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
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 got 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.