I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
At first glance, this looks like a book about a young man watching his mother struggle through cancer and eventually succumb to it. It will draw inevitable comparisons to books like TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE. However, it is much much more than that. This isn't a sad, maudlin account of the end of someone's life. It is the story of the connection forged between a man and his mother through their passionate love and books and how those books shaped and affected their lives. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever loved a book. Bibliophiles will recognize kindred spirits in Will Schwalbe and his mother.
When Will's mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he beings accompanying her to her treatments and they begin a "book club" to pass the time. Both of them have always been passionate readers but books take on a new significance for them. Each book that they read brings up questions about faith and courage and gratitude and what makes a life well lived. It is through reading these books that Will and his mother are able to broach issues that may have been difficult for them to approach otherwise. The books become a method of communication for mother and son. The two of them learn a great deal about each other through their book club.
These are two people who understand the power of the written word. They understand how books can connect us and teach us and open our minds to new ideas. They see how books never stop allowing us to learn and grow---even at the end of our lives. END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB is moving and funny and sad and heartwarming all at the same time. I found myself underlining passages and making a list of books for myself based on what Will and his mother were reading. (There is a master list at the back of the book.) This isn't just a story about dying or a story about a life well-lived. It is a story of the relationship of a mother and son and their love of books. As CS Lewis said, "we read to know we are not alone."
BOTTOM LINE: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. One of my favorite books this year. If you consider yourself a bibliophile, this one must go on your reading list.