Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare for the End of Life

Jane E. Brody, Author . Random $26 (287p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6654-4

In her inimitably straightforward, informative and intelligent manner, New York Times health columnist Brody (Jane Brody’s Good Food Book ) gives pragmatic direction to a concerned yet reluctant readership in this essential travel guide for the journey toward the inevitable. In pointing out that there is a difference between sensibly learning to accept death and surrendering, she reminds us that our attitude about living colors our approach to death. Thoroughly outlining all attendant demands and details for facing one’s end, Brody provides facts and support for families and patients, and makes it appear entirely possible to “go with grace.” With bulleted lists itemizing what needs to be done and how to do it, short portraits and anecdotes throughout, Brody covers the importance of preparation; the necessity of an advance directive and why a living will is not enough; funeral plans; living with a bad prognosis and dealing with uncertainty; caregiving; hospice; communicating with doctors; assisted dying; organ donation and autopsy; and legacies. An instructive, inspiring and reassuring work full of compassion and humor (along with several cartoons from various New Yorker illustrators), this volume belongs on every family’s bookshelf. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/17/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
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