Book Recommendations

Book of the Month: Surviving Suicide, Searching For “Normal” With Heartache & Humor by Deena Baxter (2014)

Therapist’s Pick/Book of the Month

Therapist: Dawn Krull MA, MS, TLLP

Month: September 2018

Theme: Suicide Awareness and Prevention



I picked up Surviving Suicide, Searching for “normal” with heartache & humor after hearing the author, Deena Baxter, speak at a suicide awareness and prevention conference. I was moved by her passion and by her story. Sitting just shy of 300 pages, Surviving Suicide is by no means an entirely easy read but it well worth each and every page. Baxter incorporates art from NAMI art programs, quotes from a vastly diverse collection of individuals, and colorful illustrations to break up the material and stories.

Baxter lost her step-son Kevin when he died unexpectedly from suicide. The book explores Kevin’s past, his challenges, and his triumphs. She takes the reader on a journey of sadness, laughter, and survival beginning from when she found out he had died. The family’s journey crosses international boundaries, language barriers, confronted the uninformed, and embraced life even in the family’s darkest hours. Baxter shared stories of hope and stories of how she dealt with individuals who were less supportive than expected among many other topics.

I chose Surviving Suicide as September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. I would recommend this book for anyone whose life has been touched by suicide as they may find some comfort and understanding through words of a person who has experienced the tragedy first hand. The second part of the book includes a lot of information on Baxter’s advocacy work and additional resources that may be helpful as well.


Baxter, Deena (2014). Surviving Suicide, searching for “normal” with heartache & humor.

Herndon, VA: Mascot Books.

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