Coping with Parental Death: Insights and Tips for Teenagers

Rowman & Littlefield. (­Empowering You). Jul. 2022. 160p. pap. $29. ISBN 9781538154892.
Gr 7 Up–This work walks teens through common life changes, emotions, and strategies for dealing with parental death. Subsections include understanding parental death, coping with parental death, and resolution, with a primary focus on how teens may feel at different points after the loss of a parent and insights the author developed while grieving her mother during her teenage years. Quotes from others who lost a parent as teens are included in many chapters, along with comic panels depicting common grief experiences. Stilted, repetitive writing, frequent gender stereotyping (e.g., girls may grieve a mother while getting ready for prom, boys may not have a father to teach them car repair), and an outdated tone make this a title to pass on. A section on how the deceased parent’s gender impacts loss in relation to the child’s gender is particularly limited in its assumption that all readers are cisgender and all parents are cisgender and heterosexual. While extensive back matter is included, it is poorly curated. Recommended books for further reading range from Little Golden Books to David Copperfield, while a list of recommended movies spans seven pages. Most sources referenced are online news articles or biographical articles about celebrities who lost parents in their teen years, with worryingly few psychology or grief-related sources.
VERDICT This inadequately researched title leans too heavily on the author’s own perspectives and experiences and is unlikely to meet the needs of contemporary grieving teens. Not recommended.

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