I was sent this a while ago from Two Roads Books. I started it, but just couldn’t get on with it somehow. I put it to one side and promised myself I would come back to it when I had more time to focus.
This week was that time. This time around I didn’t want to put it down. In a book where one of the people involved has pancreatic cancer you know it’s never going to be a happy ending. And this isn’t a novel it’s auto *and* biographical if that makes sense, the story of a man’s relationship with his mother, related mainly through analysis of the books they share. The problem I had when I first started reading was that not only had I not read any of the books mentioned, I’d not even heard of many of the authors, which made me feel extremely ignorant.
After a period of reflection I decided that was my process and hardly their fault. And as there are excerpts shared I could get the flavour of some of them anyway. There’s a handy reading list at the back of the book, I may try to broaden my horizons and find some of the titles I’d not come across before.
Back to thebook itself. Themes Youmight expect, given the subject matter.The underlying story of love and a growing understanding of mortality is one that we could all do with coming to terms with. Death and our current societal attitude to it is discussed with great insight, as Will and his mother come to terms with her illness in their own way.
Mary Ann Schwalbe was an incredible woman and I feel in some way privileged to have met her through the words of her son. I wish that the book told us more of her earlier days and experiences, though I guess it might have needed a different title.