Welcome to BOOK CLUB, which I run with co-conspirator Nicole from Linus’s Blanket. Today we will be chatting about The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, from Knopf. For those of you reading this post, please remember that this discussion may contain spoilers.
Here is the synopsis of the book I wrote for my review:
For as long as he can remember, Will Schwalbe’s mother has been almost a super-human figure. She was Harvard’s first female director of admissions, then later the founding director of International Rescue Committee’s Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Nothing could slow Mary Anne Schwalbe down, except stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Even cancer didn’t slow Will’s mother down as much as it would most people. Still, though, there were those periods of enforced rest, the doctor appointments, the chemotherapy treatments. Will is lucky enough to have the flexibility and proximity to attend many of his mother’s appointments with her. When they are together, the conversation frequently defaults to the same thing it has throughout their lives: books.
The End of Your Life Book Club is as much – or more – about Mary Anne’s life with and death from cancer than about the books that the two read together. It is a chronicle of the last months of her life, a testament to her strength, and Will’s coming to terms with the way his family’s life will be forever changed./blockquote>
If you plan on participating in today’s BOOK CLUB, please consider subscribing to comments at the bottom of the page (please use the TOP subscription option, the second option will subscribe you only to replies of your own comments). I will be updating this post with new questions and ideas over the course of the day.
Here we go…
- First off, what were your general impressions of the book?
- Is this a book you would have read had you not been reading it for a book club?
- Were you able to connect with the Schwalbes and their loss?
- Had you read any of the books that Will and his mother read? Do you think this affected your enjoyment of/connection to The End of Your Life Book Club in any way?
- Did the frame of the books and the book club work well for you as a way to access Will and Mary Anne’s story?
- What do you think of Will’s revelation that he had basically had his mother’s name wrong his entire life?
- Any other questions? Anything else you want to discuss?
12 copies of The End of Your Life Book Club were provided by Knopft in order to facilitate this discussion. Below are reviews from some of this conversation’s participants: