The portions of the book dealing with Santlofer’s tentative relationship with his adult daughter, Doria, are particularly poignant ... The Widower's Notebook is vital reading, a beautiful testament to Joy’s life, and a much-needed window into how one man grapples with the most acute kind of loss.
Santlofer’s book is an affecting read and not entirely heavy, despite the subject matter ... Santlofer, an artist and the author of several novels, delicately shows how his wife’s death devastated him and forced him into an uncomfortable identity ... But Santlofer tries to do more than explore his loss; he also mounts an argument about gender and grief ... That is the problem with the book: Santlofer’s struggle to evolve beyond the old-fashioned cultural norms he identifies — essentially, that men grieve differently because they are taught to hide their feelings — just reasserts those norms ... Santlofer’s book, which shines most brightly when it focuses on his grief for his wife, is not a pedagogical tool and does not advance our understanding of grief in an appreciable way. It is the testimony of Jonathan Santlofer about the loss of his beloved wife ... Viewed in that more limited lens, the book has perhaps less literary or cultural merit, but it still offers a moving portrait of one widower with a notebook.
...[a] heart-rending, poignant memoir ... Santlofer’s honesty, his focus on the moments that remind him of Joy and their life together, and his beautifully crafted, tender prose make for heartbreaking yet page-turning reading.