When Long Litt Woon’s husband suddenly dies at age 54, she signs up for a class that her and her husband had intended to take together but never got around to. She takes a beginner’s class on mushrooming. She eventually becomes a certified mushroom expert.
In this book, Long Litt Woon tells the story of, “…two parallel journeys: an outer one, into the realm of mushrooms, and an inner one, through the landscape of mourning” (p. 282).
There is a lot about mushrooms in this book. We also get a glimpse into the culture of mushroom experts. Throughout the book, Long Litt Woon weaves in her thoughts and observations about her grief: “One thing I’m sure of: the grieving process does not follow a linear step-by-step pattern. It is complex and full of moveable parts. There is no straight, predictable arrow pointing upward from a grief-stricken existence to a grief-free state, the road twists and turns, and so-called progress occurs when it suits the grief, not you” (p. 87).
The main theme that I was left with after reading this book was how after such a significant loss, the question of identity comes up. Who am I now? Who do I want to be? Long Litt Woon shows that there is still room to grow, to learn, to live even after loss and while grieving.
I’m Elaine Gee-Wong and I'm a therapist with a private practice in Santa Clara, CA.
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