My Thoughts on Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club

Click on the image to buy the book from Powell's
I usually begin my reviews with a quote, and I had some good ones picked out from Will Schwalbe's new memoir.  However, I procrastinated writing my review, and in the meantime, my galley expired.  Oh well.

The book is an elegy for Schawlbe's mother.  She is dying of pancreatic cancer, and so her son finds himself accompanying her to her chemotherapy sessions where their conversations usually find their way to books, something that they both love and can share. And thus begins their book club, which spans the last year of the author's mother's life.   The chapters in the memoir are organized by the titles of the books that the two read, from Wallace Stegner to Olive Kitteridge, and including books that serve as daily comfort for both mother and son during the period of Mary Anne's illness.

Mary Anne Schwalbe, the author's mother, is a generous and dynamic woman, and the book is as much a celebration of her life as it is anything.  In the face of her own death, she exhibits nothing if not grace and selflessness, constantly worrying about the charities that she is leaving behind, and paying for the drugs of the woman in front of her in the pharmacy line.  The author struggles picturing a world without her, and finds relief in reading.

This is a book lover's book, but also provides a another angle on the memoir of grief.  I recommend it.

Title: The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
Publisher: Knopf
Date: 2012
Genre: Memoir

352  pages.
Where I got it: From the publisher, through Edelweiss
 Challenges: None


  1. I just read and reviewed this too. It's a wonderful book, isn't it? I couldn't think of a better way to come to terms with life and grief than through books.


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