- ISBN-13: 9781401322571
- ISBN-10: 1401322573
- Publisher: Hyperion Books
- Publish Date: December 2007
- Page Count: 61
- Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
- Dimensions: 7.42 x 5.5 x 0.55 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.42 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 55.
- Review Date: 2007-11-05
- Reviewer: Staff
On their 18th wedding anniversary, in 2003, Richard Carlson (author of the bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff) presented his wife, Kristine, with a short manuscript called “An Hour to Live.” He imagines he has an hour to live and poses questions originally asked by spiritual guide and author Stephen Levine: whom would you call? what would you say? and why are you waiting? Uncannily, the text foreshadowed Carlson's death three years later, at age 45, of a pulmonary embolism. Though he had no chance to make that last phone call, his wife (and the reader) already knows his feelings for her and their children. We also know what was important to him, which boils down to the old chestnut: no one, on their deathbed, ever wishes they'd spent more time at the office. Included in the book is Kristine's tribute to Richard, called “An Hour to Love.” Both pieces (only 50 pages and padded with “Richard's favorite poem” and blank pages for the reader's own answer to the key question) are heartfelt—and oddly unengaging. They tell the reader how wonderful the Carlsons' marriage was, but don't show why. We are left with a lovely ideal—too ideal for readers to relate to. (Jan. 15)
A moving tribute to Richard Carlson
Until his untimely death at age 45 from a pulmonary embolism in December of 2006, Richard Carlson lived his life according to the motivational yet down-to-earth wisdom he penned in the best-selling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. While dealing with her grief, Richard's wife, Kristine, read through 25 years' worth of their love letters. One in particular, a letter Richard gave her on their 18th wedding anniversary, stood out and became the basis for this passionate account, An Hour to Live, an Hour to Love: The True Story of the Best Gift Ever Given.
Eerily written only three years before his death, Richard's letter centers on his favorite quotation by author Stephen Levine: "If you had an hour to live and could make just one phone call, who would it be to, what would you say . . . and why are you waiting?" Looking back on his life, Richard reaffirms dismissing all of the day-to-day "stuff" and concentrating on the moments with the people you love. He describes how he would live his life over, listening more, loving more and not being in a hurry. Richard concludes by suggesting that we should all find what makes us happy and question whether it is worth talking about in the last hour of life.
Following her husband's letter is Kristine's equally moving response, which serves as a tribute to Richard's life and work and their marriage. It is also a call to readers to develop and nurture relationships and leave the world complete, just as Richard strived to do. Followers of Richard's books will learn more about this extraordinary man, and will continue to be inspired by his love for life. Those suffering from the loss of a spouse or partner will find comfort in Kristine's grief process.