My rating: 5 out of 5
Severe illness is not life-altering, it’s life-shattering. Less of an epiphany and more like someone had just firebombed the path forward.
There is no hiding from death. This book certainly doesn’t shy away from the message. I feel this will not really be a spoiler, as you’ll learn in the preface, the author is no longer alive.
Speaking of the preface - there is a phrase that repeatedly came to my mind as I read this book - a prose poem. Do not be mistaken, there’s very little actual poetry in this book (though there is some), but the prose has that quality, rhythm, cadence and urgency to continue with the next line.
I found the writing brilliant. At times full of gore and action of surgery, only to be replaced with serenity of a quiet dinner with friends. This might be a book about dying, but it is full of life. It’s not a book about cancer, being a doctor nor is a full-on patient story of fight for survival. But it is all of those and more.
For me personally - It’s a beautiful philosophical book on how to live and die on your own terms. Finding out who/what is important to you, and finding the courage within you to get up each day and fight for it. Realizing that priorities change and that’s OK.
I am quite sure I will read this again in the future.