The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
This novel's title gives away the idea of the book--a son's memoir of his mother's last days as she dies from cancer.
This novel was not a fan favorite of readers, as the writing was flat. There was very little characterization that enabled readers to truly connect with either the son or his mother. Readers went as far as saying that the characters were like cardboard cut-outs.
Additionally, the mother, as well as her family, came off to readers as being privileged; therefore, her humanitarian acts seemed phony. In fact, she seemed more of a martyr throughout the novel. Readers felt that the novel was really written by the mother, as she was so controlling and the son's emotions did not seem to be part of the novel. It was hard to feel sympathy for any of the characters. Furthermore, the mother came across as passive-aggressive, since she was so controlling, but not in a truly nasty way. It is that underlying guilt factor that comes out when she says, no, don't stay because of me. Go about your own life.
Readers expected that tear-jerking moment in the novel, but it never came. The "book club" that the title refers to was really a way for the mother and son to avoid having a real relationship. They really never dived into any conversation that would push forth real emotion. Instead, readers felt there was really a bit of resentment on the son's end, which would make sense since readers think the mother really wrote the novel before she died. She was writing her own blog; why not write her own book, but she let her son get the credit and accolades.
Ultimately, readers felt guilty at the end of reading the novel because they didn't feel sympathy or empathy for the characters. Readers knew it was a memoir, so they were disappointed with the writing style, the story line, and their own reactions to the novel.
Karla Erdman, book club founder and organizer
Each month the club meets to discuss a chosen book. The blogs are notes from each meeting and club members' comments.
SPOILER ALERT: If you are going to read any of the discussions below, you may learn more about a novel than you wanted. Some endings have been revealed.
Books, Books, and More Books
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Other places to obtain discounted books:
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A Dog's Purpose, W. Bruce Cameron
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The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
Night Road, Kristin Hannah
The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark
Copper Sun, Sharon Draper
The Total Money Make Over, Dave Ramsey
Little Bee, Chris Cleave
The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
The Between, Tananarive Due
Scaramouche, Raphael Sabatini