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Necessary Losses

Necessary Losses

3.6 11
by Judith Viorst

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From grief and mourning to aging and relationships, poet and Redbook contributor Judith Viorst presents a thoughtful and researched study in this examination of love, loss, and letting go.

Drawing on psychoanalysis, literature, and personal experience, Necessary Losses is a philosophy for understanding and accepting life’s


From grief and mourning to aging and relationships, poet and Redbook contributor Judith Viorst presents a thoughtful and researched study in this examination of love, loss, and letting go.

Drawing on psychoanalysis, literature, and personal experience, Necessary Losses is a philosophy for understanding and accepting life’s inevitabilities.

In Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst turns her considerable talents to a serious and far-reaching subject: how we grow and change through the losses that are a certain and necessary part of life. She argues persuasively that through the loss of our mothers’ protection, the loss of the impossible expectations we bring to relationships, the loss of our younger selves, and the loss of our loved ones through separation and death, we gain deeper perspective, true maturity, and fuller wisdom about life. She has written a book that is both life affirming and life changing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Personal experience, great literature liberally quoted here, and study of psychoanalytic theory are combined in this far-ranging, somewhat rambling book by Redbook columnist Viorst to demonstrate that growing and aging involve a succession of conscious and unconscious losses, including the loss of youth. Citing examples, and starting with the loss of the mother-child connection, she indicates that only by learning to relinquish people, places, situations and emotions that concern us at stages of life from childhood to old age can we develop a positive identity and self-image. We must realize, she argues, that these losses are a necessary part of life and growth. A strong sense of self will help us remain positive in the face of the many physical and psychological losses of old age and to accept life's final loss that is death. Losing, Viorst concludes, is the price we pay for living. (April)
Library Journal
Viorst, poet and Redbook contributor, is also a research graduate of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, and has worked in psychiatric settings. Her topic is loss because everyone must cope with it throughout life: childhood ends, we recognize that our expectations are unrealistic, friends and family members die, ultimately we die. Viorst offers a competent journalistic treatment of the subject, drawing upon psychoanalytic theory, interviews, and literature, and includes notes and a bibliography. Most of what she says has been said elsewhere, especially in books on mid-life crisis. Popular collections will want to have this because Viorst is known, but readers who expect a profound or truly personal approach to the topic may be disappointed. Margaret Allen, M.L.S., West Lebanon, N.H.
From the Publisher
Benjamin Spock, M.D. This perceptive book should absorb and enrich anyone who admits to being human.

United Press International The kind of book that belongs in every household. It is simply healthy to have around.

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People One of the most sensitive and comprehensive books about the human condition I have read in a long time.

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Free Press
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Meet the Author

Judith Viorst was born and brought up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University, moved to Greenwich Village, and has lived in Washington, DC, since 1960, when she married Milton Viorst, a political writer. They have three sons and seven grandchildren. A graduate in 1981 of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Viorst writes in many different areas: science books, children’s chapter and picture books—including the beloved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which has sold some four million copies—adult fiction and nonfiction—including the New York Times bestseller, Necessary Losses—poetry for children and adults, and four musicals. Her most recent book of poetry for adults, Wait For Me and Other Poems About the Irritations and Consolations of a Long Marriage, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2015. Her most recent book of poetry for children, What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? was published in 2016 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.

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Necessary Losses 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book allows us to understand that letting go of some things is part of a maturation process in life. Though many people commonly feel like letting go is like giving up and being a loser, we also know that the most important lessons in life are learned from our losses. This author sheds some light on the important difference between these two things by providing us with interesting examples from her experiences. I think this book is excellent for people who are at the brink of letting go of something important to them. It gives them an extra bit of inspiration to let go and move on with their lives. For people who are not near this stage, this book may not make much sense simply because they are not yet emotionally ready for the next step. Another book that is excellent in explaining the emotional process of letting go and how that relates to personal development is 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. It explains these seemingly complex things in such a simple way that it is absolutely stunning!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was not only enjoyable reading but illustrative of the many types of losses experienced by an individual, each one unique in its impact on individual growth through loss. Judith Viorst gives good perspectives on the notion of loss. This book was recommended reading for social work and research class.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would like to disagree with the slightly irresponsible reviews given this book by LIBRARY JOURNAL and PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY. Though their over-all reviews were positive, they implied that Judith Viorsts'work is well written and interesting for the most part but that it's been said before. I may not be as well-read as those reviewers but I read plenty of books of all kinds -- literary and or philosophical novels, philosophy and psychology books written for the layperson of which I am. I have also read a few textbooks of these types. Viorst doesn't write down to her readers. She writes as though we are her dear friends. After I've read anything written by her, whether it's a short essay, poetry, children's book or her other books like Necessary Losses, I come away from the reading feeling heartened, more knowledgeable and as though there is at least someone who has experienced the trials and happinesses that I have. There are answers in her expert weaving of words. I'd say that her book is like an answer-quilt -- one has to read and enjoy it and then when finished, re-read it in again in one's own mind, stand back and view it as you would a quilt. I think many will be astounded if they read any of her work with an open mind, always ready to receive information, knowledge and wisdom. Joy Lackey / p.o. Box 508 / Summersville, WV 26651
Way2Mellow More than 1 year ago
I'm ordering a used paperback of this edition today. I want to read her introduction, and to look where I believe I'll find a positive way to look at moving on to this next chapter of life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been reading this book for over 20 years. This is my comfort book. Making sense of life loss and tragic loss inparticular is difficult but I have sought comfort and understanding through this book and the lessons learned. Instead of sending flowers, I buy this book for people in my life who are experiencing difficult emotional times. It is a wonderful life resource that should be shared. I am purchasing two more today.
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