by Will Schwalbe
This book took me much longer to read than is usual for me. But that’s not because I didn’t like it or it wasn’t good. I really liked it a lot and think it is great. It’s because it hit so close to home that I often had to put it down and come back to it at a later date because it was too upsetting for me. My mother was diagnosed with the same hideous form of cancer, pancreatic cancer, about a year after Will’s mother was. My Mom lasted for 16 months after her diagnosis, Will’s mother lasted for 24 months. There were so many similarities in their treatment, their personalities, their disposition, their relationship to their children and the world, that it was striking at times. I found it both comforting and unsettling. This book brought back a lot of memories, mostly good ones, but also difficult ones of dealing with my Mom’s illness and ultimate death.
I did love the premise of this book — a son and his mother bonding over books in the last two years of her life. Yes it was difficult but worth it to spend time in their world, enjoy the books they read, hear their insights and witness their love and respect for each other. Will really saw his mother as a person independent of her being his mother. What a gift.
This book was as much of an ode to their relationship as it was an ode to all readers everywhere. Very special. I think it will stay with me for a long time.