Sorry for Your Loss

Image of Sorry for Your Loss
Release Date: 
June 3, 2019
Reviewed by: 

“Sorry for Your Loss is a beautiful, sad, humorous book that traverses the deep and debilitating world of sorrow.”

Pup Flanagan is the youngest of eight. The youngest of seven now that his brother Patrick died. He still can’t believe that happened; his family lives in a cloud of grief, unsure how to move forward.

“On wall above each step hung a framed middle-school graduation photo of each Flanagan child, in order from oldest to youngest. Each Flanagan child, that is, except for Patrick, whose photo had been replaced with one of those old-fashioned paintings of an angel. For almost three years now, Pup had grown to hate that fat, pink-cheeked, blond-haired, dead-eyed cherub on the seventh step.”

Pup is trying to move on. He really is. But none of it seems to be working. He goes to grief counseling—the self-named Pity Party—with other kids at school. He tiptoes around his mother, not wanting to upset her. He tiptoes around everyone in his family, actually, including his brother Luke, who has descended into a sad, angry, drunken haze. Pup is in love with his best friend Izzy, who doesn’t love him back. And he’s about to fail art, of all things.

“Pup,” his teacher, Mr. Hughes tells him, “when I review your work over the course of the last year . . . a few things are clear to me. One, you can’t draw. Two, you can’t paint. Three, you can’t sculp, hew, chisel, stitch, craft, smudge, or cut with a scissors in a straight line.”

But his teacher doesn’t give up on him. He gives Pup a camera and tells him it is the last remaining mode of art left for him to try. “There’s nothing I would love more than to be proven wrong about you,” he says.

With the help of Abihet, another student working on photography, Pup finds his way into the art, and into her world. She teaches him some about photography, but Pup discovers that maybe, just possibly, there is something he is good at. And perhaps it will help him work through his, and his family’s, grief.

Sorry for Your Loss is a beautiful, sad, humorous book that traverses the deep and debilitating world of sorrow. Grief is different for every person, and this story delves into what it means to mourn, to live as an individual and a family after a death, and what possibilities there are for moving forward. This book will appeal not only to readers who themselves are grieving, but to anyone who wants to know how better to help people dealing with sorrow. Highly recommended.