Review of Adriel Booker’s Grace Like Scarlett

Previously published in the Hughson Chronicle & Denair Dispatch.

Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope After Miscarriage and Loss helps women lean into grief

I am ever on the hunt to find new resources to share with you. You have read about the stages of grief and coping skills for anxiety, fear and building blocks for the good life. Today, I share with you a book I encountered that may be useful in your life or in the life of someone you know: Grace Like Scarlett.

Photograph of book cover for Grace Like Scarlett by Adriel Booker

It is about miscarriage.

We do not usually talk openly about miscarriage in society. It seems like a private thing, a woman’s thing, a family issue. That privacy that surrounds this tragedy often exasperates the grief those who have experienced miscarriage feel. They do not know where to turn. They do not know how to mourn.

My miscarriages took place long ago, in a far-a-way life before the present concerns of my world existed.

But I remember miscarriage when was felt all the way to my bones. It opened up a world of fear, what if I cannot have children or carry children? Then my firstborn came and she was perfect. I thought that was the end of miscarriages for me. When it happened again, I felt the wild grief that Adriel writes about.

As part of the launch team, I read Grace Like Scarlett

As I read, I thought of my experiences and the women I have known since then who miscarried, while reading, images of women I knew who bled and suffered flashed through my mind. Women who had no more children following a miscarriage, women who were afraid to name their babies as they ran from their grief, women who lost their faith when they lost their child, women who went on to have other children and, surrounded by that blessedness, dwelled little on the little ones they lost.

This was the first book I have seen that addresses this topic. She does so, unapologetically from a Christian perspective. In times of crisis, one’s values become sustenance. They either strengthen or fall away. Even for those who do not hold a Christian worldview, she offers poignant insights on the nature of grief, shame, comparison and jealousy worthwhile to behold.

We cannot know exactly what someone is experiencing it, which makes it nearly impossible to prescribe what the person should do with her grief. Adriel’s approach is to walk alongside and share about her three miscarriages. She emphasizes how important is not to compare our grief to another person’s grief, either in order to pity ourselves more or minimize our suffering.

Adriel dives in. Her language is direct and gritty in those early chapters. The particulars of trauma stain our memories so deeply that her bluntness resonated with me. It mirrored the way I experienced my experiences, but in ways not generally shared in polite society. Her writing softens after that because it would be far too much intensity for an entire book.

Suffering is normal

but Adriel preaches that at the heart of God is love for us and a desire to help us. She identifies that God works with us to help us, the key word being with. It will not happen magically without us leaning into our grief.

In Chapters 6 and 7, Adriel brings in the testimony of women she interviewed, universalizing the message to fit the many shades of grief.

When discussing shame, she gives voice to the irrational jealousy that accompanies loss. This jealousy gets us nowhere, but it does point us back to ourselves to see which wounds hurt most.

In the end, she writes the path I walked.

These times of crisis are opportunities for grace. An open heart’s capacity is to feel the full range of emotions. That is what it means to be fully alive. To shut off or run from the bad means, eventually, we will no longer be capable of fully experiencing the good. Grief must be leaned into, or as Adriel put it, we must duck-dive, head first, into that wild world of emotions. Only then, can we find healing.

For more thoughts on Grace Like Scarlett, check out my review on the Blessed is She Blog.

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