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Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End: A Memoir

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A genuinely moving, funny, and inventive account of loss and grief, mental illness and suicide, from film and TV producer Liz Levine (Story of a Girl), written in the aftermath of the deaths of her sister and best friend. I feel like I might be a terrible person to be laughing in these moments. But it turns out, I’m not alone. In November of 2016, Liz Levine’s younger siste A genuinely moving, funny, and inventive account of loss and grief, mental illness and suicide, from film and TV producer Liz Levine (Story of a Girl), written in the aftermath of the deaths of her sister and best friend. I feel like I might be a terrible person to be laughing in these moments. But it turns out, I’m not alone. In November of 2016, Liz Levine’s younger sister, Tamara, reached a breaking point after years of living with mental illness. In the dark hours before dawn, she sent a final message to her family then killed herself. In Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End, Liz weaves the story of what happened to Tamara with another significant death—that of Liz’s childhood love, Judson, to cancer. She writes about her relationship with Judson, Tamara’s struggles, the conflicts that arise in a family of challenging personalities, and how death casts a long shadow. This memorable account of life and loss is haunting yet filled with dark humor—Tamara emails her family when Trump is elected to check if she’s imagining things again, Liz discovers a banana has been indicted as a whistleblower in an alleged family conspiracy, and a little niece declares Tamara’s funeral the “most fun ever!” With honesty, Liz exposes the raw truths about grief and mourning that we often shy away from—and almost never share with others. And she reveals how, in the midst of death, life—with all its messy complications—must also be celebrated.


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A genuinely moving, funny, and inventive account of loss and grief, mental illness and suicide, from film and TV producer Liz Levine (Story of a Girl), written in the aftermath of the deaths of her sister and best friend. I feel like I might be a terrible person to be laughing in these moments. But it turns out, I’m not alone. In November of 2016, Liz Levine’s younger siste A genuinely moving, funny, and inventive account of loss and grief, mental illness and suicide, from film and TV producer Liz Levine (Story of a Girl), written in the aftermath of the deaths of her sister and best friend. I feel like I might be a terrible person to be laughing in these moments. But it turns out, I’m not alone. In November of 2016, Liz Levine’s younger sister, Tamara, reached a breaking point after years of living with mental illness. In the dark hours before dawn, she sent a final message to her family then killed herself. In Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End, Liz weaves the story of what happened to Tamara with another significant death—that of Liz’s childhood love, Judson, to cancer. She writes about her relationship with Judson, Tamara’s struggles, the conflicts that arise in a family of challenging personalities, and how death casts a long shadow. This memorable account of life and loss is haunting yet filled with dark humor—Tamara emails her family when Trump is elected to check if she’s imagining things again, Liz discovers a banana has been indicted as a whistleblower in an alleged family conspiracy, and a little niece declares Tamara’s funeral the “most fun ever!” With honesty, Liz exposes the raw truths about grief and mourning that we often shy away from—and almost never share with others. And she reveals how, in the midst of death, life—with all its messy complications—must also be celebrated.

30 review for Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    lexi ✨

    4.5-5 liz levine opens up about her grief after the loss of her childhood friend judson who passed away from cancer & her sister who committed suicide. i was immediately drawn in by the title, but i soon realized this was going to be a heart wrenching & difficult read. liz levine decided to sort through her grief by starting from the beginning, & not the traditional notion of beginning such as the start of her journey, but by using the alphabet and specific words starting with each & every lette 4.5-5 liz levine opens up about her grief after the loss of her childhood friend judson who passed away from cancer & her sister who committed suicide. i was immediately drawn in by the title, but i soon realized this was going to be a heart wrenching & difficult read. liz levine decided to sort through her grief by starting from the beginning, & not the traditional notion of beginning such as the start of her journey, but by using the alphabet and specific words starting with each & every letter to provide snippets of her thoughts, actions & feelings within that moment in time. none of the events were in chronological order, but i really appreciated that because she told her story in her own way with her interpretation of 'beginning'. it was an incredibly unique format & it also portrayed how she sorted through her own grief by reflecting on the past & specific memories she felt were important. i respect how vulnerable & honest liz levine was throughout her entire memoir, especially when revealing the nature of her relationship with her siblings specifically her sister & certain coping mechanisms that she used to deal with things in her life. i couldn't personally relate to how she dealt with her pain, but i could have a certain level of understanding because everyone deals with things differently & some things might work for some people, but not for others.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But The End is a memoir written by film and TV producer Liz Levine. In the aftermath of the deaths of her sister, Tamara and best friend, Judson this memoir written as a list of stories in alphabetical order from A to Z is very unique. Each letter of the alphabet representing a new word and story that goes along with it. This memoir is an extremely raw look into mental illness, suicide, drug abuse, cancer, grief and mourning. And while much of this story will bre Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But The End is a memoir written by film and TV producer Liz Levine. In the aftermath of the deaths of her sister, Tamara and best friend, Judson this memoir written as a list of stories in alphabetical order from A to Z is very unique. Each letter of the alphabet representing a new word and story that goes along with it. This memoir is an extremely raw look into mental illness, suicide, drug abuse, cancer, grief and mourning. And while much of this story will break your heart you may also find yourself laughing at some of the context and situations. Liz, thank you for opening up and sharing your truth. Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Corbett

    This book was totally outside my comfort zone, but such a gem. I unknowingly picked it up on the day my grandma passed away, and it’s expressions of love and loss were just what I needed to read in the moment. I laughed, I cried, and I’ve recommended it to everyone I know. Liz Levine digs deep into all of the different feelings that surround the death of a loved one, including guilt, emptiness, anger, disbelief and even general awkwardness. She does it all following the format of a dictionary wh This book was totally outside my comfort zone, but such a gem. I unknowingly picked it up on the day my grandma passed away, and it’s expressions of love and loss were just what I needed to read in the moment. I laughed, I cried, and I’ve recommended it to everyone I know. Liz Levine digs deep into all of the different feelings that surround the death of a loved one, including guilt, emptiness, anger, disbelief and even general awkwardness. She does it all following the format of a dictionary which piqued my interest as well. Definitely recommend to anyone, regardless of if you’re battling loss or not.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mridula

    This book was recommended to me in order to study form within memoir. It took a bit to get into it and eventually, at the one third mark, I found myself drawn in and unable to put it down. Tough topic (suicide) and honest writing (my sister and I weren't close and had a tumultuous relationship). This book was recommended to me in order to study form within memoir. It took a bit to get into it and eventually, at the one third mark, I found myself drawn in and unable to put it down. Tough topic (suicide) and honest writing (my sister and I weren't close and had a tumultuous relationship).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (miss_kellysbookishcorner)

    4 stars Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End is a memoir written by film and TV producer Liz Levine. It is an engaging account of her experience with loss and grief, mental illness and suicide, following the deaths of her childhood best friend, Judson, and her younger sister, This book is written in a very interesting way, an A to Z list of stories relating to her experience with grief and mourning, loss and death. This was my favourite aspect of the book. It made for fast, easy reading, 4 stars Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End is a memoir written by film and TV producer Liz Levine. It is an engaging account of her experience with loss and grief, mental illness and suicide, following the deaths of her childhood best friend, Judson, and her younger sister, This book is written in a very interesting way, an A to Z list of stories relating to her experience with grief and mourning, loss and death. This was my favourite aspect of the book. It made for fast, easy reading, all while maintaining the author's raw honesty and taking me on an emotional journey. She sheds a light on the importance of talking about those who are gone regardless of the circumstances surrounding their death. Taken from the synopsis, "she reveals how, in the midst of death, life—with all its messy complications—must also be celebrated. This memoir is not the most emotional one I have read, but it had me laughing, crying and feeling all the feels associated with loss. I commend Levine for writing a brutally honest account of living with a close relative afflicted with mental illness. Education and awareness is so important. At one point, she discusses the reality of mental health services in Canada, and she couldn't have said it any better. It's a headache to get the services needed, there is an overwhelming lack of support available, and while this book isn't going to fix the problem, it helps by raising awareness. While I would recommend this book to everyone, I know the subject matter is not for all readers. This is a very real account of mental illness, of death and grief. If you are a fan of memoirs, a strong supporter of mental health awareness, and/or the topic of death and grieving, then this is worth checking out. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Mcpherson

    To be honest, I downloaded this book after seeing the author on TV being interviewed about it. I knew Liz in high school and was curious about her book. I am glad I did. Her writing has a great style and her stories are relatable to anyone but especially those who have known and/or loved someone with any kind of mental illness. It also has everything I value in a good book: both humour and honesty told as an interesting story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    This is an incredible book that discusses how the author coped with the loss of her sister and the loss of her close friend. It's not chronological (so a head's up if that's your preference), but rather alphabetical. Each letter of the alphabet has a few words related to the losses she experienced, and a story behind the words. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it, but it's beautifully written and honest. This is an incredible book that discusses how the author coped with the loss of her sister and the loss of her close friend. It's not chronological (so a head's up if that's your preference), but rather alphabetical. Each letter of the alphabet has a few words related to the losses she experienced, and a story behind the words. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it, but it's beautifully written and honest.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received a copy of this from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. Beautiful book on loss, grief, and the ways mental illness can affect family members. Full review: https://sarahsreads.home.blog/2020/01... I received a copy of this from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. Beautiful book on loss, grief, and the ways mental illness can affect family members. Full review: https://sarahsreads.home.blog/2020/01...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Levine shares a very thought provoking reflection on grief, loss, mourning, death, and life. I have read a few other books focusing on this but none that read quite like this one does. Liz Levine's dark humor and raw honesty blew me away! No stranger to death and its unbelievable loss she shares about all the people she has lost including a childhood love and friend to cancer and her sister to suicide after years of living with mental illness. How she shines a light on living with a sibling with Levine shares a very thought provoking reflection on grief, loss, mourning, death, and life. I have read a few other books focusing on this but none that read quite like this one does. Liz Levine's dark humor and raw honesty blew me away! No stranger to death and its unbelievable loss she shares about all the people she has lost including a childhood love and friend to cancer and her sister to suicide after years of living with mental illness. How she shines a light on living with a sibling with mental illness was very eye opening and affecting as well. Levine's stories had me laughing one moment and emotional the next. She is smart and precise, as is her writing. This book also has a unique and creative layout that made it a quick flowing read. Reccomend checking this one out Jan 28th! • Thank You to the tagged publisher for sending me this book opinions are my own. • For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    ...a beautiful, amazing, darkly hilarious, gem... How did the book make me feel/think? Connected. Less Alone. In 1985 the day after my birthday, I watched my father die. In late 1987, I watched my mother die, just before Christmas. Fast-forward to 2003, after a two-month period where my relationship ended, and four people close to me died, I discovered my parents I watched die, were not my real parents (long story – for another time). "They," say there are 5-7 stages of grief, depending on whom you as ...a beautiful, amazing, darkly hilarious, gem... How did the book make me feel/think? Connected. Less Alone. In 1985 the day after my birthday, I watched my father die. In late 1987, I watched my mother die, just before Christmas. Fast-forward to 2003, after a two-month period where my relationship ended, and four people close to me died, I discovered my parents I watched die, were not my real parents (long story – for another time). "They," say there are 5-7 stages of grief, depending on whom you ask? I find these stages don’t follow a formula, we are kind of told they do, but from my experience, at times, one stage will demand full attention, and at others, all seven bombard you at the same time leaving you reeling. Often alone. As compassionate as others can be, they can also suck and drop their judgement on how long grief should be on the docket. It doesn’t bleeping work that way. During my times of struggle, Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But The End would have been a godsend. This book is the most honest, visceral, voyeuristic, did I say; honest (?) conversation with a friend about coming to terms with layers of trauma including suicide + cancer. Liz Levine paints a rich, in-depth, enlightening picture of what it is like to be attacked by “what ifs” and “I could have, should have, done…” On one-page tears blasted from my eyes. On the next, I cringed while laughing uncontrollably at the healing morbidity of comedy in the darkest moments. Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But The End is a must-read for anyone who thirsts for compelling life stories. It is a fabulous read for everyone. But, if you’ve suffered devastating losses in your life, this book will help you realize you’re not alone, whatever you are feeling + going through, uniquely belongs to you—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. One last note: Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But The End is a beautiful, amazing, darkly hilarious, gem, that might help those suffering to place their grief in a compartment quicker. A place where it is no longer all-consuming. Because when it is finally placed somewhere manageable, which is something Levine deftly shares with unflinching courage, you will finally arrive at a new BEGINNING.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Arianna Mclaughlin (arianna.reads)

    Trigger warning: suicide, mental illness, death, drug use, cancer ⁣ ⁣ “I feel like I might be a terrible person to be laughing in these moments. But it turns out, I’m not alone.”⁣ ⁣ In November of 2016, Liz Levine’s younger sister, Tamara, reached a breaking point after years of living with mental illness. In the dark hours before dawn, she sent a final message to her family then killed herself.⁣ ⁣ It took me more than a month to read Levine’s memoir. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because it w Trigger warning: suicide, mental illness, death, drug use, cancer ⁣ ⁣ “I feel like I might be a terrible person to be laughing in these moments. But it turns out, I’m not alone.”⁣ ⁣ In November of 2016, Liz Levine’s younger sister, Tamara, reached a breaking point after years of living with mental illness. In the dark hours before dawn, she sent a final message to her family then killed herself.⁣ ⁣ It took me more than a month to read Levine’s memoir. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because it was so powerful and emotional that I had to keep taking breaks. It tackles not only the death of her sister, Tamara, but also the loss of her best friend, Judson, to cancer. ⁣ ⁣ It’s a no holds barred look into mental illness, suicide, drug abuse, cancer, grief and mourning. I recognized pieces and pains from my life in some of the stories she told. And while your heart may feel like breaking as you read, just as Levine warned us at the beginning, you may just find some moments of laughter too.⁣ ⁣ I highly recommend this memoir to all readers. Even if you don’t typically read this genre, I encourage you to pick it up and absorb the messages. Mental illness impacts so many people and needs to be spoken about openly and without stigma. ⁣ ⁣ If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the Canadian Suicide Prevention line at 1.833.456.4566 or your local emergency number. ⁣ ⁣ Thank you to @simonschusterca for a gifted review copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. ⁣

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deb Williams

    I loved this book. Read it twice and gifted 8. I don't know anyone who doesn't need to absorb"Nobody Every Talks About Anything But the End". Liz Levine's memoir gives us the opportunity to fill in our own blanks. We remember between the lines as she rolls us through her death brimming life. Her sensory detail and dark humour are just what the therapist ordered. We need to find more ways to talk about death in our grin-and-bear-it society and Ms. Levine encourages us to start a conversation. She I loved this book. Read it twice and gifted 8. I don't know anyone who doesn't need to absorb"Nobody Every Talks About Anything But the End". Liz Levine's memoir gives us the opportunity to fill in our own blanks. We remember between the lines as she rolls us through her death brimming life. Her sensory detail and dark humour are just what the therapist ordered. We need to find more ways to talk about death in our grin-and-bear-it society and Ms. Levine encourages us to start a conversation. She asks us to consider the meaning and weight of contrasting deaths. A gift of a book; such intimate and charged stories. Whether Liz writes in short story style or single sentences she makes it human, allowing us to connect with her and our own intense death experiences. I would love to have a book club so I could discuss it with more people. Heard she would even phone or skype in.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Charissa

    What the Jesus did I just read? Bouncy, that’s the best way to describe this. There isn’t really a storyline to follow (a timeline is a better word, considering it is a memoir) because she describes one event or another before going backwards 12 years to tell you about something else...fast forwarding again to something else. Incredibly difficult to follow in that way. I don’t doubt that she struggles with a lot of remorse or sadness surrounding her sister’s tragic death, but the author brags ab What the Jesus did I just read? Bouncy, that’s the best way to describe this. There isn’t really a storyline to follow (a timeline is a better word, considering it is a memoir) because she describes one event or another before going backwards 12 years to tell you about something else...fast forwarding again to something else. Incredibly difficult to follow in that way. I don’t doubt that she struggles with a lot of remorse or sadness surrounding her sister’s tragic death, but the author brags about being “Teflon” and never shows emotion of any kind (very specifically mentions that she never cries) and then spends a whole chapter documenting her tears. Her family all complains about her sister’s very apparent mental illness, but no one gets her the help she needs. Even the author makes a point of mentioning that she knew how sick she was but no one would listen. Because of this, the book felt like an “I told you so” way of clearing her conscience. Very strange read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    It might sound crazy, but I find books on grief comforting. Liz Levine is so experienced with it that people know to go to her for obituaries, memorial speeches, and more (joke, maybe.) But the two dearest losses in her life are her childhood best friend (to cancer) and her sister (to mental illness leading to suicide.) She takes an alphabetical journey through concepts surrounding grief and death that allow her to approach them in a gentle way. For more grief book recommendations, check out the It might sound crazy, but I find books on grief comforting. Liz Levine is so experienced with it that people know to go to her for obituaries, memorial speeches, and more (joke, maybe.) But the two dearest losses in her life are her childhood best friend (to cancer) and her sister (to mental illness leading to suicide.) She takes an alphabetical journey through concepts surrounding grief and death that allow her to approach them in a gentle way. For more grief book recommendations, check out the 63rd episode of the Reading Envy Podcast. I also have a "grief-and-death" shelf in Goodreads because when you know, you know!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Enid Wray

    Yes, it hurts like hell, but… You are not alone. It will get better. It’s OK to laugh. What a wonderful little book. The one absolute truth in life is that we will all die, eventually, one way or another. It really is all about how we deal with the lead up to that event, and/or how we cope with life after the fact. It is also true that no two people process grief in the same way. This book makes all of the above abundantly clear. Give yourself permission to laugh and cry and do whatever you need Yes, it hurts like hell, but… You are not alone. It will get better. It’s OK to laugh. What a wonderful little book. The one absolute truth in life is that we will all die, eventually, one way or another. It really is all about how we deal with the lead up to that event, and/or how we cope with life after the fact. It is also true that no two people process grief in the same way. This book makes all of the above abundantly clear. Give yourself permission to laugh and cry and do whatever you need to process your grief… including reading this book...and passing it on to the next person in need.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    It was surreal to read a book that contained a few people I actually know. They are beautiful, giving, humorous people and this book captures them nicely. The book also captures loss and grief in a way that resonates. Liz’s voice, while not one I emotionally connect with, is engaging-calm and almost quiet while being strong and sure at the same time. The illustrations inside and cover are beautiful-like holding art work.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    In this memoir, the author presents an interesting take on a memoir about death. The author lost her sister who suffered from mental illness along with her best friend, Judson from cancer. The author presents a very disjointed look at the story by making the book a dictionary, going from A-Z and using words that describe different events and moods. While the take was interesting, the result was a narrative that came together but was disjointed in intention.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    This was a precious read, not in the saccharine sweet way we describe lovely things. But precious in that I feel I have been gifted with an insight into something sacred. Living with someone who has mental illness is something SO difficult to put words to and I appreciate Levine’s (successful) attempt; keeping it real and raw while honouring the experience. I am also inspired by her method of structuring her stories, unique and so satisfying.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    There has been a lot of buzz about this memoir in Canada, so I was eager to read it. It was gripping and well-written, but I just couldn’t warm to the author. She is very forthright, and doesn’t sugar-coat anything, but she would frighten me in person...very judgmental, and dismissive of some of the people in her life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarnfield

    3.5 stars rounded down because, despite its brutal honesty, it didn’t really resonate with me. I liked the format of the alphabetical telling of the “story” but I really have to wonder what makes people want to lay their life and their family bare like this. It was alternately random, clinical, harsh, sad and amusing. Likely therapeutic for the author.

  21. 5 out of 5

    REBECCA WHITING

    This is a book about family, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friendship, grief, loss, conversation, mental health, suicide, and the aftermath. I laughed, I cried, I listened, felt, and understood. I cannot do this book justice other than to recommend and read it for yourself. It is a true story. It’s Liz’s story and I’ll leave it at that.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Mcleod

    A small but powerful book! This will be a definite keeper on my shelf of books revealing profound and insightful messages and wisdom. An alphabet of grief and heartbreaking loss. But also revealing joy and gratitude in the reciting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sheri-lee

    Life is messy. Death is messy. Family is messy. Love is messy. Mental health is messy. This is us. Thank you, Liz (I feel like we should be on a first name basis ... forgive me if this is presumptuous), for this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    The unique alphabetic format is arresting and powerful. Well told story of a sibling's severe mental health illness and eventual suicide. Levine's grief process and that of her family is complex and haunting. The unique alphabetic format is arresting and powerful. Well told story of a sibling's severe mental health illness and eventual suicide. Levine's grief process and that of her family is complex and haunting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Harris

    A beautifully written memoir.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kyla Belvedere

    I read this in one sitting. It is so raw and relatable as a suicide survivor. Grief of a special type.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Raw, honest, interesting.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    A very sad little book. A courageous author trying to come to terms with unforeseeable tragedies. Well written and presented.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Amazing, raw, personal and very sad

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    wow. just wow.

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