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Once More We Saw Stars

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  3,203 ratings  ·  413 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, 245 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,203 ratings  ·  413 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
Martha Kelly
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly moving and uplifting at the same time. Loved it.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, vine, non-fiction
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
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 no
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
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
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.
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 b
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 ki
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.
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.
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 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grief
This book is both beautiful and heartbreaking. It took me back to places I hadn't been in a long time. ( I lost a child years ago and had another afterwards like Jayson and his wife did.)
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
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene is a memoir of coming up from grief, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard and so often reading a book. About the sudden death of his two year old daughter Greta, and the short period of time afterwards, this books explores what it is to try to continue to live with a loss so profound it has no name. The thing I loved most about this book was how startlingly honest it was about how to survive losing a child, in particular about having to let ...more
Shannon Rochester
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a parent, this was very hard for me to read. My son is now 28 years old but when he was a baby, I would make sure he was breathing at night and I worried about all of the same things other parents worry about. The big things you take into consideration that you should watch out for such as car accidents, getting attacked by dogs, getting robbed, BIG things...but going to visit Grandma and sitting down to have ice cream? No, that is not something I would have ever worried about. Greta was 2 ye ...more
Rachel Smalter Hall
I’ll be the first to admit I never thought I’d go near this one. As the mom of my own two toddlers, I didn’t think my heart could take a parent’s memoir about losing his two-year-old daughter after she was struck in the head by a falling brick. But then I saw that glowing blurb by Cheryl Strayed on the cover, and I braced myself because I knew I was going in.

Listening to Jayson Greene tell the story of grieving his daughter, Greta, is like walking through a fire and coming out the other side wit
Nicole Chu
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 2015, a loose brick tumbled from the eighth floor of a building in the Upper West Side and struck Greta, the two-year-old daughter of Jayson Greene. His gripping memoir, Once More We Saw Stars, begins with that day. It is the first day of a new life for Jayson and his wife Stacy, one in which they must cope with an unimaginable reality: "children don't always live."

What follows is an intensely heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of grief, love, and resilience. Greene is a writer by tra
Joy Johnson
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A terribly moving memoir of moving forward after an unimaginable loss. I loved the hope this book offers to young parents who have lost a child. A hope that they can honor their child’s memory and go on to love another. I will say, and from experience, one can never replace a child. This kind of heartbreak is forever. However, having a strong relationship with your spouse and other children to hold, love, and care for may be the things that enable you to go on with your own life. Until you meet ...more
Erin Greene
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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.” 4 likes
“We learn to live with the sadness like a great, lovely companion, because it’s a soft sadness that softens the heart and makes you open to everything.” 2 likes
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