Format: Paper Book – Owned
I read this book with my dear friend who is incredibly sick and at great risk of losing her life far earlier than anyone should. It’s ridiculously unfair. Last year around this time we read Irvin Yalom’s Staring Into the Sun (which I recommend wholeheartedly), and attempted to read How We Die (but it was incredibly dry and scientific, and I could not get into it). It’s our Tiny Death Book Book Club!
Dying: A Memoir is half exactly what I adore about non-fiction writing, and half exactly what I loathe about memoirs.
Half of this book is a discussion of how it feels to be dying, the state of euthanasia and assisted suicide, how it feels to talk to people when you don’t have a future, and other topics I found fascinating. Taylor lives in Australia where assisted suicide is not legal, but there are still support groups for people who contemplate it.
In this portion she discusses her thoughts about her personal suicide and even her stash of illegal medicine she bought from China. The macabre/hopeful feeling really permeated this portion of the book. Of course, there was also the frustration that people at the end of their lives are denied bodily autonomy. It was thoughtful, well-written, not at all dry or difficult, and truly informational.
So imagine how sad I was when I found that the other half of this book is a thorough reflection into her parents’ and grandparents’ lives. I found these portions mind-numbingly boring. I hate memoirs, I really do. I always have. Every once in awhile I pick another one up hoping I’ll enjoy it like a grown-up lady and I just never do. It always feels like a narrative being told by someone who’s never seen or heard of the Freytag pyramid. It’s all meandering nonsense with no build-up, no climax, and no discernible story.
Gladly, this is a tiny book, so the boring part didn’t last that long. The incredibly thoughtful and interesting parts more than made up for the struggle of the middle portion.
Objective Hearts: 5/5
Subjective Hearts: 3/5
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”