The End of Your Life Book Club

November 26, 2014 Biography, Memoir, non-fiction, Review 23 ★★★★★

The End of Your Life Book ClubTitle: The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
Source: Gift
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This was a beautiful story which I found both inspirational and moving.

Will Schwalbe and his mother Mary Anne have always shared a love of reading, but rarely ended up reading the same books until Mary Anne was diagnosed with cancer. Mother and son then started a small, informal book club of two, discussing books while waiting in hospital lobbies. Their conversations were “both wide-ranging and deeply personal” (source) and showed how books can both help us forget ourselves and help us make sense of our own experiences.

Given the subject, I knew this was going to be a heart-wrenching book, but I was still surprised when the author’s beautiful, poignant writing brought me to tears in the first chapter. Even though it’s been months since I read this book, the emotional impact feels fresh. It was heart-warming and heart-breaking all at the same time. I really enjoyed the way the author included books in the story. Because they were a part of his life and his relationship with his mom, the book discussions didn’t feel artificial or intrusive.  These parts flowed well and  they often led into some of the most thought-provoking parts of the book.

The book really felt like a love letter from the author to both books and his mother. Obviously I share his love of books and empathized with those parts, but he did such an incredible job capturing his mother’s personality, I felt personally connected to her too. His mother’s strength and kindness were impressive and I like to think that the author would be happy to share that with people. I also found his description of his mother’s humanitarian efforts inspiring. Because of the way the ending focused on her life instead of her death, I didn’t finish this book feeling depressed. Instead, I felt inspired to get out and do more with my own life.




23 Responses to “The End of Your Life Book Club”

  1. Jennine G.

    I recently received this one from paperbackswap. Glad to hear it is so good, even if it is also sad.

  2. C.J. @ ebookclassics

    Great review! I actually saw this book last night browsing through titles, but didn’t know what it was about. It sounds like a lovely, sad story and I think I will try to read it.

  3. Catherine

    He was the key note speaker at the Book Bloggers conference I went to two years ago and he was so funny and warm. I forgot I need to read this book so thanks for your review to remind me!

    • DoingDewey

      How cool! From his book, I would have guessed that he would be a really funny, really nice person. I enjoyed his thoughtfulness and sense of humor a lot.

  4. tracybham

    I know reading this book will make me very sad, but I have read good things about it, and I like to read books about books. So I did get a copy, and I am glad to see your review.

    • DoingDewey

      There were sad parts, but the book really didn’t leave me feeling sad at the end, so even if you don’t like sad books, I think you could enjoy this one.

  5. Trisha

    This sounds like such an emotional read. Now I just have to decide if that’s a reason to read or a reason to avoid. 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      I used to be certain I didn’t like emotional books and avoided the ones that made me cry, but I’ve been talked into trying some and picked up others by accident and found that they’re often some of my favorite books.

    • DoingDewey

      I did! If I remember correctly, there was even a nice list of books the author had discussed in the back to help you grow your TBR pile 🙂

  6. Shay

    I loved this one. I’m working on my top reads of the year list, and this is definitely on there. Glad you liked it!

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