Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Memoir Review Spotlight: Two Floors Above Grief by Kevin M. O'Connor

Memoirs always offer readers a look back from unique perspectives. Author Kevin M. O'Connor takes unique perspective to a higher level with his memoir, Two Floors Above Grief, as he looks back at his family life. Check out this book, read my thoughts, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


​Book Title:  Two Floors Above Grief: A Memoir of Two Families in the Unique Place We Called Home by Kevin M. O'Connor
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  318 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publisher:  18th Floor Publishing
Release date:  November  2022
Content Rating:  PG for two languages use and use of F-word.   
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about the book

As a child in the 1950s, Kevin O’Connor knew his house was different than those of his friends. A stately, three-story, nineteenth century Victorian. His bed tucked next to a stage in a former ballroom. His uncle and aunt lived with their three daughters on the floor below. A large electric organ stood stately in a corner of the first-floor mortuary business. Stacked caskets and an embalming room filled the basement.

Nobody had a house like his.

​Set from the 1920s to ‘80s, Two Floors Above Grief is full of fascinating details and anecdotes about his upbringing as a funeral home child, brought to vivid life through a compelling collection of letters written by various family members who lived and worked together at the O’Connor Funeral Home in Elgin, Illinois. Blending the twenty-four-hour business of death and its constantly ringing phone with joy experienced through music, radios, pets, backyard basketball games, co-parenting, faith, and celebrations, O’Connor offers a reflective tale affirming the love of family and embracing life.
my review
Engaging Memoir for Readers. I love memoirs. I especially enjoy organized trips to another time and place through an author's personal memories and stories. O'Connor transports us not to one time--but to decades of history, including his extended family, his historic family home, and perspectives and views of historical highlights that occurred over the years. So often, I look at an old house and think, "What stories could those walls tell?". The author told the stories of his unique historical home and his family's history in such a well-organized, well-researched, and documented manner. The pages bring his family, their funeral home house, and his memories to life for readers with themed chapters and an easy-to-read writing flow. 
This Book Looks at the Historical Details of Running a Business--and Running a Family. Most of us did not grow up operating a family business inside the walls of a funeral home. The author shares a unique story with personal memories and views of life, death, family, and history, making this an interesting read. While this novel tells pieces of the author's life story, it offers much more insights into his home and middle-American upbringing and the dynamics behind running a not-so-often-discussed family business. 
Would I Recommend Two Floors Above Grief by Kevin O'Connor? The author pulled me into his home and his family's story from the very first pages. I have volumes of my own unorganized family history on a shelf in my office and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the amount of research and time the author put into this memoir. Glimpses into running a funeral home business bring a blend of life, death, grief, and happiness that also offers opportunities for discussion and reflection. If you enjoy reading memoirs, this one provides a unique view and perspective of the author's family, history, and memories.

meet the author

Kevin O’Connor enjoys chronicling the stories of families and friends through tracing genealogical histories and writing. His prior writing includes a dissertation, personal letters, articles, anthologies, and presentations delivered at conferences, seminars, and webinars. He brings people together personally and professionally. Collaborating with friends and relatives, he plans family and class reunions.

He sings and performs in theaters and is active with SMART Ride, a bicycling group that rides annually from Miami to Key West, raising funds for HIV awareness, treatment, and education. Kevin was an elementary teacher, principal, professor, and curriculum coordinator in California, Illinois, and Florida from 1973 to 2020. He authored content and provided training in areas including support for substitute teachers, LGBTQ advocacy, and Sexual Health/Family Life.

Kevin resides in Ft. Lauderdale with his husband, Leon. Their family includes five sons and seven granddaughters.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ linkedin ~ goodreads 
enter the giveaway

Two Floors Above Grief by Kevin M. O'Connor Book Tour Giveaway

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