The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss

Grief happens in our hearts, bodies and minds. Read about the neuroscience behind this profound human experience with us this March.

illustrated stack of books with text "scifri book club"Welcome to the SciFri Book Club page about The Grieving Brain. There’s lots of ways to participate: Read the book, listen to our interview with the author, join our community space, attend an event, or send a message on the SciFri VoxPop app.

The cover of THE GRIEVING BRAIN by Mary-Frances O'Connor, PhD on top of a background of blue watercolor textureThis March, the SciFri Book Club will read Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor’s The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss. Out in paperback this February, The Grieving Brain combines excellent storytelling, approachable science and research, and personal experience to help readers better understand what happens—neurologically, physically, and emotionally—as we grieve. This book choice is a chance to gather around the shared experience of grief, which can leave people feeling isolated and alone, and discuss the science of what is happening in our brains when we go through loss.

The Grieving Brain brings together a range of topics, including the neuroscience, death and loss, psychology, the mind-body connection, the science of grief, and more—and we’ll touch on these ideas throughout this Book Club season. You can get your copy from your local bookstore or on

This Book Club season kicks off Wednesday, March 1, and you can read along with us! We’ll be (loosely) following this schedule, but all our readers are welcome to join us at their own pace:

  • Chapters 1-2 from March 1-5
  • Chapters 3-5 from March 6-12
  • Chapters 6-8 from March 13-19
  • Chapters 9-11 from March 20-26
  • Final thoughts from March 27-31

Plus, we’ll be hosting events throughout the month! Keep an eye out on our website or join our Events newsletter to be the first to know.

There are so many ways to dive in and participate! You can grab a copy of the book (and support the author and SciFri), read an excerpt from The Grieving Brain, join the discussion in our online Book Club community, sign up for our email newsletter, or RSVP for our upcoming Book Club events. Check out all the details below.

Grab Your Own Copy

If you’d like to purchase a physical copy, we encourage you to start local! Check out the SciFri Book Club partner bookstores and libraries—if you’re in the area, consider supporting your local bookseller or public library (plus, mention our Book Club for a percentage off your purchase at participating shops!).

If they don’t have the book in stock or you’d rather purchase online, you can support Science Friday by buying your copy on our page.

Save The Date: SciFri Book Club Events

Event promotional image. In top left corner, SciFri Book Club logo, with event info below: The Grieving Brain: A neuroscientist's guide to our brains as we bereave. March 23, 7pm ET, Online + Free. To the lower right of the frame is a picture of THE GRIEVING BRAIN book cover and a headshot of author Mary-Frances O'Connor

The Grieving Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Guide To Our Brains Through Loss

There’s a lot happening in our brains as we experience grief—and Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor has dedicated her career to using neuroscience to understand the grieving brain better. Hear from the author at this livestream event about her book, The Grieving Brain, which explores the neuroscience behind this profound human experience.

Rewatch Livestream

Join us for a conversation with the author on the science in the SciFri Book Club pick for March 2023. Come with your queries and wonderings—we’ll be taking your questions in the livestream comments!

The cover of THE GRIEVING BRAIN by Mary-Frances O'Connor with a background featuring blue watercolor texture.

SciFri Book Club March community meeting: The Grieving Brain

Want to meet other SciFri Book Club members, talk about the book selection, and find more resources for deeper learning—all without leaving your home? Our community meeting is the place for you!

RSVP for March 29

This discussion meeting will focus on themes and topics featured in The Grieving Brain. You’re welcome to join us no matter your reading progress—come chat with other science-interested folks about neuroscience, death and loss, psychology, the mind-body connection, the science of grief, and more.

Join Our Community Space

And as you start reading, join us on our online community space: the Science Friday Book Club is now on Mighty Networks, a platform where we can gather, read and discuss science books together. We’ve built this community space because you told us you wanted a better way to be connected with other SciFri Book Clubbers, and we hope you’ll join us there!

Join Our Community

Read An Excerpt

Not sure this is the book for you? Want to read an excerpt before you commit? We’ve got you covered.

HarperOne, the publisher of The Grieving Brain, has offered SciFri Book Clubbers an excerpt of the book! You can read this sample on our website.

Read The Excerpt

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Reading recommendations, straight to your inbox. We send emails a few times per week. If you want to learn more about what we’re reading, you can check it out on the SciFri Book Club homepage.


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The Grieving Brain: SciFri Book Club Author Livestream And Q&A

On March 23, join our chat with the author of ‘The Grieving Brain’ about the neuroscience behind this profound human experience.

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