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My Connie

In My Connie, he celebrates their love—a love that would have never happened if he hadn’t left India to go to the United States. He only had seven dollars at the time, and he could not have dreamed that he’d meet a beautiful, intelligent, American wife.

The author’s family embraced Connie as soon as they realized she was polite, smart, and self-made. In short order, she became the star of the family.

Berry lovingly describes Connie’s qualities, character, and ethics as well as her professional career. He observes that even though he’s been in tremendous pain since she died, he would have never had such a long and happy marriage if he and Connie had not loved each other so much.



MY CONNIE WIFE WAS MY life and power to get my life in this USA and world

Posted by Pradeep Berry on Friday, December 8, 2017



Pacific Book Review

When a loved one dies, the grief can be overwhelming. For some survivors, this grief manifests in all different manners of behaviors in an effort to keep the memory of that lost loved one alive. For Mr. Berry, in the aftermath of the death of his beloved wife of 41 years, it manifested in him writing this loving tribute, My Connie.

 While most of this narrative details his love for Constance “Connie,” we are also provided a glimpse into Mr. Berry’s life in India prior to him meeting his adored spouse. We learn about his unhappy childhood, the loss of his mother and stepmother, and the painful atmosphere in his home life. He left his homeland, as a young man with only seven dollars in his pocket, with mixed feelings about living in America. Once in the U.S., he did, however, spend time creating friendships with other immigrants from his homeland.

And then he met Connie, which catapulted his life into what he calls his “best destiny.” She was his wife, friend, sister, mother and soul mate, all rolled up into one lovely person. He says about her, “When the girl in your heart, when the girl in your soul arm, then you have everything of the world.” Factor in that this smart, respectful, hardworking, attractive woman also adored her husband and it’s not hard to understand the depth of Mr. Berry’s sorrow. It’s palpable in his writing. He says, “I want to write my heart out for this book because Connie was my world.”

His heartache is evident in every chapter that highlights Connie and their life together. Mr. Berry details her passion for reading, music and arts, her enthusiasm for travel and great cuisine, and her devotion to their home and home life and her fierce protection of her spouse from unnecessary distractions. Their bond, unshakable and indefatigable, was the key to their successful, long-term marriage. This is perhaps why the struggle for Mr. Berry to find meaning in his life after her death is so difficult. There are moments in this narrative, with truly his grief-stricken soul laid bare, that are almost too painful to read. “The death of one half becomes the living death for the other half,” he laments.

Mr. Berry’s writing about his shared life with Connie is very thorough. He provides details which help the reader really know who they were and why their marriage was so happy. He also intersperses a smattering of wisdom from those like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and various Indian spiritual leaders, attempting to find a way forward after his tragic loss. The ups of Mr. Berry’s life with Connie always outweighed the downs, until that fateful day of her death when his whole world came to an abrupt end. The strength of this book is not about her death, but about her life seen through the eyes of one devoted husband. It’s a tribute well-worth reading.


The US Review of Books

My Connie
by Pradeep K. Berry
reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

“We immediately knew on our first meeting that we were in love, and there was no need to have a second meeting.”

 Author and finance consultant Berry lost his wife, Connie, to cancer in 2015. As a young man, he turned his back on professional opportunities in his native India to travel to the US seeking better prospects. But as soon as he arrived, he began to have misgivings, feeling unbearably lonely. Fortuitously, he found employment almost immediately, met Constance Ann Fuller, fell in love, and married her soon after. They were a faithful, happy couple for 42 years. In 2002, she was diagnosed with cancer; in 2005, he left his employment to spend more time with her. Ten years later, he was with her when she passed away. Though he expresses bitterness toward family members who offered no help or care, and toward doctors who, he believes, didn’t do all they could have for his beloved wife, his book is in the main a praise-filled, sorrowful recollection of his life with Connie.

Though the author disavows any special writing ability, his book, though at times repetitive, shows caring and courage. He is obviously a man profoundly bereaved who has so far been unable to rebuild a life alone. He quotes from many sources to support his feelings about Connie: Indian thinkers Gandhi and Chanayka and Westerners Einstein and Ruskin. He lists small items that still remind him of Connie such as her clothing, diary, and make-up kit. He speaks of reluctance to use the shower they had made for her when she became an invalid. Yet he can’t give these things up, or stop the flow of memories they evoke. Some readers may see his story as obsessively morbid, while others might wonder how they would react in similar circumstances. A paean to lost love, Berry’s book invites a sequel, which the author has hinted at, and perhaps to be written when some healing has taken place.


Blueink Review

My Connie
Pradeep K. Berry
AuthorHouse, 253 pages, (paperback) $20.99, 9781524695101
(Reviewed: July, 2018)

In 2015, author Pradeep Berry lost his wife of 41 years. His new memoir, however, isn’t an account of moving through grief to healing; rather, it’s a repository of his pain. Like a personal journal, its entries reflect his roller-coaster emotional state, recurrent thoughts about his wife’s death and grief-stricken lamentations.

Berry clearly intended this tribute for publication. However, it is written in a rambling style that jumps around in time and is often repetitive and confusing. The result is a deeply personal project likely to distance readers.

Following accountancy training in his native India, Berry moved to Chicago to further his career, planning to return home shortly—until he met and married Connie. Berry writes that she was his destiny: “We were two bodies with one soul.” Settling in Evanston, Ill., they had no children.

Berry began his book soon after his wife suffered a fatal heart attack in a hospital. Berry had taken her in following a fall and eight days later witnessed her final breaths. “I relive that painful episode, and it gives me panic attacks.” Berry revisits this scene many times throughout the book.

Bereavement and rancor are some of Berry’s themes. “The main problem with me is that Connie did not die of natural causes—her life was snatched away by these doctors.” He frequently mentions “medical negligence” without specifics. His bitterness extends to family members and friends who he believes failed him and Connie in various ways. He also ponders love, immortality and God, cites spiritual texts and names Connie’s many virtues.

No doubt loving and well-meant, the book is profoundly personal: “Please note that this writing is from my heart without forethought,” he notes. “I am pouring my heart on this book, typing whatever my heart is telling me to write.” The approach was perhaps cathartic for him, but unfortunately too personal for a wider readership.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.


Clarion Review

My Connie
Pradeep K. Berry
AuthorHouse (Jun 9, 2017)
Softcover $20.99 (298pp)

Berry’s book mirrors the stages of grief, including personal examples of bargaining with God, anger, and depression.

Pradeep Berry’s grief-steeped memoir My Connie is a tribute to the author’s late wife as well as a search for closure.

Berry meets Connie shortly after immigrating to the United States from India. They fall deeply in love and soon marry.
After forty-two years of marriage, Connie passes away in the hospital, leaving Berry bereft.

The book jumps back and forth in time, repeatedly returning to the trauma of discovering that Connie has passed away and the sadness of her cremation. In between these scenes, Berry elaborates on Connie’s excellent qualities and his memories of her, most notably their mutual international travels.

As much as it is a biography of Connie, the book is most focused on describing Berry’s grieving process. Descriptions of Connie are specific in some ways—for example, listing all of the things she kept clean in their home—but overly general in others, repeatedly noting that she was a wonderful teacher without providing details from her teaching life. The book acknowledges its own tendency toward repetition, but the text reads as unpolished because of it nonetheless.

Generalizations about other people’s grieving processes, experiences of love, and lack of empathy for Berry lead to contradictory and unclear moments in the text. His frustration with former friends becomes a focal point, and his anger at his in-laws and other family members is apparent.

The preface reveals that Berry’s book is very much an exercise in relieving his pain, but such relief is not showcased by the end. Because of its inward focus, the project is not generally accessible.

The close, first-person narration ably conveys Berry’s acute pain and grief. Vague word choices hold audiences at a distance, and Connie herself never seems fully developed. The book is organized in a stream-of-consciousness way; a section about the couple’s vacations may easily circle back to Berry’s anger and grief, forgoing conclusions to most accounts. Curiosity about Connie is prompted but not satisfied.

Wisdom literature, including various Indian spiritual texts, is quoted throughout; it adds depth to Berry’s mourning process but is interjected without substantial or contextualizing introductions. In focusing on authenticity, the book mirrors the stages of grief, including personal examples of bargaining with God, anger, and depression; it rings emotionally true but is often frustrating to navigate.

My Connie is a heartfelt, if repetitive, account of a husband’s grief.

LAURA LEAVITT (July 16, 2018)


Kirkus Review


Pradeep K. Berry
AuthorHouse (298 pp.)
$31.99 hardcover, $20.99 paperback, $7.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-5246-9511-8; June 9, 2017


A debut author pays tribute to his deceased wife in this memoir.

Berry’s spouse of 41 years, Constance “Connie” Berry (née Fuller), died of cancer in February 2015. Soon afterward, he began writing this book to chronicle the love that they shared: “I can say with great pride that we were truly two bodies with one soul. Our love was a special gift granted by the supreme Lord.” The author met Connie shortly after he immigrated to Chicago from Delhi, India, 42 years ago. She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2002, but she initially recovered, and Pradeep strongly believed that she’d outlive him. Her final illness was brief and surprising, and her passing was devastating to the author. Over the course of nearly 300 pages, Pradeep works through his pain, reflecting on his life with his wife, musing on the natures of death and love, telling stories from Indian religion and history, seeking inspiration from the lives of great world leaders, and railing against those whom he thinks weren’t responsive enough to his wife during her sickness. The prose style is sometimes stilted and other times histrionic. However, it occasionally achieves moments of quiet lyricism, as when the author tells of a moment shortly after his wife’s death: “I could not do anything but look at her lovely face with no breath and her shining body.…What is missing? Breaths. Death means sleeping with no breaths.” There are many books available about grief, but this one is unusual in that it’s very clear that its author is still in the process of grieving. His anger at relatives on both sides of the family is quite strong, and the memoir’s tone is hagiographic. As a result, it doesn’t have much to teach readers about how to get over a loss. Rather, it’s a raw document of the middle of grief and all the emotions that come with it. An emotional elegy that’s somewhat undisciplined in style.


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