Local Author Discusses New Book On Grief And Loss
For many, September 11th brings back memories of grief, loss, and struggle. Those are also themes of a new book by local author Jill Hannah Anderson of Emily. Her new book, “The To-Hell-And-Back-Club” follows the life of Peyton Brooks, a new empty nester who grieves the loss of her three best friends who were killed in a car crash. She then finds attempts to find solace in the club, dubbed the “To-Hell-and-Back-Club.” Anderson says this story is party based on her own life.
“We went on trips together, we’d go out to eat together,” Anderson said of her three friends. “One of them, several years ago, was not doing well and it kind of put this thought into my head, ‘what would I do if something happened to all three of them?’”
Anderson held a book discussion at the Brainerd Public Library on Tuesday, where she says a major theme of her novel is forgiveness in light of tragedy.
“You think you know somebody and you know this about them then you find out this and it’s hard to not have that cloud your whole judgment,” Anderson said. “She [Peyton Brooks] kind of has to realize that everyone makes mistakes, everyone has to move on with their life, and so forgiveness is a very big thing.”
Although cut out of the book, Anderson revealed that the tragic events in the beginning of the story occur on September 11th, 2010, a thematic parallel to the events on September 11th, 2001.
“Initially she had reflected back that ‘oh my gosh, I woke up thinking this is what my day was going to be about and everything changed,’” Anderson said. “It also reflected as to how everyone felt on September 11th, 2001.”
Those who have read the book took away a deeper knowledge and gratitude of those who mean the most to them.
“How important our friends are,” Sandy Cosert, an attendee of the discussion, said of what she took away from the book. “There’s nothing like a girlfriend to relate to the issues that women struggle with every day.”
Anderson is working on a second novel, based on one of the other characters in “The To-Hell-And-Back-Club.”