At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die

Edited by Lee Gutkind, intro. by Francine Prose. Creative Nonfiction (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-937163-04-4
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In 22 essays, family members who have survived the death of children and parents, as well as a variety of health professionals, talk frankly about their experiences with the dying and the process of death, raising important questions about how much should be done to prolong life, what to tell the dying, and how to handle our grief. For Beecher Grogan, the most selfless gesture in life as a mother is giving her 12-year-old, tormented by leukemia, her blessing to die in peace. And Phyllis Galley Westover, a former college dean, put her life on hold to care for her depressed and feeble 101-year-old father, but she wondered if she had done right by him or herself when she saved him from drowning when he fell into the swimming pool. Caroline Burau, a 911 dispatcher, doesn’t fulfill her fantasy of “[saying] everything right,... anticipat[ing] every need” when she takes a harrowing call from a woman whose six-year-old had just shot her four-year-old. Creative Nonfiction magazine editor Gutkind gathers an impressive, meaningful, and often courageous chorus of voices tackling a once-taboo subject with dignity, giving strength and consolation particularly to those enduring the deaths of loved ones. Agent: Andrew Blauner, Blauner Books Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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