Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will…
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.

There is also a web page and there is a Facebook page to accompany the book complete with a full list of the books and authors that Will and his mother discussed.

The End of Your Life Book Club Book and Author List

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


  1. Julie, what a wonderful wrap-up of what you took away from the book. It was truly excellent, as I gleaned most of the same, relating it to my current situation.

    I love the cover of the edition you bought. I wonder if that was the original. I think I'll even tweet this to Mr. Schwalbe himself.

    So glad to have you in the club. I thoroughly enjoyed your offering.

    1. It was a great book and I was pleased to be given the opportunity to revisit the book. It is one of my best reads for 2013. This is the cover on the hardback that I have and the same cover that I saw in Australia in October.

  2. Hi Julie-- I loved how he was able to talk to his mom and about his mother via the themes and words in the books they read. I think that's what really touched me in this book-- very good review. By the way, I found by adjusting the filter in my comments, I have almost completely done away with spam comments without blocking legit comments.

  3. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book and took them in for a time that I will read it. A very lovely review :)

  4. Anonymous5:35 pm

    That's a great point about the book discussing how to say goodbye. It even more difficult when you know the end is coming. Reminds you to remember always tell the people around you how much you love and appreciate them.

  5. Nice review. Also--I love the background on your blog. Is that a stock photo or a family heirloom?

    About the book--yes, it did seem like a way for Schwalbe to work through his mother's death, and also as a way for others of us to think about how we can/will do the same.
    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

  6. Julie, I haven't read this post as I wanted to write a review too on my book blog. I loved this of the best I've read in a long time!

  7. I like books best that show you who people are. Through books and conversations, I feel like I got to know two engaging and important people. I love what Will 's mum did with her life and it inspires me to reach out to others more, to do more and to be more present when with others.

    Maycee Greene (Search Engine Optimization Olympia)


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