Ros wrote: 'Bette and her friend Suzanne seemed to enjoy the idyllic venue. Neither had read the books.
All sun and blue skies and water. And sumptuous food.
Your report (see below) was highly valued and most agreed with your judgments.
Margaret's renovations provide even more space and utility.
The issues raised by the novel were discussed more than the way of writing. The legal issue seemed to be generally accepted - although some of the 10 were quiet. Reserve, perhaps or sensitivity to the subject? Those who supported the view felt the novel explored it very well through the case studies which showed different aspects and through the humour which made the serious contemporary issue digestible.
The sex scenes did prove divisive.
Ros finished - The May meeting will be at Jane's - 'The underground railroad'.
I've sent the the next 2 books round electronically. I have the monthly diary - sorry, I forgot all about it. I'll pop it over to Ros.
And there was the shocking news from Maggie that the symptoms she experienced while reading a book group email last Friday afternoon has led to a diagnosis of cancer. Early days, and she's hoping for a confirmation that these tumours are indeed secondaries from a melanoma 5 years ago - because a new treatment for melanoma is producing encouraging recovery rates. A ray of hope. Maggie wants a local book group to sustain her and fortuitously, Bette may be able to help - she's talking to her group. And of course, Maggie you are still a long-distance member of ours!
I'll miss the April meeting too - An Unfortunate Incident.
To finish off -here is the quick note I wrote about my reading of the book, which Ros refers to above. if you had other ideas - we can talk about them later. It's an ongoing conversation.
Re Steven Amsterdam's The Easy Way Out.
There is no Easy Way Out. That's the message I got.
I found the book fascinating and truthful, the work of a writer who knew what he was talking about. And the acknowledgement at the end confirms that Steven Amsterdam works as a palliative care nurse. I assume he's also gay, as his writing about Evan's sexual experiences as the third in a semi permanent loving gay threesome is just as enlightening, even shocking, as the exploration of ways of dying. It's sympathetic too. His sex writing is never cringe making, and believable. Interesting mechanics. Quite sexy even to me. Though I'm glad it's not my life. I'm interested to see what our book group people make of it.
I love speculative social fiction, where a fictional change in technology or the law, like measure 491 or whatever, is teased out. (Black Mirror on Netflix does this for technology.) I had the book from the library via Ros, but started reading it without enough time to finish it. A lesser book I would have scanned. I bought an online copy and finished it. I'm glad I did. I'm only sad I can't share it.
As a character, Evan is well-rounded. I recognise Viv too,and her sharp wit is sustaining, and it underpins their close relationship. Nettie is a touchstone for Evan. Evan might be seen as a loser, with his odd relationships, loved third to 2 loving couples, though sexually expressive with only one the male couple. His relationship with Viv might be too close, dependent. We see him in the end curled up in bed with his mother, perhaps where he's always wanted to be. Amsterdam doesn't make Evan a wuss, he's in charge of his life, choosing to care, choosing to kill .. or not. A grown man lying in bed with his dying Mum might be primal, certainly babyish, but in this book, it's a loving, mature, admirable action. Whatever he does, it's done with love. It's a hard option sitting with someone while they slowly die, as Lon says. It's no easy assisting them to die either.
It's great that the options are explored: a legal assist for the terminally ill, an illegal assist for anyone in sane mind who has considered their options and wants to die (but very tricky, that sane mind thing, as we see), and the possibility of under the blanket assisted death as part of regular aged care treatment. Then there's old fashioned suicide, like his father's, which wasn't officially suicide anyway. It's great to explore through the nurse practitioner who is also a family member confronting the dilemma, and to see the effect on the assistant, in whatever circumstances.
I went into the book with reservations about assisted dying, under the law. I still have reservations. I think it has a place, but I still don't know when it's the best thing, and without those guidelines, my support is useless. The decision is final, no possibility of retreat.
I read the Memoir too about Dying. I don't like to speak I'll of the dying but it was boring. I read it a few weeks ago and I can't think of a thing to say about it.