SOCIAL SCIENCES

On My Own

Knopf. Feb. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9781101875285. $23.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101875292. MEMOIR
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Veteran public radio personality and interviewer Rehm (Finding My Voice) presents the next installment in her story in this candid account of the last years of marriage to her husband of over 50 years, John. Rehm writes of John's life, his struggle with declining abilities owing to Parkinson's disease, and her reactions to those life-altering circumstances. Her distinctive radio persona may be detected in each episode she recounts, including those dealing with her own ambivalence about John's move to a care facility and her desire to keep working throughout the years of his decline. More pointedly, however, Rehm takes aim at the unsettled state of U.S. right-to-die legislation and policies, a situation that forced a heartbreaking and brutal decision by John. Anecdotes about other popular news figures who have been widowed, and Rehm's ruminations on her retirement plans as well as her own mortality are presented in the same conversational tone familiar to listeners of her long-running show.
VERDICT Rehm doesn't gloss over the emotional complexities and difficulties of a long-term marriage, nor does she shy away from making her opinions about the inconsistencies in right-to-die legislation known (despite the apparent objections of her employers). Her views on the controversial topic, delivered with her hard-earned observations about its ramifications, distinguish this account from other memoirs of widowhood.

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