Rating: 4 / 5
Upon returning from a trip to Afghanistan, Mary Ann Schwalbe fell ill, and after a subsequent doctor’s visit, discovered she had pancreatic cancer. Her son Will accompanied her to many of her chemo treatments, and it is during that time that they discuss books they are currently reading. Thus, the end of your life book club was born. Although it began as books they were currently reading, it started including titles that they would read together.
The End of Your Life Book Club isn’t just about books. Throughout, Will describes how strong of a woman his mother was, and also how much compassion and heart she had for other people. Not only did she take care of her family, but she also sought a career outside of home life at a time when women weren’t expected to work. The pride and admiration Will has for mother is palpable, and it is hard not to be impressed and moved with Mary Ann’s achievements.
I consider myself someone who reads a lot, and yet the vast majority of books Will and his mother read I hadn’t even heard of. While I didn’t need to have read them beforehand, I think I would have enjoyed the books more if I were more familiar with the titles. However, this book is a lovely either way, and if nothing else, I did put a few titles Will mentioned on my tbr list.
The ending of The End of Your Life Book Club is not surprising, but I was surprised which how much heart was in this book. The impact of Mary Ann on Will’s life is enormous, and this book is a touching tribute not only to her, but to the power of education and of the written word.