Laura Jenkins, PhD a respected member of the Loughborough University faculty, has offered her expert analysis of Megan Devine’s transformative book, It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay. With an academic background in psychology, Jenkins is well-equipped to critique works dealing with complex emotional processes such as grief.
Megan Devine, a therapist turned grief advocate, penned the book following the tragic loss of her husband. Her grief journey became a catalyst for her work, including developing extensive grief support resources and founding the Refuge in Grief website.
Jenkins praises Devine’s ability to present grief in an empathetic, digestible format. Structured in four parts, the book tackles the chaotic initial stages of grief, offers calming strategies for recovery, explores the well-intentioned but often misguided attempts by friends and family to offer support, and concludes with a message of hope for the future.
Jenkins shared: “As a cognitive psychologist and university teacher in psychology, I read a lot of texts that are academic in nature. These can be textbooks and journal articles that will help me with the content I am teaching. It’s very rare that I read a book outside of my workplace.
“I decided to read Megan Devine’s book as I’d seen quite a few posts on Twitter about it. I did not have a specific reason to read this but it appeared to have excellent reviews. There were really positive posts saying how much the book had helped people and how much the book was down to earth in terms of explaining and understanding grief.
“I ordered the book, decided it was going to be my evening reading and I honestly could not put the book down. Each chapter gave important and engaging information and I just wanted to read on. It took me a few evenings to read and I’m now looking for the next book I can read.”
Despite the uncomfortable nature of the subject matter, Jenkins found Devine’s personal insights and experiences made the book more than a guide, but rather a comforting companion for readers in their grieving process. The inclusion of practical advice, clear chapter division, and content warnings further highlights Devine’s considerate approach.
The book is peppered with real-life examples, normalising and validating the often overlooked aspects of grief. Jenkins lauds the author’s balance between sharing personal experiences and leaving space for the reader’s process, creating a connection while allowing readers to focus on their own grief.
Jenkins’ criticism is minimal; she notes that some readers may find the personal examples occasionally distracting. However, she suggests these sections can be skipped and returned to later if they interrupt the reader’s own processing of grief.
Jenkins strongly recommends It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay, both for those personally navigating loss or those seeking guidance on supporting others through their grieving process. Devine’s subsequent book, How to Carry What Can’t Be Fixed: A Journal for Grief, is eagerly anticipated by Jenkins and is sure to be another enriching contribution to grief literature.
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