Claire's Reviews > The End of Your Life Book Club

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2013

I truly wanted to enjoy this book. I read this book for a book club and at first I thought it was a good choice. It sounded like something I would really want to sink my teeth into, however, I just did not find it interesting. It is appalling that I was 90% of the way through and telling myself, don't worry, she must die soon and it will all be over (I feel like a terrible person). I appreciate that Will Schwalbe's mother appears to have been a woman who championed many valuable causes and did great things, however, the description of her in this book doesn't even make her sound human. That is due to the writing than the woman- it felt like she was being portrayed as some saint-like creature.

The description of the Mother/Son relationship didn't make me feel emotional, the book club books were not discussed in enough detail to make me want to read them and it seemed like a lot of this book was screaming 'look how privileged we are'. Although it seems like the Mother did a lot for refugees, it often comes across that she was detached and cold towards her own children. At best, reading the book made me feel like I had trespassed at someone's funeral/wake at worst it made me feel like I was participating in a very dull book club. Perhaps I am being overly harsh, but would really not recommend this to anyone else and believe this was published mainly due to author connections.

Rant over!


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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 8, 2013 – Shelved
July 8, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
July 8, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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Susan Hi Claire. Having posted my review I checked out the 3000-odd others, and it seems we're in a club of about two!

I so agree with you though. A load of self satisfied, self opinionated people bestowing their wealth on those who they consider deserve it - only, of course, when they've finished bestowing it on each other.

Marvellous plug for the cookery website too (no haven't checked just don't care!).

I found it preachy as well.

And finally, don't feel guilty about longing for it to end ... I too kept looking to see just how much more of this I had to stomach!!


Claire Susan wrote: "Hi Claire. Having posted my review I checked out the 3000-odd others, and it seems we're in a club of about two!

I so agree with you though. A load of self satisfied, self opinionated people bes..."


Thank you so much for replying. I am glad that there is someone out there with the same feelings about this book as my own. I also did not check out the cookery website. I am going to a book club to discuss this tomorrow and I imagine I will be facing a tide of women who love this!!


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 1 star

Amy Sheehan I totally agree with your review. I started skimming a lot, trying to make my way through it. I was so tired of him putting his mom on a pedestal, bragging about her, and name-dropping every other paragraph. It's great to be proud of your Mom, but a little bit of humility would have been appreciated. I feel like such a terrible person because I, too, was just waiting for her to die. It was awful.

I really did want to like this book, but I just couldn't.


message 4: by Mj (new)

Mj Oneill let me join the ranks of the unimpressed! I do appreciate the authors devotion to his mother but I found her,despite her charity work,rather cold.I was reading it for my book club and it was a hard slog.


message 5: by Cher (new) - rated it 1 star

Cher Staite Beautifully said. Thanks


message 6: by Tani (new) - rated it 1 star

Tani I agree with a lot of what you said. I think the mother did do a lot of great things, but we didn't get to see the real her. And I felt like the way she was portrayed was really annoying. The way she would say she felt guilty/like she was complaining so much, just because she asked for a painkiller. And the author/son made it sound like she was perfect and everybody loved her. Not realistic at all.


Mary D I agree with you. It's one of those books that I just say "it was fine". It just wasn't a compelling read.


Sadie-jo You summarized my feeling about this book perfectly!


message 9: by Tannis (new)

Tannis wow,


Susan So sorry for you.


message 11: by Che (new) - rated it 2 stars

Che I couldn't say it better. This is my exact thoughts.


Chris Wallace I am reading it now for a,bookclub and I am finding it very shallow. Such a politically correct family. It would be a great diary for his family to read.


Celia Latty-steele Thank you for this review. I adored the book but it was really interesting to see what someone thought who didn’t enjoy it x


Whitney This is exactly how I felt about this book! I really wanted to love it, but I just didn’t.


Donna Clare I started out enjoying this book , but as it went on and on , I felt less so . The son described the mother as an


Donna Clare An angelic superhuman. Very unrealistic. It became redundant with same topics discussed often ( books , refugees, dr appointments and award dinners ). A little too much sweetness


Alicia I think is a good book about connection and difficulties, but if you expect a book club read, this is not for you...


Jennifer I must say, I feel quite similar. It lack emotion. How does a book on dying lack emotion!? Will seemed more obligated than moved to share their experiences.


Jennifer Lacked* emotion


message 20: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Lightfoot You said exactly how I feel. There's no depth to anything, so everyone comes off as cardboard. And his writing is terrible.


Susan Lynnes I thought it was a dismal book. I felt I never knew her just the idealized version of her. A love letter to his Mother? Not sure. I agree, I was also waiting for her to die so I could just be finished


Eileen Your review sums up how I felt. I easily cry at books, but this one did not move me in the slightest. I resented it because there were moments of interest that kept me reading, just to have to wade through the rest. I just wanted it to be over. I didn't dislike the mother and son, but I didn't get emotionally vested in them either. She also seemed larger than life in a way that only a loving child could portray his mother. I'm sure they're lovely people and the premise seemed interesting, but it just didn't do it for me.


Michellestumpo I got half way through this book and couldn’t read one more page. I didn’t hate it but just could not do more of it.


message 24: by Tracie (new)

Tracie Reading all of these reviews affirms my gut reaction--name dropping, uber-privileged, lacked emotion, etc. I'll keep the book list though, but that's my only take-away.


message 25: by lizzzzzzzzz (new) - added it

lizzzzzzzzz So true!


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