I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Author Lee Fearnside takes readers on an emotional and insightful journey into how celebrity deaths impact the public and what it means to remember them and say goodbye to them in the book, “Death Never Dies: Mourning 2020 Through the Lives and Deaths of Public Figures”.
This anthology mourns 27 public figures who died in 2020 with essays and poetry by 40 writers paired with relief print portraits. Some may have been celebrities for decades, while others found international attention through their deaths, but all shaped our perception of our world. The public figures mourned range from Eddie Van Halen to Ellis Marsalis Jr., George Floyd to Jim Lehrer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Kobe Bryant.
Contributing writers include poets laureate, a screenwriter, playwrights, artists, educators, activists, journalists, a chef, and storytellers.
Mourning celebrities may be a way to mourn something larger. We don’t know these people, after all, but they often have significance in our lives. By reflecting on people through words and images, this project asks who and what do we want to say goodbye to, and who and what do we want to remember. Together, these images and words help us understand our relationships to each other and to ourselves during this tumultuous year.
This is such an insightful and engaging read. The interesting aspect of this book is how the author brought together so many different writers to add their voices to the cacophony of emotions and powerful writing that inhabits this collection. The study of celebrities and public figures is so inherently fascinating and investing in our modern age when news and gossip are available at the touch of a button instantly now.
When a well-known public figure who has had an impact either purposely or inadvertently on our lives passes away, we feel that loss deeply. For me, one loss, in particular, hit hard in 2020, and that was Chadwick Boseman. The actor had become an icon for so many people around the world as the actor behind King T’Challa, aka The Black Panther of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While I connected to him as a fan of the comics, I could feel and recognize the emotional and inspiring impact he had on so many in the Black community around the world, and to see him go at such a young age was heartbreaking. Reading the heartfelt and emotional poetry and essays that so many writers put into this person’s life and death was incredibly moving, and really highlighted the impact those in the spotlight can have on us all personally.
A truly gripping, moving, and engaging read, author Lee Fearnside’s “Death Never Dies” is a must-read, non-fiction collection of fantastic writers and emotional writing overall. Accompanied by some truly vivid and awesome artwork of the late celebrities and figures, getting to see how these figures impacted people not only on a global scale and the social movements some of them represented, but how the personal impacts on each writer’s individual lives were so eloquently represented in the book was inspiring and really touched upon the human experience overall. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!