Good Grief!

Obit Magazine
January 10, 2011

It’s fitting that Ruth Davis Konigsberg’s The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stages and the New Science of Loss (Simon & Schuster) — a tart, well-researched take-down of the bereavement industry Elizabeth Kubler-Ross spawned – takes place when “narcissistic personality disorder” has been eliminated from that psychiatric staple, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Given the sorry state of the world – the lousy economy, the violence at home and two wars abroad, and the surprising popularity of Taylor Swift – it seems like it’s time (OK, well past time) to get real.

Which is just what Konigsberg does in her book, a merciless look at the “five stages” of grief – denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance – and their scientific basis, which, according to her research, is basically nonexistent.

In the tradition of Jessica Mitford’s expose of the funeral industry, Konigsberg does a fearless job of explaining what Kubler-Ross is saying, and why it doesn’t apply to the situations most of us face when we lose a loved one

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