In The Midst of life is thought-provoking and readable, even at bedtime. My husband thought it very strange that I, normally so squeamish, kept the light on an extra ten minutes so I could finish reading about Mr Waters as he drowned in his own gurgling bubbling lungs !
Jennifer doesn't pull any punches with her graphic and factual descriptions of medical conditions and procedures. However, her writing is so engaging that the stories and characters always rise above the gruesome detail. She always elevates and celebrates the human. This makes the book very sad in places, for as much as she loves and cares for the people in the stories, she cannot prevent the distress and indignity that many of them suffer as they near the end.
The book makes us think about death as part of life and to accept it rather than fight it. I was slightly miffed when I got to the last few pages and read that Jennifer thinks that fear of death is caused by a lack of faith. I regard myself as an atheist. I don't think of death as a returning to God, but neither do I think of it as a mere decaying of flesh and bones. I think of death as part of the natural cycle of birth, death and regeneration.
This last paragraph is not a criticism, in fact it is the opposite. The fact That Jennifer promotes such thinking and discussion is a high commendation. I would also like to commend the beautiful poems of Philip Worth and David Hart, they add so much to the book and I read them again and again.