Friday, April 12, 2013

A Great Book!

I just finished an incredible book, The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  I had read a number of reviews of it, but didn't really think it was my kind of book, it was about a man's Mother dying of pancreatic cancer, how could it be anything but a a downer no matter how well written.
Finally I succumbed, found it at my local library and checked it out via my Kindle, I figured that way I wouldn't lose any money if I decided it wasn't the book for me.
I was so wrong, it's a wonderful book, yes it's about a Mother dying, but it's so much more.  It's a love story,  a son's love for his Mother and hers for him, their love of books and what they shared because of the books they chose to read.
Mary Ann Schwalbe was an amazing woman: Founded The Women's Commission dealing with refugees
Served as Director of Admissions at Harvard and Radcliffe
First woman president of the Harvard Faculty Club in New York
Director of College Counseling at the Dalton school
Head of the Upper School at the Nightingale Bamford School
And so much more, she had traveled the world working on behalf of women and children.
At the beginning of the book she is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told that it was "treatable, but not curable".  Most people with this diagnosis live 6 months or less (Mac's brother lasted barely 4 months after receiving this diagnosis), but she live another 2 years, going through chemo, a variety of illnesses and the wear and tear of the disease.
Until the end she never slowed down, still traveling, still writing, still working to have a library established in Afghanistan.
Through it all her family and friends are with her, particularly her son Will and they form a book club of 2 and read and reread a number of books, and such interesting books that told so much about who they were as people.
I'm always looking for new books to read and I've already ordered 3 of the books they read (The Uncommon Reader-Alan Bennett, Crossing to Safety-Wallace Stegner, Olive Kitteridge-Elizabeth Strout), a number I'd already read ( The Great Santini-Pat Conroy, Auntie Mame-Patrick Dennis)  and many more.
I don't recommend a lot of books, people's taste varies too much, but this  is  a wonderful book, not about death, but rather a celebration of life and love.

Mary Ann Schwalbe

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip. It's not available at my library but I put it on my Amazon wishlist for now so as to remember it...

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  2. She sounds like an amazing woman, and a book well-worth reading. Thank you for recommending it, I'll add it to my list.

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  3. It sounds like she was an inspirational woman. I think I'd enjoy this book myself.

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