Friday, September 2, 2011

The Household Guide to Dying

The Household Guide to Dying, Debra Adelaide

I have just finished this book, and it was wonderful.

Not the easiest topic to read about, but a fantastic book nonetheless. Delia Bennet is a wife, mother of 2 girls and author of many Household Guides (to the Laundry, to the Kitchen). When she reaches the stage of terminal cancer, she realises that the next book she writes will be her last:
After the second operation and the third diagnosis, as I resigned myself to the fact that the latest Household Guide I'd written would be my last... I conceived in a flash the best idea ever, I didn't have to abandon the Household Guides at all. I rang Nancy...

Think of the title, I said. How catchy does The Household Guide to Dying sound?
The novel runs two concurrent stories - one the final months of Delia's life in her home with her family as she writes her book and prepares for death; and the other as she travels to far North Queensland to farewell a previous life and tragedy that met her there.

A warning to anyone currently grieving a loved one, or facing death or cancer themselves - it may be just too confronting.

However, I have to say I loved the writing, the story was intriguing, and it really was an excellent read.


Vanessa Murphy said...

I read this shortly after my Mum died of cancer, due to a recommendation by my counsellor. I had also lost a son less than 3 years previously. I didn't find the book too confronting, in fact it was refreshing in that it seemed to "get it" unlike most people around me.
Glad someone else enjoyed it. I thought it was a good read, but one I'm hesitant to recommend!

Wendy said...

Vanessa, you must have had a very hard few years. Thanks for the comment, I'm glad you found it helpful, perhaps now I will be more willing to recommend it to others in similiar situations.


Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy. Jennifer Martens here. Chris pointed to your site in today's sermon (Kids' Easter ideas) but once I got there I actually started looking at your book reviews. I am in a book club with a group of women who are not Christians. I originally thought I might suggest The Screwtape Letters in a way to witness to them and then when I started to read it, I thought it was maybe not the best idea. The Household Guide to Dying grabbed my attention. Thought maybe I could ask if it got people thinking about 'life after death…' Any thoughts? Suggestions?
I think I'll read the one about daughter in laws for myself later on! Thank you for your effort/time.

Wendy said...

Hi Jen! From memory it was more about dying itself rather than the afterlife stuff, but it's been a while since I read it. It definitely would deal with the things we think are most important when we know we are facing death, and that's always a good conversation topic. Similarly, ones about the fact that death comes to us all could be The Book Thief. The other one which definitely deals with some concept of an afterlife (but not a conventional Christian one) is The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) - I found it a confronting read (a child is murdered) and then you have the idea of her watching her loved ones. It's interesting to think about what an afterlife might be like and get conversation started. (I have not reviewed that one). Hope you get some conversations going! Wendy