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Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer


National Library Board


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Title: Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer

Author:                   Heather Lende

Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015

Call Number: English 170.44 LEN

Link to availability:


Being an obituary writer may seem all grim and depressing, but Lende does not let her occupation affect her outlook on life. Instead, she chooses to be optimistic and seeks out the good in everything.


Writing obituaries has taught Lende the value of discovering the good things in life, as she finds and writes about the best part of each deceased person’s life. In Find the Good, she recounts the many lessons that she has learned from her job and her encounters in the small town of Haines. In each chapter, Lende reminds us that how we face each situation, be it good or bad, can make a difference in how our lives are lived. As Lende mentions, “We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there’s still time for additions and revisions before it goes to press.” The collection of simple yet beautiful stories of the close-knit community in Haines invites the reader to discover new perspectives and live a life worth writing about.


Despite being a short book, this is truly a heart-warming read. It is bound to inspire readers to celebrate life and always see the silver lining in the clouds!


Excerpt (Pg 7 - 8):


“I think about children first when bad things happen. How can we reaffirm that there’s so much to applaud, even if they see nothing worthy of an ovation? And then I know. Whenever there is a tragedy, from the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to when a fisherman dies after slipping off the deck here in Haines, awful events are followed by dozens and dozens of good deeds. It’s not that misery loves company, exactly; rather, it’s that suffering, in all its forms, and our response to it, binds us together across dinner tables, neighbourhoods, towns and cities, and even time. Bad doings bring out the best in people.


Lives were saved at the finish line of the Boston Marathon because bystanders ran toward the explosions to help, rather than away from them. This is what Fred “Mr.” Rogers’s mother wanted him to notice when he was frightened by scary news. “Look for the helpers,” she told him. “You will always find people helping.” Mr Rogers passed along that advice to millions of other children (and their parents) who were scared or angered by violence or tragedy, and it helped them, too.”


Above book review is contributed by Jaslin Koh, National Library Board (NLB). 


Availability of the book title can be checked via NLB’s online catalogue at