Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review - Finding Frances by Janice M. Van Dyck

Finding FrancesFinding Frances is about a family that is  torn. Torn between their mother/wife wanting to die and the family wanting her to stay alive.
Frances is very ill and she knows she is dying and she is ready but her family isn't ready to let go.  

"I want to die, William. I am ready. No more shots or medicines. Sweet Jesus, I'm ready." She put her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes. Her speech  came in short bursts now that she'd expended what little energy she'd saved up."

From the back: "Is it our responsibility to keep people alive or to help them die a good death? Frances Baldwin is ready to die. Prepared to deny further medical care that might save her, she asks her son to help her bring closure to a well-lived life. Can William, a philosophical med-school dropout honor his mother without tearing himself and his family apart? To help her die, he must face off against the medical community  and the system that is trying to keep her alive regardless of the quality of life she will lead. To lose her , he must find her and find himself."

Even though it is a hard subject to read about, I thought the story was powerful and also interesting how each family member dealt with their loved one dying. At first I wasn't sure if I could read it but I was intrigued and read the book in 2 days!

Finding Frances is a powerful exploration a family's uncharted emotional terrain set against the larger cultural and ethical issues of death in the 21st century. It's a gentle, upbeat, and off-beat exploration of the love beneath a family's defenses and contrary positions. Based on true events, it is an inspirational story about a woman who died as she lived: with dignity, humor, and occasional flashes of brilliance.

About the author Janice M. Van Dyck: From her website

My goal is to write books that are true. When you read them, I want you to recognize yourself and the people you know.  I want to create characters and situations that are commonplace, yet lend insight at a deeper level so you are left thinking for a while after you close the book.  Isn’t that what books are supposed to do?
While I always wanted to be a writer, I found myself climbing the corporate ladder for over twenty years while I raised my daughter.  I eventually landed a senior executive position, where I specialized in corporate communications, strategic planning and organizational development.  These skills turned out to be vital as I transitioned into writing fiction in 2004.  They gave me the ability to understand my audience, to put a story together, to tell it clearly and to move the consensus from one point to another.  I am trained to tell stories that catch your attention, give a new perspective, and motivate you to keep thinking about the topic long after the story is over.
I was born in Philadelphia and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  When the stars lined up at the millennium, I moved to the west coast of Florida where I live with my family and two dogs.


Teenage Bride said...

Oh my goodness sounds like a real tear jerker

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

This definitely sounds incredibly tough to read -- an interesting social question, and a wicked tough concept to write about and effectively carry through everyone's emotions and thoughts successfully. This sounds like a good read. I just have to muster up the strength to read it!

Suko said...

Wonderful review, Natalie. This book handles a very difficult subject, but from your review, I can tell it does an excellent job.