Book Review: Season of Heartbreak by Mark Gregory Karris

unnamedIn Season of Heartbreak: Healing for the Heart, Brain, and Soul, Mark Gregory Karris seeks to lead readers through the process of grief after a breakup with a romantic partner. Karris divides the book into four parts: 1) Grieving Processes, 2) Grieving Pathways, 3) Grieving Practices, and 4) Grieving Ponderings.

Overall, I found this book intriguing and sound. From the start, I was very impressed with his use of legitimate research. I wasn’t expecting to find a strong bibliography when I picked up this book, but Karris uses numerous peer-reviewed journal articles along with a variety of credible authors and sources. I appreciated Karris’ fuller perspective on grieving well, which requires more than mere prayer. Never once does he assume anything close to a “just get over it” or “forgive and forget” posture, but rather he consistently conveys compassion and affirms that every person’s process of grieving and mending is unique and occurs at its own pace. Karris’ theology is orthodox and he includes a broad collection of spiritual thinkers and authors. In addition, Karris writes at a swift pace, so I didn’t feel bogged with lengthy chapters; it’s a fairly quick read.

Though I find Season of Heartbreak to be a worthwhile resource, it has two setbacks for me. First, some of Karris’ writing and phrasing is incredibly cheesy. He must be the kind of preacher who always has three points that either all rhyme or start with the same letter (just reference how all of the four parts start with “Grieving” plus a word that begins with “P”). Unfortunately, such consistent banal language–though not entirely deleterious–detracted from the substance of Karris’ content for me as a reader. Second, I can’t see myself strongly recommending this book to someone who has recently experienced a breakup. I think it might be more useful for those desiring to support someone else through the suffering of a heartbreak, but I can’t imagine many of the students I work with being interested in reading this during tumultuous times.

In the end, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. The content is solid, but some of the writing style felt trite compared to the depth of its matter.

** Thank you to Kregel Publications for providing a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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