Cover image for Black widow : a sad-funny journey through grief for people who normally avoid books with words like "journey" in the title
Black widow : a sad-funny journey through grief for people who normally avoid books with words like "journey" in the title
First edition.
Physical Description:
viii, 262 pages ; 22 cm
Publisher Annotation: With her signature warmth, hilarity, and tendency to overshare, Leslie Gray Streeter gives us real talk about love, loss, grief, and healing in your own way. 272pp., 25K


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 155.937 STR 1 1

On Order



With her signature warmth, hilarity, and tendency to overshare, Leslie Gray Streeter gives us real talk about love, loss, grief, and healing in your own way that "will make you laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page" (James Patterson).
Leslie Gray Streeter is not cut out for widowhood. She's not ready for hushed rooms and pitying looks. She is not ready to stand graveside, dabbing her eyes in a classy black hat. If she had her way she'd wear her favorite curve-hugging leopard print dress to Scott's funeral; he loved her in that dress! But, here she is, having lost her soulmate to a sudden heart attack, totally unsure of how to navigate her new widow lifestyle. ("New widow lifestyle." Sounds like something you'd find products for on daytime TV, like comfy track suits and compression socks. Wait, is a widow even allowed to make jokes?)

Looking at widowhood through the prism of race, mixed marriage, and aging, Black Widow redefines the stages of grief, from coffin shopping to day-drinking, to being a grown-ass woman crying for your mommy, to breaking up and making up with God, to facing the fact that life goes on even after the death of the person you were supposed to live it with. While she stumbles toward an uncertain future as a single mother raising a baby with her own widowed mother (plot twist!), Leslie looks back on her love story with Scott, recounting their journey through racism, religious differences, and persistent confusion about what kugel is. Will she find the strength to finish the most important thing that she and Scott started?

Tender, true, and endearingly hilarious, Black Widow is a story about the power of love, and how the only guide book for recovery is the one you write yourself.

Author Notes

Leslie Gray Streeter is an entertainment columnist for the Palm Beach Post . Her writing has been featured in the Miami Herald , Modern Loss , and elsewhere. Streeter's many speaking engagements include annual appearances at Camp Widow, a national organization for widowed people reaching nearly 500,000, and a series of book club events for women. Leslie lives in West Palm Beach with her mother, Tina, and her son, Brooks.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Palm Beach Post columnist Streeter discusses losing her husband and adopting her son in a bittersweet memoir that approaches heavy subjects with lightness and humor. When Streeter was 44, her husband, Scott, died from a heart attack while they were "making out" as their nearly two-year-old son, Brooks, whom they were in the process of adopting, slept in another room. The book opens on the day of the funeral, as Streeter, who is African-American and Baptist, tries to plan a religiously and culturally inclusive send-off for Scott, who was white and Jewish. The author fondly remembers when she and Scott first met, their quest to adopt, and the joy they felt when Brooks was placed with them as a foster child. She is forthright in discussing her life as a widow: she eats and drinks too much as a way of coping, moves in with her mother for support, has to tell Brooks that his dad is dead, and adopts him as a single parent. "I've climbed out of hell by the tips of my raggedy fingertips," Streeter writes. This hopeful account will appeal to readers who enjoy stories of resiliency and new life chapters. (Mar.)

Kirkus Review

A memoir about how the author coped with her husband's sudden death.In her seriocomic debut, Palm Beach Post entertainment columnist Streeter pays tribute to her husband, Scott, by sharing detailed stories about their life together and her many struggles dealing with his death. Because Scott was white and Jewish and the author is black and Baptist, religion, racism, integration, and acceptance are significant topics throughout the narrative. For the first few months after his death, Streeter was overcome by grief as she had to pick Scott's coffin (a "lovely, Jewish-law-compliant pine box"), choose the appropriate spot to bury him and which dress to wear to the funeral, and, most importantly, figure out how to tell their son, almost-2-year-old Brooks, whose adoption was nearly complete, that "Daddy's not actually working late." The author also shares her insecurities about weight and overeating, the intense exercise program she endured to get back in shape after binging, how she drank to avoid the pain, and the necessity of relying on her mother, who had also recently lost her husband. Although Streeter's humor occasionally feels forced, her grief, lucidly portrayed, is tangible, and it's clear writing about her difficult experiences proved cathartic to her and to those who know her and Scott and their relationship. The most moving part of the book, divided into chapters such as "Grief Cake," "Healing: It's Like Putting Eyeliner on a Baby," and "You're Gonna Make it After All," concerns the author's continued hopes and fears regarding the final adoption of their son, a narrative thread that culminates in a heartwarming verdict by the judge. Her resilience in the face of devastating loss is commendable, and while the book isn't a top-shelf memoir about grief, Streeter's candid exploration will resonate with those who have dealt with similar circumstances.A love-filled eulogy to a beloved husband and the special times the couple shared before he died. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

In 2015, when she was 44, Palm Beach Post columnist Streeter became widowed following husband Scott's unexpected death. This, after being married for only a few years and in the process of adopting a toddler. Streeter writes about having to care for their son while figuring out how to live without Scott in smooth, conversational prose that carries readers through stories of good and bad times in their lives, including the trials and tribulations they faced as an interracial and interreligious couple. Readers who have experienced loss will recognize the tumble of emotions Streeter describes, as she responds to inappropriate bereavement comments and the stress of suddenly negotiating burial details for one's 40-something spouse with a mix of indignation and black humor. VERDICT A deep reflection on young widowhood, foster care and adoption, and the persistence of love, this work is recommended to fans of Nora McInerny (The Hot Young Widows Club), and anyone interested in stories of love, friendship, family, and loss, bound together with a wide, sparkly ribbon of humor. [See Prepub Alert, 8/25/19.]--Monica Howell, Northwestern Health Sciences Univ. Lib., Bloomington, MN

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Now, This Is a Story All About How My Life Got Flipped-Turned Upside Downp. 3
Chapter 2 Love Is All Aroundp. 13
Chapter 3 Believe It or Not, It's Just Mep. 28
Chapter 4 Love, Exciting and New!p. 43
Chapter 5 You the Wife?p. 57
Chapter 6 Grief Cakep. 70
Chapter 7 Try Not to Ruin Your Romantic Weekend by Throwing Up Too Muchp. 85
Chapter 8 Bashertp. 99
Chapter 9 To a Deluxe Apartment in the Skyp. 121
Chapter 10 The Life-Changing Magic of Sloppy, Grief-Based Housecleaningp. 139
Chapter 11 Life Is Unfairp. 156
Chapter 12 A Brand-New Life Around the Bendp. 173
Chapter 13 Healing: It's Like Putting Eyeliner on a Babyp. 188
Chapter 14 Will It Be "Yes" or Will It Be "Sorry"?p. 201
Chapter 15 Ready to Take a Chance Again. Maybe. Probablyp. 213
Chapter 16 The Once and Future Roommatep. 224
Chapter 17 On with the Showp. 234
Chapter 18 You're Gonna Make It After Allp. 246