Disarmingly witty and poignant, Sloane Crosley’s memoir explores multiple kinds of loss following the death of her closest friend.
Grief Is for People is a deeply moving and surprisingly suspenseful portrait of friendship, and a book about loss packed with verve for life. Sloane Crosley is one of our most renowned observers of contemporary behavior, and now the pathos that has been ever present in her trademark wit is on full display. After the pain and confusion of losing her closest friend to suicide, Crosley looks for answers in friends, philosophy, and art, hoping for a framework more useful than the unavoidable stages of grief.
For most of her adult life, Sloane and Russell worked together and played together as they navigated the corridors of office life, the literary world, and the dramatic cultural shifts in New York City. One day, while Russell is still alive, Sloane’s apartment is broken into. Along with her most prized possessions, the thief makes off with her sense of security, leaving a mystery in its place.
When Russell dies exactly one month later, his suicide propels her on a wild quest to right the unrightable, to explore what constitutes family and possession as the city itself faces the staggering toll brought on by the pandemic.
Crosley’s search for truth is frank, darkly funny, and gilded with a resounding empathy. Upending the “grief memoir,” Grief Is for People is the category-defying story of the struggle to hold on to the past without being consumed by it. A modern elegy, it rises precisely to console and challenge our notions of mourning during these grief-stricken times.
"Not only a joy to read, but also a respectful and philosophical work . . . A sharp narrative that finds commonality in the dislocation brought on by these events . . . A warm remembrance sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced loss . . . Marvelously tender."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In this vivid, and bitingly funny account, Sloane Crosley exposes the magical thinking and murk that follow a friend's suicide. Crosley's prose is honest, lucid, and always surprising; I can't imagine a better companion to guide us through the pain of losing a friend. A painful and necessary book; I will be keeping it close for years to come."
—Meghan O'Rourke, author of The Invisible Kingdom
"I have come to rely on Sloane Crosley for her oyster knife humor, bourbon hot observation, and indelible portraits of how we live with each other. Grief Is For People is about how we live without the ones we love. Crosley brings her whole self to this memoir—her gifts, her flaws, her intellect, her wit and emotion. She loves hard, grieves hard, and writes with the beauty and urgency of a white hot star. I wish I didn’t 'get' this book as much as I do but Grief Is for People is the book I didn’t know I needed to read."
—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
"Is it wrong to say that a memoir about loss and grieving is fun to read? If so, I’m in trouble, because I enjoyed every word of this book. I also ached and suffered along with Crosley: Her portrait of mourning after the suicide of her best friend is gutting and deeply engaging."
—Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief
“An indelible portrait of a singular friendship, Grief Is for People is a beautifully written and sharply observed memoir about grief, yes, but also: secrets, betrayal, rage, work, community, and most of all, love. It's both a provocation and a balm to the soul.”
—Dani Shapiro, author of Family History
"Grief Is for People captures the feeling of watching a beloved, inappropriate and wild person fit less and less with the times we live in. Like Didion's The Year Of Magical Thinking or Defoe's Journal of a Plague Year, Grief Is for People takes us through the ordinary, awful and never-quite-ending experience of loss. It also made me laugh very hard, many times. I can't stop thinking about it."
"Potent and propulsive, a lyrical meditation on loss and what comes after. Grief Is for People is heartbreaking and wholly original."
—Tara Westover, author of Educated
Praise for Sloane Crosley:
"One of America's wittiest writers."
—Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less is Lost
"Crosley wields her wit and commands all of your attention..."
“[Crosley] has that rare ability to treat scrapes with sardonic humor and inject serious subjects with levity and hijinks with real feeling — a sort of unlicensed nurse to our souls."