Will Schwalbe and his mother Mary Anne have always talked about books together. So when Mary Anne is diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, mother and son use their time sitting at the cancer center (in waiting rooms, in exam suites, in the room where Mary Anne receives her chemotherapy treatments) to formalize their conversations into a "book club." Through re-reading old favorites and swapping new titles, Will and Mary Anne find themselves connecting with one another in deep and meaningful ways. Discussing books gives them a safe framework for talking about some of the issues that weigh heavily on them as Mary Anne's cancer rapidly progresses: faith, family, bravery, and ultimately death.
I loved this book. It was such a beautifully written tribute to Schwalbe's mother that when I finished reading it, I felt as if I had known Mary Anne personally and was grieving her along with her family. Her sense of humor in the face of a truly humorless situation, her ceaseless commitment to the causes she believed in, and her devotion to her family were inspiring. The compiled bibliography of all the novels Will & Mary Anne discussed in their "book club" served as an added bonus to what was already a gift of a book.
The End of Your Life Book Club comes out this October.