Review: All At Sea by Decca Aitkenhead

Decca is a British journalist whose first book was The Promised Land. Travels in search of the perfect E. I read her in Cosmopolitan in my twenties and she now writes about politics, the arts and more for The Guardian. She’s always seemed razor-sharp and fearless and she brings every ounce of that to her new book, All at Sea.

The story tells of her life with Tony and what happened after he drowned on a family holiday. She also looks at how teaching her own children about grief caused her to reassess her family’s way of handling the death or her mother.

There are similarities to Living On The Seabed by Lindsay Nicholson, in both the glitz of a high profile media life in the background, and in what makes it a compelling read, which is the humanity of the people in the foreground. While Decca seems always resolutely unsentimental, it takes a lot of heart to see people and write about them the way she does.

A recurring theme in the book is friends and family urging Decca not to do what she’s going ahead and doing anyway. This is the book for widowed people who need to go against the grain, which is all of us sooner or later.

First published in Issue 12 Widows and Widowers magazine

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