How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
Susan Cain • Crown
Susan Cain wants to know if we can transform the way we love, lead, parent, talk about death, and understand each other by embracing the “hidden riches of sorrow and longing.” In looking for the answer, Cain turns to philosophers (past and present), researchers, songs, poems, and anecdotes and weaves them together in nine chapters.
We’re never given a single answer to what is possible when we embrace the bitter in bittersweet emotions, partly because each of us gets to choose how and when to let sorrow in. (And if you’re not sure what that means in your life, Cain developed a “Bittersweet Quiz” to gauge whether you inhabit a bittersweet state instinctively.) Instead, we follow Cain on an exploration of the wisdom in sadness throughout history. With a hodgepodge of examples of turning toward difficult emotions laid out for us, we’re able to consider committed action to move from bitter to sweet, from loss to love, without shying away from the former in each of those options. “Bittersweetness shows us how to respond to pain: by…