Is it a coincidence that I haven’t stepped foot in a hospital in years and just as I’m getting to the core of The End of Your Life Book Club I find myself in a hospital waiting room? My boyfriend got his gallbladder removed on Friday and after being in the hospital for so many hours, waiting and worried, Will Schwalbe’s story really got to me.
A man sharing his story about his mother’s journey through her pancreatic cancer treatment is more incredible than I imagined. After Mary Anne is diagnosed with cancer, she and her son start their very own book club for two. They read the same books and discuss them at her chemo treatments. I still think about Mary Anne and Will as ‘characters’, as if what I’ve just read didn’t actually happen to someone. Mary Anne’s life and accomplishments are so extraordinary that as I updated my Good reads progress on this memoir, I had to remind myself that it is a very real story.
I learned a tremendous amount from Mary Anne Schwalbe and I feverishly underlined my favourite quotes (most of which were said by her). I learned about time, making time, being thankful, and enjoying every moment. I learned about kindness and the power it has to change someone’s life. I also learned about books.
“Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying,” (page 7).
This memoir fuelled my love for books. It reminded me that books are there to be devoured, to help you talk to people, to be shared. Books are there to hold you and to heal you. I made a list of books that Will and his mother included in their book club that I want to read. Each book they read taught them something and made their lives a little more rich.
This memoir is about books but it is so much more than that. It’s a page-turner that teaches you many things. It takes you on this incredibly sad and wonderful journey and makes you want to be the best person you can be. I am so glad that I chose this memoir as one of my books to review for Random House Canada. As a girl who rarely picks up non-fiction, I can honestly say that it opened my eyes, my heart, and my mind to this genre, to person I am, and to the woman I hope to become.