The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Amazon review also here.

For me, this was a fantastic read. But there’s two things to think about before picking this up:

1. It’s written in second person (When I saw YOU), and that’s a little jarring. This is honestly the first story I’ve read in second person that wasn’t written by a first grader. I would’ve preferred first person, but, well, we can’t always get what we want.

2. That dark, nameless presence thing is more a symbol than a part of the book. So if you’re (Second person, I’m so clever) looking for a supernatural/paranormal book, it’s more supernormal than paranatural.

If those two things are okay, then definitely, read this. Basically, this is a story about the narrator dealing with her father as he’s sick and dying and can’t do much for himself. Most of the story is told through flashbacks of the narrator living with her dad or dealing with her siblings (who show up for his dying time as well) and all those dramatic family dynamics like a sitcom’s Thanksgiving episode.

Maybe that’s not the best holiday since this is set in the UK. But it’s not all bangers and trainers; even if you’re unlucky enough NOT to be married to a hot Brit, it shouldn’t be a problem. (Poor, poor, people)

Full disclosure, I work in end of life care, and people react to their loved ones dying in different ways. Some people that read this might think that the family is apathetic, cold, unrealistic, but in my experience, that’s a common way to grieve when the death is slow and drawn out. Families grieve in different ways. This book doesn’t the kind of heartwarming, friendly advice like a televangelist saying all is well, but focuses on a different, troubled family and how they deal with it. And the depiction of these people and how they deal with it is the most real I’ve seen yet.

There’s more inspirational, life-changing books about the dying process out there, but for one with a less happy tone that realistically shows the way a broken family deals with the passing of the glue that held them together, read this one.

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