Skip to main content
PBS logo

Search - The End of Your Life Book Club

The End of Your Life Book Club
The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
The inspiring story of a son and his dying mother, who form a "book club" that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Mary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she's reading. — The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books s...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780307594037
ISBN-10: 0307594033
Publication Date: 10/2/2012
Pages: 336
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 41 ratings
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

mazeydazey avatar reviewed The End of Your Life Book Club on + 140 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
You would think this book would have been sad but for me it was not. The book was a celebration of Mary Ann's life and a celebration of love between a son and his mother. I believe the world is a better place for having Mary Ann Schwalbe. She lived as she died, gracefully. To have had such a privileged life she showed us how to be a giving soul. I wish I had known her and I thank Will for sharing her with me.

There were many books that Will and Mary Ann read and talked about that I was not familiar with but just as many that I have either read or have to read. I even added a couple to my WL. This is a book I will not soon forget.
njmom3 avatar reviewed The End of Your Life Book Club on + 1361 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Review first published on my blog:

The End of Your Life Book Club is a story of two years - from the time Will Schwalbe's mother Mary Ann is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to her death. It is a journey towards an end that the family knows is coming. It is also a celebration of their life. Finally, under the umbrella of their book club of two people, the book seeks to become a discussion of so many emotions, topics and lessons learned. Perhaps, it becomes a means to coping with the loss.

The idea of finding things we need to talk about and doing it in the context of a book, of course, appeals to me. I loved all the books references - becoming part of the conversation for those I have read and making a mental list of the ones I have not read. At the end of this book, the author does provide a list of all the referenced books. The books they read are not discussed in detail unfortunately, but merely become the vehicle to present the rest of the story.

As far as the family story, I found myself relating to parts and not to others. I could not relate to their lifestyle of big projects and world travel. I did completely relate to the their love of books, their love for each other, and the emotions of loss.

At one point in the book the author thinks, "I often forget that other people's stories aren't simply introductions to my own more engaging, more dramatic, more relevant, and better-told tales, but rather ends in themselves, tales I can learn from or repeat or dissect or savor." I am glad he had the chance to "repeat, dissect, and savor" stories with his mother, and I am glad he chose to share his story with us.
reviewed The End of Your Life Book Club on
Helpful Score: 3
I loved this book! The author introduces us to his mother at the end of her life. He uses their mutual love of books as the backdrop of the "story" which is about a wonderful woman whom you can't help but wish you had met in person. It's wonderfully told and not at all depressing.
susieqmillsacoustics avatar reviewed The End of Your Life Book Club on + 1062 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is really a tribute from a son to his mother. It is a celebration of a life, but I did find it to be sad, as well as inspiring. One quote that sums it up is "Mom taught me that you can make a difference in the world and that books really do matter: they're how we know what we need to do in life, and how we tell others." There are many things an avid reader will relate to and that is part of the enjoyment. I found myself adding to my "to be read" list, as well.
reviewed The End of Your Life Book Club on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
As an avid reader I enjoyed this book very much! I loved the connection between the mother/son (I have 2 sons). Also the mother's health situation (dying of cancer) & going through chemo struck a raw nerve for me. A dear friend of mine is also going through the same health situation/treatment at the same time as I was reading the book. It was not depressing, it was upliftingI would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read!
Read All 11 Book Reviews of "The End of Your Life Book Club"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed The End of Your Life Book Club on + 65 more book reviews
It's a very touching topic and there are a lot of great books recommended here but the book itself is not all that engaging. Lots of references to how rich and privileged the author and his family are and all of their connections makes it very difficult to connect with the characters. A very slow read. Doesn't live up to the reviews but you will get a nice list of other books that you want to read in the future from this book.