Book Review: Mercy Papers by Robin Romm

Two book reviews in one week??
Yes - because I was sick and spent a lot of time laying down with my eyes half-closed.

The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks (Robin Romm) was sad--but it wasn't a shocking sad, because you know right from the start that it is about a woman's life during the time when her mom was dying. Nothing upbeat about that...

Robin was really close with her mom, who had been sick for many years. Cancer. I hate cancer.

So Robin lived most of her adult life with her mom as a sick mom, fighting off lumps and trying different extreme treatments.

This was really sweet and so well-written. Robin is just laying it out there in this book - recounting her thoughts of trying to bargain with god-offering up her left leg if her mom could live, or willing to give up 3 yrs of her own life for just a few more months with her mom.

It's not an overly religious book (or I probably would not have enjoyed it), but it is about facing death and people tend to turn towards a higher power, don't they? I think so.


The author talks about her family and friends are handling the grief and how she feels like none of them understand, because it is not THEIR mom--it is a friend, or a relative--but not their MOM, and you will never have another mom.

She also talked about Hospice and I found that interesting - lesson from this: You really need to take charge of your own medical care, or in this case-take charge of your family's medical care. The hospice nurse encouraged them to give more and more medicine, which was causing problems that nearly killed the author's mom, and the nurse just made it clear that there's no need to suffer. While that is true, there is also no reason to end things faster than they need be.

I don't usually quote books, but when reading, I noted this one section where she talks about how the outside world is foreign to them and people talk about stuff that doesn't matter:

If we are going to use our tiny reserve of energy to strike up a
conversation with a stranger, well, it might as well be with God. No one else is
useful. Not that God is being very useful - up there punching buttons on his
death remote, smirking away.
There's another part where her boyfriend's birthday is approaching and she is hoping that her mom doesn't die too close to, or even on, his birthday, for then every year after, she would never be able to show happiness and joy for him during his birthday celebrations and it wouldn't be fair to him. It's true....you would always think of the two together.

This was a touching book. I wouldn't recommend reading it if you are close to someone who is dying, but maybe if you are already in mourning it would be helpful. I am not the most empathetic person in the world, but this book made me shed a few tears, so don't read it in a coffee shop.

This is a good read if:
  1. You're in need of a good cry.
  2. Want a short book to make you think about life in general.
  3. If you have a friend who is suffering a loss---it will help you relate to them.
  4. If you hate cancer and want more ammunition for your hatred.

14 comments:

  1. Gretchen said...:

    Hi! I love your blog! That book sounds like a really great read! I will check it out. Stopping by from SITS!

  1. ♥ Teresa ♥ said...:

    This sounds like a very interesting book. My FIL died a couple of years ago from cancer after being in Hospice. Thanks for the review.

    I'm stopping by from SITS! I just wanted to share a bit of comment love.

    I hope you are all better and that the rest of your week is amazing!

    Teresa <><

    http://toomanyheartbeats.blogspot.com

  1. Sitting at my MIL's who is losing a battle to cancer and on Hospice. Third relative in 6 years. Thanks for the review. I'll probably wait until this is over, but I'd really like to read it.
    ***Ally

  1. Forgot to say I was visiting from SITS! Nice blog!
    ***Ally

  1. Pam said...:

    My mom died from cancer and she, too, had hospice near the end. I'm thinking this sounds good but I don't want to read it right now.

  1. Hit 40 said...:

    Great book review!! I am hooked. I need to pop by for all of your book summaries for me. Very nice!

    I have to read "Why Don't Students Like School" by Daniel Willingham for work if you want to join me. It sounds good. I'll let you know when I finish it. I am about caught up at work to dig in for fun.

  1. Surge said...:

    Would not read, too depressing for my taste. But the popsicle looks yummy. I tend to avoid anything emotional.

  1. My mom just asked my wife if I had told her about the cancerous growth she just had removed from her shoulder. Hello? Didn't tell me about that one mom!

    Cancer blows.

  1. carma said...:

    This sounds like a tough one. Great review though.

  1. ♥georgie♥ said...:

    I will have to check out this book...enjoyed your review

    Stopping by with a SSS update:
    we sent out the first round of q&a's if you did not receive an email from us please click the link below and follow the instructions
    Thanks and we are so excited you are joing the SSS
    http://georgienba.blogspot.com/2009/10/secret-santa-soiree-official-411.html

  1. Nat said...:

    I HATE Cancer, too!

  1. Yaya said...:

    Sounds too depressing for me.

  1. Blasé said...:

    Sounds like you know your 'Books'!

    Peace and Love

  1. Yaya said...:

    Thanks for wishing my little cousin a happy birthday!

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