When I am sent a non-fiction book, I have to consider if reviewing the tales told in it will be interesting enough to want to publish on my blog. I’ve been sent some non-fiction stories out there. This time I was okay with deciding if I wanted to review Two Floors Above Grief. The title was attention-catching. I had to know what that was about. Not many instances do you get to read about the life lived by families in funeral homes. I am sure if the need arose, I could find a funeral home willing to answer questions about their day-to-day lives, but there is something delightfully intimate about a memoir written by someone who lived it. So I was very excited to be able to sit down and read this book.
Two Floors Above Grief by Kevin M. O’Connor is an exciting visit to a man’s childhood home and the unorthodox but fascinating family he grew up around. Not only did our author grow up above a funeral home, giving him a look into a grasp at death that many a young child has a hard time understanding, but he also had a combined family of relatives. Our author’s uncle owns the funeral home, and his father helps run it. This resulted in two households living in the apartments above the funeral home and creating a family of four parents and various offspring, as the author refers to himself, his brothers, and his cousins. Creating a complex living environment where he could learn from all four parents.
The family history of O’Conner’s family and the funeral home is told in memories and letters that were saved throughout his life. This allows us to see these reminiscences from not just the author’s memory but also from the letters sent and received before and after the events resulting in a colorful tapestry of family history. The multiple views allow us to better grasp what life for a funeral home family was like for those living in the household and their relatives. If you are interested in memories, I suggest you pick up this family’s tale.