Friday, March 19, 2010

The Last Goodnights

John West has written a thoughtful, heart wrenching book in "The Last Goodnights". Jolly, his father and K his mother were respected doctors, and they were both dying. Jolly from cancer and K, his wife from Alzheimer's. John, their son, an attorney, helped them to have a dignified ending.

Bones riddled with cancer, Jolly goes through hip replacement surgery and goes home to end his life. Problems arise from the get go. Even getting Jolly into the house was a project. The pills needed are not available easily, but finally everything falls into place and Jolly gets his wish.

K is a different story. Although ill with Alzheimer's, she is still functional which makes John's choices even harder. As K declines, West is drinking too much and worrying about "The Plan". His sisters are no help, each with their own issues, so he is left to carry out their plan alone.

"The Plan" is simple, but always afraid of something going wrong or making the wrong choice, West does the only thing he can do, at a toll on his own physical and mental health.

Would I have had his courage? Luckily, that is not a choice I will have to make. (at least for a parent) Under the same circumstances, I hope I would.

So here's the thing--Is it okay to do what is right even if it is illegal?

Although this sounds like a downer, it is not. I really enjoyed and admired John Wests writing. It is a clear look at what happens when you love your parents dearly, and will go to any lengths to do as they wish. We should all have the freedom to choose dignity over convention.

I received this book from the author's publicist. Thank you!


  1. This sounds like a very thought-provoking book! I'm not sure if any of us can really predict how we would respond unless actually faced with the situation. Thanks for the review.

  2. This does sound like a great read.