Book Description

From Booklist *Starred Review* Year after year, Norma Bowe faces a waiting list of students wanting to get into her death class at a college in New Jersey. Beyond the probing about last wills and good-bye letters and class trips to mortuaries and cemeteries is the underlying truth that a good, long stare at death can trigger a deeper appreciation of life. Damaged herself by a tormented childhood, Bowe attracts others who are damaged and consciously and unconsciously looking for answers. Award-winning journalist Hayasaki spent four years following Bowe and her class and details the journey of a young woman?s vigil against her mother?s suicide attempts, a young man?s effort to save his schizophrenic brother, and a former gangbanger?s effort to leave behind his violent past. Along the way, she explores her own adolescent trauma when a close friend was killed. Following Erik Erikson?s teachings on the stages of life, the class works through assignments that require them to write a bucket list, a letter to their younger selves, and their own eulogies as they ponder life lessons and consider the reluctance to confront death. Hayasaki offers a completely engaging look at death and the meaning of life. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more Review ?Who would want to take a class on death? Everyone, it turns out. Dr. Norma Bowe, the most popular professor on campus and instructor of ?Death in Perspective? at Kean University is an unsung hero of our day. Erika Hayasaki takes us on an unforgettable journey with Dr. Bowe and the many people in her orbit touched by her wisdom and compassion. Erika?s book is the last lesson you?d ever need on life.? (Ruth Davis Konigsberg, author of The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stages and the New Science of Loss)?The Death Class is at once puncturing and redemptive, sharing humanity?s most painful, violent face while at the same time revealing a fierce optimism and stunning generosity. It is more than a glimpse of a remarkable educational experiment. It shares the story of an extraordinary teacher whose very life is the class while weaving together the lives of students who struggle with complex, tormenting problems and find grace in each other. Its stories have lodged in me and will not soon let me go.? (Erica Brown, author of Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death)?This is a beautiful book about courage?the courage to turn and face your own life and death, and the courage to make a difference in the lives of others. The Death Class points to a way of living fully, gratefully, and meaningfully every day.? (Elizabeth Lesser, author of Broken Open and cofounder of the Omega Institute) Read more See all Editorial Reviews