Arts & Leisure

Book review: The Path to Fernglade — by Susan Humphrey

(Woods Edge Press)
Weybridge author, as well as a former teacher, bookseller and Middlebury College graduate, Susan Humphrey lost her second son, Dan, to an extremely rare form of cancer. As a means of sharing news with friends and family, Susan began writing letters, and the letters became a means of chronicling her sorrow and loss, a process to aid in coping with her reality, and a way forward to acceptance. Susan describes her intention in one passage after Dan’s passing, regarding what she would tell people going through the grieving process: be open, pay attention to the signs and find a way to express the creative energy of grief. In this book, she has done just that. Woven throughout, and including some of the most moving passages, are the stories of Dan and his wife Natalie’s love for each other. There is a great deal to learn through this profound journey. Divided into three sections that correspond to diagnosis and treatment, Dan’s death and the aftermath, the letters are presented chronologically, interspersed with poems and passages by W. S. Merwin, Mary Oliver and Jason Leen to name a few, that inspired meaningful insight, and then also put into context with Susan’s addition of direct narrative prose. Highly recommended. 
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of the Vermont Book Shop
 

8 Books about Grief and Loss
 
Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene
 
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
 
Poor Your Soul by Ptacin
 
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
 
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander
 
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
 
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
 
Geography of the Heart by Fenton Johnson

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