top of page
  • Writer's pictureTerrie

A memoir full of bookish commentary: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Genre: Memoir

Published 2012, 336 pages

"We all have a lot more to read than we can read and a lot more to do than we can do. Still, one of the things I learned from Mom is this: Reading isn't the opposite of doing; it's the opposite of dying."


I quite liked many aspects of this book. I appreciated all the "book about books" elements. He gave very brief synopses of many books the two of them read together and what he and his mom enjoyed about them. As I think back, I don't remember him really discussing any they didn't like (guess he decided to leave those out). The 'reviews' aren't really reviews, more like brief synopses. Their tastes are wide ranging; some contemporary, some classics, poetry, and religious books. Some of them I'd read and didn't agree with his assessment, but there were some unfamiliar authors and titles as well that I'm inspired to research.

Since the book is mostly about his mom and her fight against pancreatic cancer, I was surprised that he was able to keep it from being maudlin or sad. Almost a sort of reporterly tone, more sort of informative about her treatments and her responses to being sick than any in depth exploration of feelings. He has a dad, siblings and a partner but they aren't mentioned much because, as he explains early in the book, it's really a reflection of HIS relationship with his mom and how reading helped them get through really difficult times.

“We're all in the end-of-your-life book-club, whether we acknowledge it or not; each book we read may well be the last, each conversation the final one.”


BUT - he sure made his mom out to be god-like....he certainly played up her accomplishments and attitudes and while it may all be true on some level, he certainly portrayed her as an unbelievably perfect woman. That caused a little eye-rolling after a while. That aside, I found the book a strong memoir about a difficult couple of years of the author's life.

Reading Challenge: #BooklistQueen20 #8, 50: title with more than 5 words; borrowed from a friend (SIL) #PopSugar20 #4: about a book club #Bookworm20 #28: recommended by a friend (Pat)

Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

It's my goal to provide real reviews of the books I read without totally rehashing every plot. I'll never spoil a story by giving away a plot twist! Hopefully you'll find one or two of interest and will discover a new book or author to add to YOUR TBR list.  Take a moment to explore, read a couple reviews, and let me know what you think.


For your convenience, I use #hashtags in the reviews and when you click on one, you'll find more books with that theme. Hopefully you'll find it a helpful way to navigate the site and find books you'll enjoy. I've also recently added tags that will show up at the end of each review that serve the same purpose.

The review ratings are based on a 5 star  (1/2 stars sometimes) system with a 3 being an average read for me. I hope you find that helpful. Knowing, of course, that all opinions are just that - my opinion!  Let me know if you agree or disagree - I'd love to hear from you.

If you like what you see and want to keep up with me, subscribe below.  Happy Reading!

bottom of page