The Widower's Guide to a New Life
by Joanna Romer
MSI Press

"If you go about comparing every woman you meet with your late wife, you're probably not going to have a very good dating experience. Rather than judging, trying to give the woman you're with a good time. That may set the tone for having a good time yourself!"

Joanna Romer, for sixteen years a teacher of communications, has created a straightforward guide for men who have lost their wives. The advice is wide-ranging: how to cope with solo holidays, especially the first one; what to do with the contents of your wife's closet; how to retain the parental role as a single; approaches to dating and social life in general; joining new groups for companionship; and a useful list of things that the helpful ladies and other friends who bring you casseroles can also do for you: "watch your pets... fix you a meal when you just can't seem to get one together, sort through papers, photos, keepsakes or anything else that has you stymied." Throughout the book there are case histories of widowers, detailing their experiences and offering personal advice to others in the same difficult situation, such as "You’re not meant to stay in grieving." Many of the stories and recommendations are faith based (prayer, doing something nice for others), indicating that religion can play an important role in emotional healing.

Through the course of this small manual, Romer writes in simple, well-organized prose, while citing the emotional changes that widowers may go through, mindful of the sensitivities of her audience. To someone coping with deep grief at the loss of a life companion, the suggestions to socialize, re-visit a long lost hobby like playing a musical instrument, or just eat properly will seem at times overwhelming, but Romer offers them in a soothing way, like a wise and helpful friend. Because Romer directs her advice specifically to men, her book has special appeal. The Widower's Guide to a New Life will doubtless provide solace and assistance to its target readership.

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