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School Library Journal
If you're comfortable with your own mortality, you'll enjoy the reflections offered by Shields on life (his own and that of his 97-year-old father) and death. Award-winning author Shields (English, Univ. of Washington; Dead Languages) explores the human experience from infancy to death and beyond, briefly addressing the notion of human immortality. The anecdotes he shares about his own life are vivid, engaging, and, above all, honest. He admits, for example, that his father's determination to live fully (and forever) generates in him feelings of both love and hate. Interspersed with his own story are numerous startling facts about the human condition, e.g., that we will take approximately 850,000,000 breaths in a lifetime and that the brain of a 90-year-old is about the same size as that of a three-year-old. In addition, Shields offers dozens of memorable quotations from sources ranging from Sibelius and John Wayne to Bertrand Russell and Neil Young. Shields compels readers to examine the mysteries of life and death, but if thoughts of "the end" depress you, take solace in the knowledge that Shields's book also comes to an end. Recommended for public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ10/1/07.]
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