death for beginners

early reactions


"chris gerolmo manages to record his thoughts and feelings with heroic honesty. the result is not only transcendent, but surprisingly funny. you won't forget a single entry, I promise."

steven soderbergh​​, director


-"this is a small book with a huge heart. the writing is raw, with a depth, intelligence and wit that makes the reader forget the brutal sadness of its subject. tt's a beautiful love letter to a dead wife. a cathartic, brutal, honest, infuriating love story."

christopher kennedy lawford, author of new york times bestselling memoir, symptoms of withdrawal


"i loved death for beginners. i love it for its beauty and horror and power and wisdom. there is nothing else quite like this book, in my humble opinion."

- bruce eric kaplan, a/k/a bek, new yorker artist

"brave, beautifully-wrought, and heart-breaking."

alexandra styron​​, author of all the finest girls & the upcoming reading my father: a memoir


“it is a pleasure to recommend death for beginners for any family member struggling to recover from the loss of a loved one. in writing this book, chris gerolmo has combined wit, wisdom and creativity into an admixture that makes a very serious subject manageable, palatable , and even enjoyable to read. i view this a rare and unique feat in dealing with death and the resolution of loss and grief.”

david wellisch, ph.d. professor-in-residence, chief psychologist, adult division, department of psychiatry, david geffen school of medicine at ucla

chris' book, death for beginners, is the story of his wife joan's passing after a long and difficult battle with cancer.


it's been published by patcheny press, a small imprint based in santa monica run by scott chamberlin.


here's what people have had to say about it:


"chris gerolmo's death for beginners is a heart-wrenching, brutally honest, and ultimately cathartic book about losing his wife to cancer. there are lessons for all of us in his pain, the way he coped, and the desperate love he showed for his wife and their children in the face of an incurable disease. the book makes you stop and think--and even occasionally laugh--about the things we take for granted in our lives, and in the lives and departures of our loved ones. from a to z, it's a soul-searching chronicle of a death foretold that offers hope, and sustenance, with a remarkable absence of empty platitudes, for all of us."

bruce feirstein, contributing editor, vanity fair