My colleague picked up Mourning Has Broken by Erin Davis at the OLA Super Conference. She felt it would be an interesting read because she had listened to the radio broadcaster and therefore knew a little of the author’s story. I accepted the book as I have enjoyed memoirs in the past and thought reading about how a person overcame grief would be inspirational.
On the morning of May 11, 2015, Erin Davis, one of Canada’s most beloved radio personalities, suffered a devastating blow when her daughter Lauren, who had marked a joyous Mother’s Day with her husband and young son only hours before, failed to awaken to her baby’s cries.
Thus began Erin’s journey of grieving out loud with her family, friends and listeners, and of demonstrating by example how to pick up and keep going after suffering the worst loss a parent can endure.
For months after Lauren’s heart stopped beating, the reason for which the coroner said might never be known, Erin would awaken from a restless night’s sleep and look at the clock wondering, Is this the time she died? How could a mother sleep through the night when a part of herself had been torn from this life? How did my heart not stop too? she wondered.
I opened the book with the expectation that I would be reading a personal experience of a person overcoming grief. I was disappointed when I realised that the story was written as a journalist would write it. Even though the memoir was written in the first person, the author does not dig deep and expose raw emotions. It is as if a barrier has been placed between the reader and the writer’s inward emotions. Davis tells us about the facts and outlines a sequence of events but hesitates to let us in and experience the raw grief that she had.
The writing in this memoir is definitely a case of tell and not show. Davis describes to the reader, in detail, her thought processes and what she was thinking as she experienced her grief over the loss of her daughter. At times the writing is a bit repetitive and tedious. In addition, the timeline in the book jumps around a bit and I found myself having to piece together the progression of grief and its lessening over the two years described in the book.
There were moments when I felt that the writing in the memoir was more emotional and in depth. The pages in which Davis writes about her alcohol dependence (before her daughter’s death) made more of a connection with me than the rest. If she had opened up about her grief in this way, I would certainly have enjoyed this memoir more.
Even though I have experienced grief, I have not lost a child and, while reading Davis’ words, I did not experience a sense of what it would be like. For readers who have lost their children to death, the memoir may be more appealing as they could compare their experience to the writer’s. Those who know of Erin Davis as a radio personality, may enjoy this book as well because it gives the reader a snippet of her life. For me, however, the memoir fell flat.
I give this novel ⭐️ 1 star.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019
(This novel was the 43rd in my book pledge for 2019)