Forces of Nature: A Memoir of Family, Loss and Finding Home

Gina DeMillo Wagner’s brother Alan had a rare genetic disorder that caused him to veer from loving to violent. When Alan died suddenly, Gina was pulled away from the safety of her adult life and thrust back into a family she has been estranged from for nearly ten years. FORCES OF NATURE follows this rewinding of the past, Gina’s caregiving journey and reckoning with complicated grief, plus Alan’s Christmas-themed funeral, and an investigation into his cause of death. It’s a personal story that asks universal questions: How much of ourselves should we sacrifice to those we love? And, what forces shape our sense of family and home?

Praise for Forces of Nature

“A lovely meditation on how families are formed within hostile landscapes. Wagner is a talented stylist…”

“An astonishing story of sibling love… Deft and affecting in every way.”

“Compelling, articulate, thoughtful and thought-provoking… unreservedly recommended.”

“Every once in a while, a memoir comes along to remind us of a profound truth that we recognize as our very own. Forces of Nature reveals how pain and beauty, grief and living coexist within every family and every form of love… Gina DeMillo Wagner brings compassion and wisdom to every page.”

“Sharing moments that are both tender and tragic, and sometimes as haunting as they are hilarious, Forces of Nature takes on the gravity of family dysfunction but also shows us how to transcend it… It’s a page turner, a tear jerker and a soul-stirring chronicle of human resilience.”

“With wisdom, hope and humor, Forces of Nature offers an honest and rich exploration of complicated grief… Gina reveals the complexities of losing people we love, and loving imperfect people without abandoning ourselves.”

“Within these pages, Wagner’s words act as an offering to anyone working through loss, that it is an act of love to let go.”

“Gina beautifully describes the physical and emotional toll that caregiving exacted on her own life, as well as the heartbreak of being the one who everyone looks to when things fall apart… Her story of resilience is profound and is certain to resonate with anyone who’s struggled to keep their head above water while trying to find themselves.”

“This memoir is all at once a can’t-put-it down riveting story of familial love, heartache, betrayal, and loss and also a gentle call to one’s own unexplored inner world. Forces of Nature allows us to witness ourselves acknowledging how we are marked by harm yet still held by beauty… This is a deeply needed and profoundly moving story on how to hold grief and hope within a past we cannot change.”