Friday, February 17, 2017

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

“What are you reading?”

That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less. 

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying. 

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favorite books. When they read, they aren’t a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will’s love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page. 

(Synopsis taken from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love books about books. I'll read fiction books about books, but typically non-fiction are my favorite. However, The End of Your Life Book Club isn't just a book about books. It's so much more. The journey that Will Schwalbe takes the reader on is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I have to admit, when going into The End of Your Life Book Club, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought I would probably hear a heartwarming story, and get some book recommendations, but it was so much more than that. I laughed, I cried, and everything in between. Not only did I get great book recommendations, but I learned a lot of life lessons too.

My favorite lesson that The End of Your Life Book Club taught me was about family, and how to treat those that you love. Always cherish them, because you never know when you might lose them. Treat them like every moment might be their last, because it very well could be. I loved reading about the interactions between Will and his mother. It was obvious from the way that he talked about her that he admired her, and really did love her.

I also liked hearing about all of the different books Will and his mom read. I have bought several of the books, just because they sounded so captivating when he and his mother are talking about them. My favorite that I've read out of all the recommended books that I bought was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. 

I loved this book. It was one of my favorite books that I read when it was released in 2012. It was everything I wanted it to be, and so much more. I think it's one of those books that should be required reading for everyone. Maybe if everyone read it, people would learn how to act towards others. I can't wait to read Will Schwalbe's latest release, Books For Living. His writing style is very compelling, and I know I'll have another huge list of books to read once I finish it.

I give The End of Your Life Book Club: 5/5.

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I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.


  1. I've been meaning to read this book. I've had it forever. I've been reading a lot non-fiction lately, so I think it's time I read this.

    1. I think you'll love it. Thank you for taking the time to read my review.