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Reviewed by Samantha Dewitt (Rivera) for Readers' Favorite
Family is our first experience of love, trust, support, and all things good in life. But it can also be our first experience with hatred, bitterness, anger, darkness, and so many bad things. When the one that you love most, the one who you’ve experienced all the best that life has to offer with is hurting … and when their hurt is dragging you down, it can feel impossible to separate the two. To separate the person who you love and want to be around from the person who you need to avoid for your well-being. And that’s exactly what Danielle Ariano describes in The Requirement of Grief. Alexis is her sister, her closest friend, and her confidante. But Alexis is also perpetually suicidal, and it’s that side of her, the side that’s taking over everything else, that is tearing Dani apart. As she comes to terms with the good experiences she and her sister have had throughout the years, as well as the hardships that have characterized their lives more recently, she also has to face her thoughts and feelings on everything that has happened in both their lives. She will have to decide what her life is going to look like moving forward through her grief and into the future.
The Requirement of Grief by Danielle Ariano is a story of two sisters not only in their childhood but in their adult lives as well. Each chapter alternates between stories of the two girls as adults and stories of their interactions as children. The childhood chapters set the stage for how the two girls were close, but the adulthood chapters tell another story. Each of the chapters progresses the overall story of how Dani must process the grief and all the other feelings that go along with her sister’s suicide, and each one does it very well. The book moves along at a brisk pace and each chapter feels like the reader is getting to know the two main characters better. The reader learns about their highs and lows, their experiences together and apart, and everything that makes them who they are. This book is about grief and loss but also love and growth and it fulfills each of these tasks well.