Written by Deborah Ziegler, the mother of Brittany Maynard—a twenty-nine-year-old woman with a terminal brain tumor—this touching and beautiful memoir captures and celebrates her daughter’s spirit and the mostly untold story of Brittany's last year of life as she chose her right to die with dignity, a journey that inspired millions. "Brittany’s story…will have a ready audience, and Deborah’s frank account of their struggles will be comforting to others facing this difficult decision" (Booklist).
In this poignant, powerful book, Deborah Ziegler makes good on the promise she made to her only child: that she would honor her daughter and carry forward her legacy by sharing their story and offering hope, empowerment, and inspiration to the growing tens of millions of people who are struggling with end-of-life issues.
Ziegler is the mother of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who, when diagnosed with brain cancer, chose to take steps toward ending her own life. Ziegler recounts her and her only child's journey through a terminal diagnosis in this heart-wrenching book. Each chapter deals with Ziegler's life as a mother: raising her daughter, letting her grow into her own person, enduring the ups and downs of the ever-complicated mother-daughter relationship, and the illness that changed their family. At the time of her daughter's diagnosis in 2014, only four states had passed "death with dignity" acts, so Brittany made plans to move from their home state of California to Oregon to end her life on her terms without unnecessary suffering. Ziegler gracefully walks the line between eulogizing her child and letting the reader in on the ugly side of how a brain tumor destroys a person. The author shares her grief, struggles with faith, feelings about the American medical system, and her own emotions about her daughter's choice, all without cynicism or a heavy hand. In the end, she becomes a proponent of a terminal patient's right to choose when to die, and assists in the battle for legal changes in California. Occasionally Ziegler leans on clich s to deliver her message, but they are not overly distracting, and sprinkled throughout are websites and important nuggets of information for those faced with similar situations.
Customer ReviewsSee All
has its good and bad points
i followed brittany's story when it was in the news a couple years ago. i was a bit conflicted at first about reading the book after brittany's husband claimed it was written against her wishes, but i decided to give it a go.
i found the book to be very entertaining; i love reading about people's real lives and experiences, and i'm kind of a medical nerd, so the details of the disease and surgery and whatnot were fascinating to me. deborah is a great writer, and the book was difficult to put down.
what was also difficult a large part of the time was feeling any sympathy or positive feelings toward brittany. i realize that she had terminal brain cancer at a young age, but...the girl was a bit of a jerk sometimes. her mother told of one instance in which brittany got angry because deborah and gary asked her to refrain from discussing less-than-appetizing topics at the dinner table. brain tumor or not, why would you think anyone desired or was obligated to talk about gross/unsettling matters while trying to eat?
i don't know if deborah realized it as she was writing, but she painted her daughter in a rather unflattering light. brittany seems to have been a very independent, headstrong woman at best...and a spoiled brat who thought the world should bow at her feet at worst. she actually reminded me of kim kardashian at times...never really worked a day in her life, but still got just about all of her heart's desires. she travelled the world (even leaving her husband for a large part of their first year of marriage...who does that?) attended prestigious colleges, lived in upscale housing...you get the idea.
i don't doubt that deborah and brittany loved each other...but after reading this book, i don't doubt that brittany dreaded the idea of her mother telling her story, either.
overall, it was a good read.
A must read
As an RN and fellow griever from losing my baby sister to cancer I feel so moved by this book. Deborah’s story of Brittany’s life and death should be required reading for every health practitioner. This book is honest and sad; inspirational and important; heart wrenching and uplifting... all at once.
Worth the read!
I gave this book five stars, not because of literary qualities, but because it spoke to my heart. I had recently heard about the book and rumors that Brittany did not want her mother writing it. This peeked my curiosity. I wanted to know more. Why didn’t Brittany want her mother writing her story? Why did her mother write a book anyway? After finishing the book, my questions have been answered. I commend this mother for listening to her intuition and doing what felt right for her in her processes of grief and spiritual healing. I feel certain that Brittany, in whatever form she is now, supports her mother, understands the place the writing of this book had in her mother’s healing, and no longer cares about her earthy reasons for not wanting a book to be written. For me, this book has entered my life with uncanny timing in my own discovery of grief and spirituality. We are love. We are one.