By: Derek Humphry
Cleanliness (See “About” for scale): Slightly Tainted (1+ curse words. Other content to consider: assisted suicide, divorce, war, drugs, drinking, murder, cancer, non-descriptive sex, religion, and death.)
I went into Good Life, Good Death expecting a book about the right to die movement. It is not a book explaining that movement, nor is it supposed to be. I figured that out by about mid-way through. This book is a memoir about Derek Humphry (a right to die activist and founder of the Hemlock Society) and his horrible, no good, very bad life.
I really enjoyed all the stories from the author’s life. He had a rough one, but that made the book very interesting. He surprisingly has a really good outlook on life for all that he has been through.
Assisted suicide is an extremely hard topic. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I believe it is good to read about ideas different from your own. Although this book’s focus is not on assisted suicide (or the right to die movement) exactly, it does talk a bit about it by the end. I think it was dealt with nicely for the most part. One comparison I disliked strongly was when he compared putting down animals to human euthanasia. That seemed like neither an accurate comparison nor an appropriate one.
One thing that actually upset me about Good Life, Good Death was this quote: “‘Never reveal I did this,’ instructed Dr. Joe.” So wait… he says never reveal this, the author agrees, and then he publishes it in a book for the world to see with his name on it? Hopefully I just didn’t understand that section correctly.
If you like memoirs, you will like this book. If you want to learn some about the foundation of the Hemlock Society, you will like this book. If you want to learn about the right to die movement, you should probably try a different book.