The Box Must Be Empty: A Memoir of Complicated Grief, Spiritual Despair, and Ultimate Healing by Marilyn Kriete Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Marilyn Kriete shares the painstaking reality of grief and the danger of burying grief for too long in her book “The Box Must Be Empty: A Memoir of Complicated Grief, Spiritual Despair, and Ultimate Healing”.


The Synopsis

What happens when buried grief rises two decades late, upending the life you’ve built on its coffin? When your old grief seems inappropriate, and your heart wrestles with grief upon grief as you move too many times and lose too many friendships? How do you recover from a devastated marriage, a crushed faith, and an endlessly broken heart? This is the crux of Marilyn Kriete’s crisis. After losing her first great love to cancer, she becomes a Christian, marries Henry, and joins him in a hectic worldwide ministry that leaves little room for personal reflection. When her old grief unexpectedly resurfaces, she’s shocked by the tsunami that rips through their lives. And when intensive counseling fails to bring healing and Henry pens a letter that decimates their churches and spins them out of the fellowship, her battered heart is tested beyond imagination. Exploring delayed and complicated grief in its many disguises—dashed dreams, disenchantment, family troubles, and the guilt of being a former faith leader, now grappling with depression and dismay—Marilyn candidly shares her long journey back to wholeness. helps independent authors bring their creative vision to the marketplace. Sell eBooks online in the biggest retail stores.

The Review

This was an emotional and captivating memoir. The author does a really wonderful job of writing in a way that connects to readers who have experienced grief themselves or are survivors of an emotionally draining and complicated event themselves. The author’s story is compelling, touching upon some important themes of grief, loss, and the journey to come to terms with that grief. The imagery and tone the author strikes are both somber and yet hopeful all at once, crafting a memorable story that compels the readers to continue forward with the author as they experience this emotional weight. 

The balance the author found within the context of the book was great to see unfold. From the author’s personal experiences and emotional connections to her past to the impact her grief had on her family and those around her and the importance of faith in recovering from this grief was so profoundly felt. The way the author talks about letting this grief simmer under the surface is something so many people can relate to, as it becomes instinct for many people to hold onto the things that are upsetting or emotionally draining to them and bury them under the weight of life itself. While this may seem like such a powerful tool to help cope, the result is an explosive emotional wave that can consume us far more than the initial grief itself, and the author illustrates this perfectly.

The Verdict

Emotionally driven, captivating, and engaging, author Marilyn Kriete’s “The Box Must Be Empty” is a compelling and heartfelt memoir that paints a vivid picture of the grieving process and the impact unresolved grief can have on a person’s life and those around them. The raw emotions and moving journey the author showcases in her book will resonate with readers long after the book ends, so if you haven’t yet be sure to preorder your copy today or grab the book when it releases on April 4th, 2023! 

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Marilyn Kriete was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, but she didn’t stay long. After a colorful life spanning four continents and 16 cities, earning her keep as cook, chambermaid, waitress, fisherwoman, missionary, speaker/teacher, tutor, and academic writing editor, Marilyn now lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, with her charitable husband Henry and three demanding cats. Their two grown children were adopted from Mumbai, India, and Athens, Georgia. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Lyric, Storyteller, The Eastern Iowa Review, The English Bay Review, and Brevity Blog. Her first memoir, Paradise Road, relates the runaway/hippie/bicycle touring odyssey that led to the next chapters of her unconventional story-and material for two more memoirs. Her debut memoir was also named the winner in the non-fiction adventure category of the Book Excellence Awards. The 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards named Paradise Road the winner in the Young Adult Non-Fiction category and a finalist for New Adult Non-Fiction. It was also a finalist for Book Cover Design-Non Fiction. Her nonfiction essay took First Prize in the 2022 Wine Country Writers Festival Writing Contest in British Columbia. Marilyn enjoys hiking, deep talks, word games, documentaries, and other people’s stories and reflections. You can follow her writing journey on


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