Thursday, 20 December 2012

The End of Your Life Book Club

Title: The End of Your Life Book Club

Author: Will Schwalbe

Number of pages: 352

Started: 11 December 2012

Finished: 20 December 2012

Opening words:

We were nuts about the mocha in the waiting room at Memorial Sloan-Kettering's outpatient care center. The coffee isn't so good, and the hot chocolate is worse. But if, as Mom and I discovered, you push the "mocha" button, you see how two not-very-good things can come together to make something quite delicious. The graham crackers aren't bad either.  

Plot summary:

Mary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she's reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books so they can have something to talk about in the hospital waiting room. Their choices range from classic (Howards End) to popular (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), from fantastic (The Hobbit) to spiritual (Jon Kabat-Zinn), with many in between. We hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions.

What I thought:

This non-fiction book chronicled the relationship between a mother and her son as they attended her hospital appointments following her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.  They used that time to discuss books and it developed into a book club - consisting of the two of them.

It was a touching read and a tribute of sorts to Mary Anne Schwalbe, although I suspect it is down to the individual reader to decide whether she was a saint, a control freak or something in between.  I enjoyed the book recommendations and the insight into the mother-son relationship.  This could have been somewhat of a depressing book, but actually it was rather heart-warming and provided food for thought and book inspiration.

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