By Janice M. Van Dyck
From the back of the book:
“Frances Baldwin is ready to die. Prepared to deny further medical care that might save her, she asks her son to help her bring closure to a well-lived life. Can William, a philosophical med-school dropout, honor his mother without tearing himself and his family apart? To help her die, he must face off against the medical community and the system that is trying to keep her alive regardless of the quality of life she will lead. To lose her, he must find her and find himself.”
I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this book. I loved the story idea and Frances was actually a very endearing character. However, I found myself not liking William very much. He seemed to fluctuate between a nice guy and someone whom it appeared just wanted his mother to die so he wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.
At first glance, Frances doesn’t really seem that sick. Her afflictions are undercover – COPD, heart problems, etc., so you really don’t see them on the surface. The doctors and her husband aren’t convinced she’s in as bad of shape as she claims. But she knows she is dying and she is determined to let it happen.
After she is talked into having a surgery that could potentially help but doesn’t, her health care providers finally must admit she’s not going to live much longer. With that acceptance comes a peace for her and she begins preparing for that ultimate event.
Her biggest roadblock continues to be her husband, who selfishly doesn’t want to continue through life alone. He’s come to rely on her taking care of him and isn’t sure how he will fend for himself.
Yet, amid all this turmoil, the redeeming light comes from a new closeness between Frances and her daughter. Their love takes on a deeper meaning and I enjoyed watching that relationship develop.
This really is a good book. I just wished I could accept William more, but without his character, the book probably wouldn’t have been the same. It’s a great first novel by this new author and she does an excellent job of approaching this controversial issue with style and grace.