I knew this book was going to be a difficult read when I picked it up. The surprising thing was that I picked it up at the small local library. Makes me wonder if they knew who Hitch was before adding it to their shelves. Maybe they did and that would seriously elevate them in my opinion.
The title, “Mortality”, pretty much tells you what the book is about. And given that it is written by Hitchens will tell anyone who knows anything about him that he handled this as he handled everything else he wrote or spoke about. With brutal honesty.
Through the short book, Hitchens takes us on the journey that was to be the rest of his life, the tests, the radiation, the sickness, the effects and tolls it takes on his body. Christopher Hitchens was diagnose with Esophageal cancer in 2010. To one of the most erudite speakers of modern times, I can’t imagine a worse place he could have been inflicted.
The book is hearbreaking in its honesty, as Hitchen’s not only recounts ancedotes from office visits, the treatements, the doctors, caregivers. He also shares the vileness that people can reach even when a person is down by sharing some of the hate mail he received, the betrayals of people baiting his misfortune to fuel their agenda, i.e. ending an interview with comments about just rewards from God,
Though I am not surprised, I am grateful to Hitchens for writing such a painfully honest book about dying, about the fraility of the human body and the very human scream that “I wasn’t finished yet!”
We lost a wordsmith of the highest degree when we lost Hitchens and a debater that knew few, if any rivals. And we lost a man who cared very deeply about his fellow human beings, his world and leaving it a better place than when he entered.
We haven’t heard the last from him though. He left many writings that haven’t been published. And his wife’s afterward tells you that she will begin to work on giving us all he wanted to share with the world.
Mortality is a brilliant book that will inflame you, touch you, bring a tear to your eye and a fire in your heart. Whether you believe, or don’t believe, as Christoper did, and even more if you do not, it will give you a glimpse into the true humanity of the man many know simply as “Hitch.”