[Read my intro to Good Gifts for Widowed People, with the complete list of reviews]
A helpful, accessible book, with one major limitation for readers who don't believe in a Judeo-Christian deity.
This book has one major drawback: it was my introduction to the "stealth" use of religion in grief support. Many have commented that they are "turned off" by Hickman's assumption that you share her religious convictions and practices, which I'd categorize as generic Judeo-Christian (It's not evangelical, and not specifically Christian). I didn't find this a problem, because each entry is so brief — I'm my own individual snowflake and all, so I wouldn't expect 100% of any book to work perfectly for me. I would not have purchased a book that was one bit more Christian than this one, but in my experience of this book and as I used it, the religious content didn't much detract from the comfort it provided. It did, obviously, diminish the book's ability to provide inspiration -- something it does try to do (and achieve, if you agree).
I DO have a problem with the fact that there's no mention made in the cover material or marketing blurbs of the religious orientation: I think all Americans who consider themselves religious should be offended any time support is offered with the assumption of faith. In this book it's one thing, but it happens over and over again in books and organizations that target grieving people. The last thing you need when you've suffered a major loss is to have someone try to sell you a religion. Note to religious leaders: soft sell works better anyway.
I'll write more about this at another time — I feel quite strongly about it (surprise!). But for now, I'll say that a mild but hidden religious message is the only thing that mars this otherwise excellent book. If you're considering a gift to someone who is really uninterested in the Judeo-Christian tradition (loss tends to shake even many people who are pretty devout) you might avoid this book, or give it with a note saying, "I've heard this is a useful book despite…"
Especially for: Anyone living with grief, Families living with child loss, Widowed people of all ages, People with short attention spans, Men.
Spiritual orientation: Non-proselytizing, faithful Judeo-Christian, but religious content is not always obvious.
Available editions: eBook for Kindle, paperback.