What Looks Like Bravery: An Epic Journey Through Loss to Love (Hardcover)

What Looks Like Bravery: An Epic Journey Through Loss to Love By Laurel Braitman Cover Image
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A true story about the ways loss can transform us into the people we want to become.

“What Looks Like Bravery is a gorgeous, tender, and beautiful book. I'm in tears with the happy-sad truth and beauty of it. Laurel is a magnificent writer.” —Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild

Laurel Braitman spent her childhood learning from her dad how to out-fish grown men, keep bees, and fix carburetors. Diagnosed young with terminal cancer, he raced against the clock to leave her the skills she’d need to survive without him. This was one legacy. Another was relentless perfectionism and the belief that bravery meant never acknowledging your own fear.

By her mid-thirties Laurel is a ship about to splinter on the rocks, having learned the hard way that no achievement can protect her from pain or remove the guilt and regret her dad’s death leaves her with. So, she determines to explore her troubled internal wilderness by way of some big exterior ones—Northern New Mexico, Western Alaska, her Tinder App. She finds help from a wise birder in the Bering Sea, a few dozen grieving kids, and a succession of smart teachers who convince her that you cannot be brave if you’re not scared. Along the way, she faces a wildfire that threatens everyone and everything she cares about and is forced by life to say another wrenching goodbye long before she wants to. This time she may not be ready, but she’s prepared. Joy in the wake of loss, she learns, isn’t possible despite the hardest things that happen to us, but because of the meaning we forge from them.

About the Author

Laurel Braitman is the New York Times bestselling author of Animal Madness. She has a PhD from MIT in the history and anthropology of science and is the Director of the Writing and Storytelling Program at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street JournalThe GuardianWired, and a variety of other publications. She lives between rural Alaska and her family’s citrus and avocado ranch in Southern California. She can be reached at LaurelBraitman.com.

Praise For…

“Evocative and clear-eyed . . . Just as Eat Pray Love and Wild inspired millions, this book will send countless readers on a different—yet no less life-changing or profound—pilgrimage, as it did for me.” —Samin Nosrat, New York Times bestselling author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat 

"What Looks Like Bravery is a gorgeous, tender and beautiful book. I'm in tears with the happy-sad truth and beauty of it. Laurel is a magnificent writer.” —Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild

"I freaking love this book. It’s about so many things, but mostly love and loss, and how you can’t let fear keep you from experiencing all the love – and pain and joy – in this glorious, heart-breaking, unpredictable world." — Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, The Silver Star, and Half Broke Horses

“The best kind of breathless, propulsive, rollicking human story—it will surprise you, inspire you, break your heart, and make you laugh out loud. To say this book is impossible to put down is cliché, but true: I tore through it in one sitting. It’s a life-changing lesson in healing from loss and trauma and a master class in resilience. It couldn’t have come at a better time. —Rebecca Skloot, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“A gripping, luminous story. Braitman teaches us how to stay open to life and love in a world we can’t control, a world in which loss is inevitable but where hope springs eternal. It’s a revelatory tale about using your past to create your own beautiful future. A must-read.” —Lucy Kalanithi, MD, Stanford School of Medicine and widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of When Breath Becomes Air

“Beautiful. Laurel proves to us that home is something you carry inside of you and, in it, there is room for every feeling—the great, the bad, and the cheeky. This book will tear you apart and then put you back together again—and it will feel so good.” —BJ Miller, MD, author of A Beginner’s Guide to the End

“Gripping and gorgeous, this memoir is drawn from wisdom that only comes from life-altering loss. With breathtaking candor, Braitman sits us down by the campfire and shares a story that is relatable in its humanity but filled with the unexpected details that make for a riveting, mesmerizing tale. It made me understand my own childhood in a whole new way. What Looks Like Bravery is deeply, surprisingly healing.” —Kevin Kwan, New York Times bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians

"Read this survivor tale. Braitman transforms a free-fall, into a soaring triumph. It’s a little slutty, a lot brilliant, and you may notice the falcon that was always there, waiting for you to look up." — Jillian Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Some Girls, Pretty, All You Ever Wanted and more

"After a spell of world traveling, earning a doctorate, racking up honors and achievements, and, most of all, enduring the ordinary griefs of life, the author prevail[s]. One of her closing realizations is worth the cover price alone: 'There is no such thing as happily ever after. There is only happily sad or sadly happy.' An affecting investigation of loss, sorrow, and the search for meaning."Kirkus Reviews

"An inspiring memoir...Her prose is shot through with rigor and intellectual curiosity, resulting in a candid study of one woman’s long path to emotional peace. This is perfect for anyone looking to heal a broken heart." Publishers Weekly

"Readers struggling with grief will identify strongly with Braitman’s story."Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9781501158506
ISBN-10: 1501158503
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 14th, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English