Tag Archives: Book Review

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Better Not Bitter Widower

Book Review: Widowed & Widowed 2 by John Polo

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I was honored to be asked by author John Polo to review his books Widowed and Widowed 2. John, also known as the Better Not Bitter Widower is a widower, step-Dad, author, public speaker, and Hope & Empowerment Coach.

John met Michelle as a teenager, and they fell in love. Eight years after their high school romance, they reunited and planned to spend the rest of their lives together, alongside her amazing daughter. Two short years later, Michelle was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer. She died at the the very young age of 30.

As John picked up the pieces of his broken heart and devastated soul, something amazing happened. He discovered a deep passion for writing and speaking about love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment and hope. His goal is to help others both honor their pain and see that a hopeful tomorrow can indeed exist.

His book Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms was released in 2017; a year after Michelle’s death. His second book, Widowed 2. Now I Live. was released in 2019.

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS

Widowed chronicles the immediate aftermath of John’s beloved wife Michelle’s death. He shares his thoughts, feelings, and as he calls it, his “rants, raves and randoms” about how her death impacted his life especially their future hopes and dreams. 

Widowed 2 chronicles what John is experiencing two years after Michelle’s death. Although he is still mourning, John writes about how he is moving through the pain to find a sense of hope again. It is this hope which has propelled him into helping others who are dealing with similar losses. 

MY REVIEW

Widowed and Widowed 2 are not your average grief and loss books. This is a good thing and is what makes them stand-out. Each book is a raw, soul-filled, and often humorous tribute by a deeply grieving husband to the love of his life. From the very first page, John Polo immediately draws you into the life he was living shortly after his wife’s death. Using a unique approach and diverse writing style, John shares his intimate thoughts and feelings through personal stories, anecdotes, poetry, quotes, diatribes and hashtags. You feel the love. You feel the pain. You feel the emptiness. You feel the descending darkness. But you also feel the joy. The laughter. The compassion. The hope. The light at the end of the tunnel. The promise of the future that is still to be. 

Some of my favorites quotes from Widowed include: 

“We CAN grieve as we move forward. We CAN move forward as we grieve. The two ideas are NOT mutually exclusive. They can walk hand and hand.” (Page 34)

“From this point on, every time someone asks you your emergency contact, you are going to want to cry.” (Page 53)

“PSA: Shut. Up. Everything happens for a reason.” (Page 120)

Some of my favorites quotes from Widowed 2 include: 

“I loved her my way. I will grieve her my way. My way.” (Page 43)

“Sometimes the grieving want company, And, sometimes, they want to be left alone. The truth is, we almost always want the invite. Where does everyone go?” (Page 67)

“I feel cheated. We were robbed of our 50 years together. I feel lucky. I got to call the love of my life ‘my wife.’ I feel cheated and I feel lucky. I feel both.” (Page 164)

After reading these wonderful books, all I can say to John is:

– #your #words #moved #me

– #you #are #not #weird #you #are #amazing

– #thank #you #for #sharing #Michelle #with #us

– #you #done #good #my #friend #you #done #good

OTHER REVIEWS

– “This book made me cry so hard, and then laugh even harder. Have Kleenex ready and go pee before you start. Because you won’t want to put it down.”  Amazon Review

– “This book is wonderful, and very different than other books out there on grief and the loss of a spouse. The writing is simply raw, visceral, direct, and very real. I found myself nodding my head as I read John’s words, with so many memories of my late husband flooding back into my mind. John’s reflections on the experience of being widowed are spot on. The font changes and random thoughts he included reminded me of the way so much of life felt so random in the early days, like how you could be knocked to the ground by a song or something else triggering a memory. This book is unique and very special. I know I will go back to it again & again. Well done, John Polo!” Amazon Review

– “I lost my husband and have read several grief books. This one is different. It is not full of just fluff words. It gets to the point in the first pages. It’s raw, painful, letting you know that you are not alone in those crazy, painful feelings that overtake you in such a loss. It’s profound. John Polo can say in two sentences what others take two chapters to say. It’s funny because yes, we widows/(ers) seem to find humor in some of the darkest places. This is my go-to book and now I’m eagerly awaiting is second book. His website also lets you know all the other things he does, seminars, life coaching, etc.” Amazon Review

HOW TO ORDER

Widower and Widower 2 are available on the Better Not Bitter Widower website and on Amazon.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Book Review: A Widow’s Awakening by Maryanne Pope

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I was honored to be asked by author Maryanne Pope to review her book A Widow’s Awakening. Maryanne is an author, playwright, screenwriter, blogger, public speaker, workplace safety advocate, environmental educator and professional Auntie – started Pink Gazelle Productions in 2002, two years after the on-duty death of her police officer husband, Cst John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Discover the true meaning of love…

Do you believe in soul mates? What if the death of your soul mate meant the birth of your life-long dream?

A Widow’s Awakening is a fictional account based on the true story of a young woman’s struggle to come to terms with the death of her police officer husband who died while investigating a breaking and entering complaint.

Engaging, powerful, heart-wrenching, and at times humorous, this honest look at the first year of a widow’s grief captures the immense difficulty of learning how to accept the unacceptable while transforming loss into positive change—and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

A Widow's Awakening

MY REVIEW

“Based on a true story, A Widow’s Awakening, is a hauntingly beautiful story of enduring love, overwhelming heartache and discovering resiliency. After the tragic death of her police officer husband Sam, Adri struggles to breathe let alone move forward in her life. With descriptions that are heartfelt, painful and often humorous, author Maryanne Pope artfully paints a picture of what it is like to have your entire world pulled out from under you. Having lost my own loved one tragically, I could so relate to everything Adri was feeling, experiencing and describing. I cried, I laughed, and found compassion for this woman who was courageously trying to navigate through what seemed like a terrible dream. This book is a must-read for anyone who has lost someone they loved and struggled to find their way in the aftermath of tragedy. Thank you to Maryanne for so bravely and honestly sharing her remarkable story of love and hope.”

OTHER REVIEWS

– “I started reading A Widow’s Awakening on Sunday and finished it Monday. The first third of your book touched me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I cried so hard, my eyes became swollen; the pain was so real. I haven’t cried that hard in a long, long time. The grief you expressed was so real to me, as I experienced my own grief in a similar way. Reading your book has been healing for me.”  Cristy

– “I bought your book yesterday and meant to wait until the next day to read it. I crawled into bed and tried to sleep but something kept at me. So I crawled out of bed and read your book from start to finish. It was amazing. I couldn’t put it down.” Darcy

– “My heart is beating harder and my breathing shorter. I am hugging my husband tighter and kissing him longer. I have burnt supper while reading! I have read books until wee hours of the night but I have not felt this much about a book before. You are an incredibly gifted writer…I feel like I am right beside you and that I am getting to know John and your relationship together. I love how he loved you. I love your writing style, how brilliantly you tie everything together and how you authentically share your soul.” Kim

HOW TO ORDER

A Widow’s Awakening is available at BHC Press and all major book retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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