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Here, the authors, communication experts who have experienced the pain and fulfillment of having final conversations, combine the stories of 80 contributors with their own advice on the subject. A final conversation, as they define it, is any interaction that takes place with the full knowledge that one party in the conversation is dying. The authors focus on this time as a gift—an opportunity to say good-bye, express love, share memories, and resolve problems that may have existed for years. Good, straightforward advice is balanced well with the touching experiences shared by the contributors. In an especially important passage, the authors acknowledge that the living and the dying may have very different needs. They explain how both parties can nevertheless have a fulfilling experience—whether it be through closure, love, or even by setting a new course in life. The directness is refreshing, especially in the emphasis on the strong relationship a final conversation both represents and creates. Recommended for all public libraries.
—Mary E. Jones