and his wife dealt with life after. It’s well-written and a horrific event, but there were times when I felt he got a bit too spiritual (seeing the daughter guiding him in the park, etc) for me.
Katherine
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This memoir hit me in a way that I did NOT expect. It wasn't written from a religious standpoint, but it did have very spiritual overtones that seemed to take the author by surprise as much as it did me. Greene writes about his experience with senseless loss from a place of visceral honesty that must've taken a kind of courage I can't even imagine.
Jack
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful memoir that encompasses the overwhelming nature of grief, and how the loss of a loved one touches all corners of our life. Greene's writing on the loss of his daughter profoundly speaks on the answers that are sought out after unimaginable loss and the ways in which one moves forward.
Laura
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reflections on grief, anger, and marriage amid tragedy.
Nancy Brooks Bourne
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This was the most heart breaking book I have ever read. I did listen to the audio book read by the author and I cried the entire time. It is raw and excruciating to listen to yet beautiful and moving all at once. How the author was able to put into words his grief in such a stunningly lovely manner is beyond my comprehension.
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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.” 5 likes
“A year and three months since that day, and two days before Harrison is scheduled to arrive, I take turns talking to both of my children. They seem to be in the same place right now—one dead, one unborn—which makes my life on earth feel even more tenuous. We’re right here, Daddy, I keep hearing, but no matter where I walk, I never find them. There are none of my children here, either, I think rounding every corner.” 2 likes
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