This month’s choice is the The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I read this book back in January, having seen the book in a window display in a bookshop in Geelong Victoria last October. You can read my original review and post HERE however, I have shared part of that initial review below.
I suspected that I would love it and I was right! – Cancer is always a hard subject to read about, especially as many families including my own have been touched by it. Over the years when I worked in hospitals I would do ward rounds and hear that awful “rattle” and see the patients and their families. Truly shocking.
For me this book was about Will’s relationship with his mother. and his final relationship with her. The conversations they had and the ones they did not have, the books they shared and simply being together, mother and son for a final time. Yes, the medical details are perhaps hard for some to bear because in the US I understand that there are funding issues and therefore some have a “financial stress free time” and others don’t. Here in the UK all medication and treatment is free unless you choose to pay for private medical treatment, in which case it is expensive. We also have the other issue that some medications are available in some health authorities, but that is another story.
I think that this book is about how Will coped with his mother’s passing, and perhaps for Will writing this book was a form of counselling and coming to terms. It also enabled Will to write about his mother, a mother he was immensely proud of.
Despite being such a sad book, alas there is no happy ending, it was a really lovely book. It is the story of reading, books and relationships.
For the book club I didn’t re-read, but I did dip in and out of the book. Had my views and thoughts changed? No, they had not. I do think more than ever that writing this book was a way of coping with the loss of his mother. It was a testiment of the time they spent together whilst they both coped with her illness.
The question of how do you say goodbye, knowing that each extra day is a blessing and borrowed time is a difficult one. All those conversations, the ones had and those that can never be had.
In this book, Will’s mother continues to share her wisdom and love of books and Will has captured that all beautifully.
Taking part in the Progressive Book Club