For me, this book never tends toward a conclusion; the mother and daughter progress toward imagined ends or intermediate events, and events never gave me an inkling of what to expect. Author Sherril Jaffe keeps us guessing until the very last. This can be considered a virtue, certainly, but I doubt the author intended a thriller climax. She gives us instead a final open-ended thought that summons the Buddhist principles into which she immerses us as she wraps up. Her lesson: death isn’t the point, living each moment is the point. Long-lived Muriel’s story cautions instead of congratulates: carpe diem, rather than slave away in a secure but unloving marriage. Flora should be proud after all: she manages to live her life of love with a sense of wonder and gratitude for all that she has.
This story will clearly resonate with those who face the challenge of illness, or who have lost loved ones, and it includes well- and subtly-told lessons on the art not of dying but of living and loving life.