55 pages 1 hour read

Anna Quindlen

After Annie: A Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2024

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The Different Manifestations of Grief

Content Warning: Both the source material and this section of the guide contain descriptions of substance use disorder, pregnancy loss, and child abuse.

Through the interior perspective of three different characters, the novel explores the nonlinear and sometimes erratic ways in which grief can manifest, depending on an individual’s personality, coping mechanisms, and relationship with the deceased. Though Bill, Ali, and Annemarie’s grief responses are vastly different, they all come to realize that there is no single prescriptive path for dealing with loss, and that people will move through the process in a range of different ways. For example, Ant never openly experiences denial, but he does harbor a great deal of intense anger, while Bill experiences deep sadness and depression. At one point, Bill compares his pain to missing home, stating, “Maybe grief was like homesickness, something that wasn’t just about a specific person, but about losing that feeling that you were where you belonged” (194). By contrast, Annemarie cycles through a variety of different phases ranging from grief and denial to anger before she eventually comes to accept the loss and move on in her own way. Ultimately, the characters’ grief varies because they all bury a different part of themselves along with Annie.