Customer Reviews for

Death Be Not Proud

Average Rating 4.5
( 69 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

What conquers Death?

Death Be Not Proud resonates with me on many different levels. Without going into personal matters, as a teenager, this book quickly became my favorite. It's the personal recount of a father, John Gunther, struggling with his terminally ill son, Johnny, inflicted with a...
Death Be Not Proud resonates with me on many different levels. Without going into personal matters, as a teenager, this book quickly became my favorite. It's the personal recount of a father, John Gunther, struggling with his terminally ill son, Johnny, inflicted with a brain tumor. It's about the unstoppable nature parents posses to save their child, regardless of how silly or inconceivable the strategy might seem. Diets to starve the tumor. Gas to shrink it. It's about searching for answers that no one has. Through this entire ordeal, Johnny, has an unwavering passion for life. While his body suffers the effects of the procedures and the tumor, his mind does not. That is something special I keep referring back to. For Johnny, with an IQ off the charts, letters to Albert Einstein at 16 or 17 years old, and taking on course loads that had never been entertained at his school, his mind was one of his greatest gifts.

As his father points out, it's ironic that the best feature of Johnny was the one that was being attacked. Of course, identifying something as best is all relative. I would suggest his heart was his best feature. I applaud Gunther for writing this tribute to Johnny. With this book, Johnny's memory can now last in the minds of millions, not just the few that had the privilege to actually know this special young man.

posted by Social_Heel on April 17, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Inspring Struggle to Live

Reading Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther reminded me of the hints of pain I saw my sister go through while her best friend fought against cancer. However, reading this book did not make me feel very emotional at all. Sure, there were points in the book when I felt tou...
Reading Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther reminded me of the hints of pain I saw my sister go through while her best friend fought against cancer. However, reading this book did not make me feel very emotional at all. Sure, there were points in the book when I felt touched by Johnny Gunther's tough pride and perseverance, but his father writes in a very dry style that doesn't convey much drama or emotion. Too often he does not go into much detail and he does not delve into his pain or his ex-wife's pain and instead focuses on the events. It may have been hard to remember his own struggle, but I was hoping for more of a father's memoir of his pain as he watched his son, instead of a chronicled book of events, very much like a history textbook.
However, the inspiring, brilliant story of Johnny Gunther's fight made me think about life. I wondered about fate and destiny and if I have any control over that. Johnny did not know of his terminal condition, and he continued to believe he would return to his normal life after the cancer was eradicated. His love for academics, especially chemistry and physics, was wondrous to read about. His capacity for knowledge, even when his brain was under such stress and dealing with a very large tumor, was amazing. He continued to learn, expand his knowledge, and conduct many laboratory experiments even in the hospital. Johnny's high school graduation was probably the highlight of the memoir. His heroic battle just to walk down the aisle of the church was exciting to imagine.
The novel was a drag to read sometimes because of the bland wording which pushed the reader away from the time of Johnny's illness. However, I would recommend this memoir to anyone, especially children who need to be exposed to some of the darker sides of life. Johnny's inspiring fight will give anyone the courage and will to live.

posted by 4960487 on October 19, 2010

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    New Perspectives

    When you think about death, what comes to mind? Death drags along so many images and feelings; it's difficult to pin on just one. Some people think of sadness, tears, heart-break, and grief- lots of grief. This is definitely not the case for Johnny Gunther in Death Be Not Proud. Before I was even half way through the book, the resilience of young Johnny already amazed me. When vulnerably exposed to the face of death, he somehow manages to keep a positive perspective on life. "Almost always when I called him early in the morning to ask how he was feeling, he would answer, no matter how feeble his voice was, 'Simply marvelous!'" (39). This book is meant for anyone- young, old or somewhere in between- who could use a bit of hope in their lives because Gunther portrays that element very well throughout his story. He expands on the tiniest details and re-lives those glorious moments for readers, "What a blessed day it was when, with great shouts of glee, Johnny was allowed a real shampoo!" (81). Why on earth would anyone get excited about using this every-day toiletry? Johnny knew the answer to that question which displays to audiences his full grasp on life and longing to enjoy every aspect of it. Occasionally, parts seemed dull and maybe even repetitive. The common scene of doctor, after doctor, after doctor is recurrent but I cannot argue with that fact mostly because much of Johnny's final months were doing just that! Some might argue that Gunther's closeness to this case might fog the view on his son's death. But I am convinced that his close proximity to each event taken place made it possible to produce such a well-descripted, emotion-packed piece of work. I highly recommend this memoir to anyone looking for a new perspective on life or just wants a touching read.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    What conquers Death?

    Death Be Not Proud resonates with me on many different levels. Without going into personal matters, as a teenager, this book quickly became my favorite. It's the personal recount of a father, John Gunther, struggling with his terminally ill son, Johnny, inflicted with a brain tumor. It's about the unstoppable nature parents posses to save their child, regardless of how silly or inconceivable the strategy might seem. Diets to starve the tumor. Gas to shrink it. It's about searching for answers that no one has. Through this entire ordeal, Johnny, has an unwavering passion for life. While his body suffers the effects of the procedures and the tumor, his mind does not. That is something special I keep referring back to. For Johnny, with an IQ off the charts, letters to Albert Einstein at 16 or 17 years old, and taking on course loads that had never been entertained at his school, his mind was one of his greatest gifts.

    As his father points out, it's ironic that the best feature of Johnny was the one that was being attacked. Of course, identifying something as best is all relative. I would suggest his heart was his best feature. I applaud Gunther for writing this tribute to Johnny. With this book, Johnny's memory can now last in the minds of millions, not just the few that had the privilege to actually know this special young man.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2003

    A sad but meaningful book

    The book Death Be Not Proud was a very interesting book about the life of Johnny told by his dad. Johnny's dad (John) was a emotional writer and I think that is what made this book so interesting. The way that John talks about his son and the things he went through show just how much love he has for him. Johnny was such a brave 17 year old boy that was also very smart. He lived longer than anyone would have expected because of his desire to know more about everything in life. I enjoyed reading this book because it gave me a desire to get more out of my life and spend more time learning new things.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2000

    Best English class ever, Mr. Good 6th hour

    Man, My teacher Mr. Good wanted me to read this book for Sr. English and I was like are you crazy. I didn't read it at all but I still passed the class, hahaha.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2000

    This book is great!!!!!!!

    I loved this book. I felt the pain of the family and friends included in Jhonny's life. This is one of the best books ever written. I highly reccomend this book for mature teens.

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