by Will Schwalbe
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.
Will Schwalbe's memoir is a unique tribute to his mother, Mary Anne, a strong woman who worked tirelessly to help others, and who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. One day during her chemo treatment, Will asked, "What are you reading?" So the two-person book club was born, as Will and his mother discuss books they both read over the course of Mary Anne's treatments.
The books are just a starting point for larger discussions of life, courage, love, and so much more. Each chapter is the title of a book, whether the book they're discussing or one that thematically ties into the subject of the chapter. Will intersperses memories of the past with the treatments and his mother's decline, painting a picture of a really wonderful woman I feel I came to know - just a little bit - through her son's eyes. The book is sweet but not saccharine, sad but hopeful. I plan on sharing it with my own mother to discuss with her.