Henry Holt, October 2014
Disclosure: I received a review copy via LibraryThing Early Readers.
I really wanted to read Being Mortal after reading an excerpt several months ago in The New Yorker. The chapter is called “Letting Go,” and the piece followed a young mother diagnosed with cancer making end-of-life care decisions. The book as a whole is a combination of policy discussion and narratives, and overall it’s very affecting stuff.
Gawande starts the book with some history of medicine and elder care options (he’s part sociologist, part gerontologist, part surgeon, part son throughout the book). As a book about things that people find difficult to talk about, this book is invaluable. As a manifesto about reforming nursing homes and assisted living centers, it’s very effective.
As tough as the subject of this book is, it was a very good: the writing is not dry. And because he uses stories about his own family members as well as some stories of his patients, Gawande is constantly providing context to his points about how to lead a meaningful life while you are dying.