on 3 March 2014
Hmm. Honestly I had to force myself to finish this book. I'm afraid that it's long and poorly written, all tell and no show, and very repetitive. The author has clearly led a very a troubled life, from drug problems in her youth to depression and several suicide attempts (or at least plans). I'm happy for her that she seems finally to have found her own form of peace and happiness, and in a way I think the book is a kind of therapy for her. She has also had rare insight into the regrets of the dying, having worked in palliative care with many "dear" men and women.
The top five regrets of the dying are incredibly important lessons and we would all do well listening to them before it's too late:
(1) I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
(2) I wish I didn’t work so hard.
(3) I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
(4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
(5) I wish I’d let myself be happier.
Read them, think about what they mean, and try to live your life to avoid such regrets. But beyond that, I wouldn't recommend that you read this book..
on 20 March 2012
Like many others, I at one point stumbled over the article "Top five regrets of the dying" on the internet, published by The Guardian. When I later learned that Ware had written a full-length book with the same title, I found the premise appealing: It seemed probable that dying people may have enough interesting thoughts to share that they may fill a small book. Thus, when the book arrived in my mailbox, I was full of positive expectations. I ended up rather dissatisfied with the book, however. I found the book frustrating on three main accounts:
1. The book is to a large degree not very much about the regrets of the dying, rather it is about the author herself.
2. The language of the book is simplistic and fails to draw you in.
3. Ware is apparently rather into spirituality and meditation, and coats her accounts with pseudo-religious references, which gets very tiring when you really just want to hear about the regrets of the dying and not about Bronnie Ware's having improved her life by becoming a vegan, doing yoga and meditating.
On a more positive note, there are actual accounts of dying people reflecting on their lives and what they might have done better. These passages are interesting. However, they take up less than 25% of the book, with the remainder being about Ware describing her life, her hardships, and her attempts to apply the wisdom imparted by the dying. Towards the end of the book, the book entirely ceases to be about regrets of the dying and instead turns into an account of Ware's battle with depression. While I understand that Ware has shared much of her very personal life in this book, presumably with the intention of helping other people to avoid hurt, ultimately I didn't find it very interesting to read about Bronnie Ware, and I would much rather have read a book about the regrets of the dying.
In short, this book is not what one would naturally expect from its title, and I personally did not find the contents of the book very worthwhile.
on 21 October 2012
This should be a book about some incredible honest admissions of dying people but is in fact entirely about the author, one of the most self centred, delusional and egotistical characters you are ever likely to hear about. This is the books flaw, and also it's genius.
The author's lack of self -awareness and humility at times leave you needing to remind yourself that she is even a real person. In fact, if she were a work of fiction you would probably stop reading as the character is clearly too unrealistic for even the most open mind to imagine.
At first I just presumed her delusions of grandeur only stretched so far as to make her believe she was a modern day mix of Mother Theresa and Mary Poppins. As I read on it became clear that Bronnie's delusions go much further than this to the point where I truly believe she considers herself to be the second coming of Jesus Christ himself.
Anyone who has read the book will know where I am coming from with this as every page is littered with her self promoting tales. There are so many I would love to share but due to space I will just give special mention to Bronnie's own self declared `miracles'.
In one she shares a smile with a dying man which somehow expressed such a pure form of joy that a nearby priest slammed shut his bible, announced that he now knows what god's love looks like, then hugged the author, like a `frightened child' and said, through his tears, "my life will never be the same".
You may think I have exaggerated this, but if anything I have underplayed it.
The other miracle, I think my favourite, is when the author, who let's not forget is a palliative nurse who has worked with terminally ill patients for six years, reveals that she overcame her own death sentence after being given a year to live.
How? You ask. Was it alternative medicine? A new breakthrough cure? A misdiagnosis perhaps? No, the author reveals that one afternoon she meditated with such an incredible intensity that she managed to vomit up her terminal illness! After a quick nap she awoke completely cured but decided not to share the story with her patients as they would not able to replicate what she had done and she didn't want to give them false hope. She's Absoultely Mental.
Although some of these extraordinary examples of self delusion are side splittingly funny I do feel compassion for the author. (Feeling compassion for people is one of Bronnie's top pastimes)
Despite her constant insistence on her happiness there is an underlying current of bitterness, loneliness and unhappiness throughout. This is illustrated by a number of underhand attacks on family members, fellow care professionals and others she feels have wronged her in the past.
There is no doubt the author in this book has been blessed by some of the insights she has been given by the dying. I am grateful she has shared them with us and the first time I read her blog post the regrets really struck a chord with me. It was a great piece that deserved the attention.
The book however is truly awful, but so bad you really should read it. I wish I could have explained some more of my favourite bits here because there honestly are dozens every chapter, but there simply isn't the room.
I encourage you to buy it and read it, read it ALL! You will want to stop but your persistence will be rewarded because the final three page conclusion is nothing short of comic genius, featuring possibly the worst analogy ever put to print.
I have given this book one star as it does nothing to expand or enhance the blog it originates from, in fact it possibly damages it.
In so, so, so many ways though, this book is a five star read and one I heartily recommend. Don't let it be one of your regrets.
on 26 November 2012
I forced myself through almost half of this book. I went for two, rather than one, star because I have occasionally read worse. In fact this book is more about the author and HER beliefs than the regrets or lessons from those she was paid to care for. It is dull and self serving but Bronnie, I am afraid I am not receiving your message.
This book is so self indulgent, it beggars belief. Having lost my dad and a good friend this year, I've been re-evaluating my life somewhat and thought this would be a big help in deciding how my life should be lived. I was wrong. This gave me very few insights, rather it read more like the story of the authors life, with a little bit of the regrets of the dying woven in. Not what I was expecting, not what I wished for, a huge disappointment. I'll stick to figuring it out by myself thank you!
I have a regret and it's reading this self-indulgent, over-hyped, self-loathing, wound licking narcissistic garbage. I have seen quite a few of my nearest and dearest departing this mortal coil, imparting before they go gems of wisdom, love and the odd regret, and was hoping that Ms Ware might have captured similar experiences and captured them in print.
This is not the case, the books focus becomes a vehicle for Ware herself with the dying playing second fiddle to her quest for creating a self-help book. I'm not against self-help books and when a writer has a focus other than filling the pages with a me, me, me narrative then they can work.
This is exactly how Ware fails by forgetting her focus was the dying, not herself, she thereby misses the point of the book, tarnishing the dead contributors memory along the way. Narcissism of the highest order. Avoid.
on 19 August 2012
When i purchased this book, below the title was ' A life transformed by the dearly Departing'. This gave me a clue that this was going to be a memoir type book looking at Bronnie's lessons from the work that she did caring from the dying and i was not disappointed. Many reviewers feel that there is too much of Bronnie - but isn't this was this book was going to be about? She talks about the lessons she learnt from dying people to change her own life and i think the message she was trying to get to others was that life is to short, so stop and look at your life now and learn from the regrets that the dying had. I enjoyed this book and the easy style that Bronnie used. There was a small part that i did find irritating regarding her 'analogy with muck' which i felt went on a bit too long and found myself skipping over this part. As Bronnie says 'smile and know, thank and know'. Well worth a read.
on 26 November 2013
Aside from the fact that most of this book is about the author rather than truly about regrets of the dying, the bulk of what is conveyed is just painfully predictable. "I wish I hadn't worked so hard", "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends" etc. It really saddens me to picture someone on their deathbed, with nothing better to convey to a younger generation (via their final breaths) than a string of dreadful clichés.
The elderly and wheelchair-bound poet Sir John Betjeman was once asked if he had any regrets in life. "Yes," he replied, "I haven't had enough sex". That single sentence contains more profundity and insight than this entire book. Rather than waste your life reading such wallowing nonsense, just go out and get some while you still can.
This book is packed full of immensely thought-provoking moments the author has experienced - if at times a little far-fetched. I am very interested in the topics of self-healing, as well as an avid reader of books on personal reflection and life enhancement. Whilst I took some of the statements from Ware with a pinch of salt, making this book still eminently readable, it hasn't actually done anything beyond what was already on Ware's blog. Therefore I am now paying for something that was previously free, which is odd and counter-intuitive. Some of the writing appears to have gone slightly hyperbolic as a result of this. So whilst the words are interesting, they are not treading the ground the author has already previously gone over, in a different medium.
on 14 March 2013
I bought this book due to the positive publicity which the writer received on her article the top five regrets of the dying. I expected some open and honest accounts from people who faced death and encountered their regrets about the life they had led and their fears about the future. What I didn't expect to find was a long diatribe about the author, her belief systems and what led to her writing the book in the first place. A paragraph should have been sufficient. Sadly it was so interminably dull that I couldn't wade through the author's biography to get to the parts about the dying which was the point of buying the book in the first place. For anyone with an interest in this subject I would recommend What Dying People Want by David Kuhl which is a worthwhile and professionally written work. Sadly struggling to read this drivel by Bronnie Ware counts as one of my top regrets of the living.