Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Will Schwalbe's mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in her early 70's. An activist all her life, she embraced a fairly aggressive treatment regimen in an attempt to lengthen the quality days she had left.

Her son Will, recently retired from a publishing job as Editor-in Chief at Hyperion Publishers, often volunteered to accompany her to various doctors appointments and medical procedures during the almost 2 years she lived after her diagnosis.  As they rode buses and subways, and sat in waiting rooms or "treatment booths", they found themselves not only following their life-long habit of reading, but also trading books and discussing their impressions, likes and dislikes of various books.  As they discussed the books, stories of their previous adventures in life became intertwined and personal details were allowed to percolate to the surface.

I chose the book for the book club related subject matter.  In the end however, I discovered a treasure of a tribute to an emancipated woman, a loving mother and a courageous family.  It was heartwarming without being maudlin, and gives the reader a glimpse of a rich and varied reading life that both of them enjoyed.  Even MaryAnn's penchant for always reading the end of the book first, a habit I normally find abhorrent, did not produce a negative feeling toward her.  The appendix gives a complete list of books   the two discussed - as you can see, the range was wide, deep and eclectic.  There were quite a few I had read, and several other that popped right up as candidates for our local book club.  It was an exceptionally good ending to a great reading year and a loving tribute to an incredibly well-read woman.

Title: The End of Your Life Book Club
Author:  Will Schwalbe
Publisher/format: audio from Books on Tape, 9 hrs, 37 min
Narrator: Jeff Harding
Genre: Memoir
Subject: end of life, books
Source: Public library
Why did I read this book now? The subject intrigued me


  1. I've seen such positive reviews of this book on many blogs this last week. It sounds an inspiring read.

  2. Wasn't the audio wonderful? I so loved this book and it really touched me both for my love of books and for the fact that I lost both my mom and a brother to pancreatic cancer:(

    Happy New Year Tina.

  3. Hi Tina, just wanted to pop in and wish you a very happy, healthy and peaceful new year. {{Hugs!}}

  4. I was drawn to this book because my dad passed away from lung cancer a year and a half ago. But this book isn't just for those who have lost loved ones to cancer. This book is ultimately a celebration of the love we have for our family. It is also a treasure trove of beautiful quotes and the wisdom passed from a parent to her children and grandchildren. It is a moving tribute to a woman who is an inspiration to all who knew her or who read about her life.

    Maycee Greene (Olympia Search Engine Optimization)


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