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The Hot Young Widows Club: Lessons on Survival from the Front Lines of Grief

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  837 ratings  ·  113 reviews
From the host of the popular podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking, comes a wise, humorous roadmap and caring resource for anyone going through the loss of a loved oneor even a difficult life moment.

In the span of a few weeks, thirty-something Nora McInerny had a miscarriage, lost her father to cancer, and lost her husband due to a brain tumor. Her life fell apart.

Hardcover, 112 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Simon Schuster/ TED
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Gretchen Rubin
A fascinating consideration of the question: how do you survive grief? It inspired me to listen to McInerny's podcast, "Terrible, Thanks for Asking."
(3.5) In June 2016 I read Its Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too), McInernys memoir about losing her father and her husband to cancer and her second child to a miscarriage all within a few weeks when she was 31. In this short book, an expansion of her TED talk, she argues that we are all incompetent when it comes to grief. Theres no rule book for how to do it well or how to help other people who are experiencing a bereavement, and comparing one loss to another doesnt help anyone. All the same, ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was 27 years old, a peer of mine tragically lost her young husband to a heart attack. She had two young children and a life that changed drastically overnight. Her seemingly healthy husband was gone. The first time I saw her after his death, I literally crossed the street to avoid talking to her because I simply didn't know what to say. I've experienced many more deaths since this event, some expected and some not, so I've learned what to say, but I feel even better equipped now that I've ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is for anyone who has gone through some kind of grief - and as she says, if you haven't, you will. It made me laugh and cry and talk back to the CD in total agreement in my car! I can't recommend this highly enough.
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this in five minutes. Just kidding, but I did start it late last night and wake up early this morning to finish.

My best friend died of cancer two months ago. So while I'm not a hot young widow, I am a grieving young person whose life recently got turned upside down. Nora makes it clear that anyone affected by a loss, or anyone who cares about anyone else affected by a loss (so, all of us) can benefit from reading this book. Since my loss, it's been harder to connect with my normal circle
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, grief, 2019
Biggest takeaway: don't be afraid of your sad/grieving/traumatized friends, neighbors, and loved ones. Someday this will be you. It is better to say something stupid than say nothing, but if you read this book you are less likely to say something stupid. (Maybe.)
Sarah Tang
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The definitive book of how to be okay after living through tremendous grief and trauma.

No one tells you what to expect or how to deal when tragedy strikes - why you feel emotions you think you shouldnt feel or why people dont act the way you expect them to.

I wish Id found this book when Id been raped and desperately searching for answers about how to live in a world when my own experience of it had been so fundamentally changed.

We are all novices at dealing with tragedy and Im grateful for
Rebecca Immekus
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone who has, is, or may experience grief. In other words, everyone. After losing my husband to a sudden death 4 months ago, this book helped me in so many ways. Most of all, how to tell others about my grief. Everyone needs to read this!
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book to read for someone who has lost their husband, and dealing with their feelings. It also helps when talking to people after you have lost that special someone. I think this is a must read.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
The publisher really did the author a disservice with the title here. Although I am a young widow and relished this book from that perspective, it really is a how-to book about grief, and can be helpful for anyone going through grief, or wondering how to help others get through their grief. I liked this book so much that after I read a friend's copy, I bought one for myself to lend out to other people helping me through my grief journey. Highly recommended, and not just for (hot young) widows!
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lots of great advice for how to help others who are grieving in this little book!
Feb 12, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
She saw a hurt, she knew her own abilities, and she put the two of them together.. in my own life, I have tried to be more like Hannah and less like.. myself. I still struggle with trying to do or say the right thing when Im faced with the suffering of others. I struggle for the same reasons you may struggle: because if you cant fix it, what can you do? 49 / 125

Youre so strong I know this sounds like a compliment, and I know you mean it as one, but you dont know how strong someone is, you only
Stef C
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rarely write reviews about the books I read, mostly because I just want to get in to the next one, but I'm making an exception.

If I could give this book and this author, Nora, 5,000 stars for the mere fact that this book exists in the world, I would.

But the fact that this book *has* to exist in the world at all is so sad. But it does, and thank God it does.

I came to this book looking for something, anything, to start working through the losses I have...not been dealing with well over the past
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
After watching Nore McInernys TED talk filling with tears and laughter, I decided to buy her book The Hot Young Widows Club at once. While it is an easy read with some witted quotes, I prefer her talk on TED, which captures the essence of the whole book and shows her sense of humour to a greater extent.

- Comparison is the thief of joy.
- We are all born, we all die. And in between, we all suffer.
- Connection is about being fucked up together. There is no humanity in perfection.
- I cant imagine,
Chloe Chesla
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ive been following Noras journey for a couple years and have always appreciated her humor, her perspective, and her communication style. I was a little hesitant to pick up this book, given that I am not a widow, and mostly bought it to support Nora. However, it was such a quick, helpful read! I loved the way she explained grief, and it really spoke to me and helped me understand parts of myself: Ive never had a big loss but I have experienced grief and definitely identified with so much of what ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I saw Purmont's TED Talk, and thoroughly enjoyed it. She has a real insight into the grieving process, not just from her own tragic experience, but through her contact with thousands of grieving persons via her "club." I read the book, not only to better understand my own grief, but to understand how to speak to and help others who have lost a loved one. I have a friend who recently lost her husband--a hot young widow herself--whom I long to be able to comfort. I can't say that I learned a lot, ...more
Shonte E
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Much of this book will be familiar if youve read the authors book, No Happy Endings. That said, this little book was still a good read, and because its so short it took me maybe an hour to read at most, so though some of it was redundant, it still felt like a good use of my reading time. I dont know if either of Noras books would have garnered such high ratings from me had I not recently experienced a loss of my own, but nevertheless, I am immensely grateful for having stumbled across them ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nora McInerny hosts a podcast called "Terrible, Thanks for Asking," where she invites guests to talk about heartbreaking and difficult situations and to honestly answer the questions "how are you?" I LOVE this podcast and recommend it to everyone. I had high expectations starting this book, and it lived up to my expectations!

She started the Hot Young Widows Club after her husband, Aaron, died from brain cancer. Around this time she also lost her father and a pregnancy. She's been through a lot,
Jo Ann
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this mainly to see if it was a book that would help a close friend who just lost her husband...we are neither "young" at 74, or "hot." And, I am hoping that this title, that seems to address younger women, won't keep all ages from reading it. I really related to so much of what Nora says about how we "deal or don't deal" with loss and grief. I made mistakes in my own grief journey when people wished to help, and I hopefully have learned from those mistakes. More than that, I think, I feel ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Saw an article in the paper about her podcast and picked this up at the library thereafter. In spite of the heavy topic, she has a funny, quippy style. None of the advice for those experiencing grief [the trajectory won't necessarily be linear; it's ok to be sad; pretty much whatever you're experiencing is normal; prioritize self-care over tending to everyone else's reactions......] or their friends/family [don't ask how you can help; just figure out a best guess and do it; don't pry; do talk ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short book, though I tried to take it slow and not just read it all in one sitting. I love Nora McInerny's voice. She writes the same way she speaks in her podcast, so I can totally hear her voice in my head as I'm reading.

Nora is great at normalizing all the weird things we do when stressed, grieving or faced with difficult situations. She has a lot of personal experience with tragedy herself, and is really open about saying the wrong things herself, not always knowing how to help others in
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: listened-to, 2019
Nora McInerny, author, host of the podcast "Terrible, Thanks for Asking," and founder of the nonprofit "Still Kickin" takes her TED Talk "We Don't 'Move on' From Grief. We Move Forward With It"and puts it in book form. She shares lessons and advice on dealing with grief as well as tips for supporting someone through grief.

I read this book because I'm a huge fan of McInerny's podcast, read her others books, and have been following her for a few years. I am, thankfully, not a widow, but I found
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
pure gold - love everything that Nora writes (and narrates!)

favorite passage:
I no longer hate silence. It's no longer a void waiting for my sparkling insights to fill it. It's a space where something bigger than me can happen. When you're around a grieving person, silence feels like the enemy. It's awkward, right? Only if you believe that it's your job to fill it. It isn't. Remember when I said that empathy isn't about where you are? It's not. If the silence is awkward for you, let it be
Lisa Carr
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
One might see the title of this book and think its for people whove lost a spouse. But this book is for each of us. Although McInerny writes to the grieving, she also writes to who she calls the grief adjacent about how to participate in the grief of another. Shes so practical she even includes fill-in-the-blank templates and form letters for what to say or write to grieving people. We need Nora McInernys truth-telling voice. For as much as we fixate on education and advanced degrees and being ...more
Aaron West
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Short enough that you could finish in one sitting and poignant enough to induce deep reflection, The Hot Young Widows Club is a minuscule masterpiece.

Humorous, personal, and emotionally evocative, Nora McInerny first drew me in with her powerful TED talk, unpacked on an episode of TED Radio Hour. Her story is moving and striking, and in this small book she uses her experience to reach others who are dealing with that funny, tragic, never quite the same but always reliable phenomenon we call
Kathy Averbeck
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a guide for dealing with grief; something every single person on the planet will have to deal with at some point but which we as a society try to ignore. The book probably should have a different title because it is not just for widows. The author offers her perspective of her experiences with losing loved ones. Her insights are helpful to anyone who also wants to help and support someone dealing with grief, what to say or not say, how to be helpful, how not to expect anything in ...more
June Brawner
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Listened to the audio book of this, being a fan of Nora's podcast "Terrible, thanks for asking". As with her podcast, the author/reader is gracious, funny, and human above all else. Having not been through the sort of grief she discusses, I can only imagine what respite I would find in her words; however, knowing such times are inevitable (I am, after all, one of those 'people who know and love someone who will die one day'), I'm keeping this with me and bookmarking for those dark times. Thank ...more
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was written by Nora McInerny, who lost her husband, father and miscarried within six months. This isnt a book about her story as it is a book about the evil bitch of grief. Nora discussed what to say and not to say to a grieving person. She discusses there is no right or wrong way to just be present foe the person who is grieving.
She speaks of how grief has its own time line and outcome. All people have a baby or a heart attack the same way, but no one grieves the same way.
It is
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't be fooled by the title, or the author's photo. She is a young widow, yes. However much of what she writes applies to all of us who have been widowed, regardless of our age. You may think you've read all you can handle about being a widow but truly there is always room for more information and a new perspective. This book is short and concise, with short chapters, and therefore very accessible for those with very short attention spans due to dealing with grief issues. Take it one chapter at ...more
This 100% resinated with me on every level I took something from every chapter and I will probably listen to this again and again. The book me stopping what I was doing and sobbing because I've finally found someone WHO GETS WHAT IM GOING THROUGH. There were no clique quotes or motivational speeches how it would all be okay. No this has the blunt and honest nitty gritty truths of grief. It offered some of the best, clearest and most honest advice.
I am so happy I stumbled upon Nora's Ted talk on
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