In this excellent memoir, Margaret Forster has succeeded in writing about death and dying without the usual cliches or overwrought sentiments. She tells two stories of people she loves: her fifty-six year old sister-in-law dying of cancer and her ninety-six year-old father dying of old age. Told with honesty and humor, we can admire her father's tenacity and determination to maintain his identity without having to believe that he has suddenly acquired great wisdom. We can also grieve for the younger person as she endures her cancer treatments without being asked to see her as a soldier losing a battle. Ms Forster is equally forthright in describing her own conflicted feelings of loving compassion mixed with the desire to see the end of her loved ones suffering as they struggle through the last days of their precious lives. The reader will find no angels or great epiphanies in this absorbing book but just might find it all the more inspiring for its unsentimental look at the human spirit.