Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying

Sallie Tisdale. Touchstone, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5011-8217-4
Tisdale (Violation: Collected Essays), a former nurse, offers an intimate insider’s look at dying, aimed at both caregivers and mortally ill people. By turns philosophical and pragmatic, Tisdale gently prods readers to make plans while they can. She meditates on the possibility of procuring a “good death,” surveys body disposal practices from different times and cultures, and compassionately illustrates her themes with anecdotes from the lives and deaths of close friends. They include Carol, a lawyer who “had rarely been sick in her life” but was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after being elected as her rural county’s first female judge, and Butch, an ex-con diagnosed with liver cancer a few years after being released from the prison he’d spent most of his adult life in. Much of the book is organized chronologically, with various chapters charting the “Last Months,” “Last Weeks,” “Last Days,” and “That Moment.” Of particular note are the appendices on advance directives, organ donation, and euthanasia, which are written in clear, accessible language. Tisdale’s forthright narrative voice, charmingly bossy in style (“Be very careful about odors.... You don’t want to be the most nauseating thing that happens in the day”), is so generous and kind in spirit that readers will gladly follow along. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 06/12/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-5011-8218-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-350-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-9821-0394-1
Paperback - 398 pages - 978-0-3693-1122-1
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