"""In his riveting, artfully written memoir "The Autobiography of an Execution," David Dow enraptured readers with a searing and frank exploration of his work defending inmates on death row. Read more...
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"""In his riveting, artfully written memoir "The Autobiography of an Execution," David Dow enraptured readers with a searing and frank exploration of his work defending inmates on death row. But when Dow's father-in-law receives his own death sentence in the form of terminal cancer, and his gentle dog Winona suffers acute liver failure, the author is forced to reconcile with death in a far more personal way, both as a son and as a father.
Told through the disparate lenses of the legal battles he's spent a career fighting, and the intimate confrontations with death each family faces at home, THINGS I'VE LEARNED FROM DYING offers a poignant and lyrical account of how illness and loss can ravage a family. Full of grace and intelligence, Dow offers readers hope without cliche and reaffirms our basic human needs for acceptance and love by giving voice to the anguish we all face--as parents, as children, as partners, as friends--when our loved ones die tragically, and far too soon."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-11-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Lawyer Dow (Autobiography of an Execution) eloquently draws us into this gracefully told memoir about his angry and painful struggles to sort out the lessons that death teaches us about living. During the time that Dow is preparing appeals for Waterman, a death row inmate, his father-in-law is diagnosed with cancer, and his family’s beloved dog is found to have an inoperable and ultimately fatal liver tumor. An engaging storyteller, Dow weaves elegantly each person’s story into a colorful and emotionally wrenching narrative that covers his fiercely honest struggle to make sense of life and death. Early on, his father-in-law reflects on the career of his cancer: “The problem is the emotional change the physical pain has caused, and it is too late to do anything about that change.” After an especially trying day working on the Waterman case, Dow expresses his frustrations with the system: “People who think bogus legal proceedings happen only in places like Iran or China apparently have not been to Texas… Anybody who tells you the criminal justice system is an even playing field has no idea what she’s talking about.” Dow’s moving tale leaves us with a tough questions: “Which is better: to be able to circle the date on a calendar five years from today when your life will end? Or to get flattened by a truck crossing the street and never see it coming?” Agent, Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Jan.)