Things I've Learned from Dying: A Book About Life
4.11/5 by 582 users

Things I've Learned from Dying: A Book About Life


"Every life is different, but every death is the same. We live with others. We die alone."

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 cliché 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.

Title:Things I've Learned from Dying: A Book About Life
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:288 pages

    Things I've Learned from Dying: A Book About Life Reviews

  • Gail
    Mar 12, 2014

    This book was selected by my book group for an April 16th discussion. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, but felt obligated. About 40 pages in, I realized this wasn't going to be what I had expected -...

  • Joette Rockow
    Aug 12, 2014

    Author David Dow is a death penalty lawyer in Texas. He is also just a guy with a family and a job. But he writes about and intertwines his experiences with people (and pets, if you can imagine me rea...

  • Ruth Charchian
    Jan 22, 2014

    Life teaches all of us many important lessons if we are paying attention. Sometimes we have to make mistakes in order to learn our lessons. Dow shows us through the deaths of his dog, his father-in-la...

  • John Doyle
    Jan 17, 2015

    Dow is a death penalty lawyer who writes about the final months and then roughly contemporaneous deaths of his father-in-law, a reformed client, and the family dog. Each story is poignant and instruct...

  • Patrice Sartor
    Jan 26, 2016

    This book is closer to 4-4.5 stars, but since I cried more than once while reading it, I'm bumping it to 5 stars for giving me the feels.David Dow is a Texas death penalty lawyer, so he's seen his sha...

  • Dina
    Feb 11, 2014

    I found David Dow’s book “Things I’ve Learned From Dying” to be a powerful, moving, a book that renews ones faith in humanity.The book deals with complex social and moral issues in a direct un...

  • David
    Jan 25, 2014

    I don’t know if it’s because I was overprotected as a child or just very fortunate, but I’ve never had much exposure to the dead. The downside (if you could call it that) to such good fortune is...

  • Sharon Mcalister
    Feb 15, 2014

    Having read David R. Dow's Book, "The Autobiography of an Execution", I couldn't wait to read "Things I've Learned from Dying". I was not disappointed. Mr. Dow is an attorney who represents death row ...

  • Michael Pearl
    Jan 28, 2014

    Mr. Dow, with all of the humility, optimism, and wisdom that one can muster from a career as a lawyer who runs a death penalty clinic in Texas, has delivered a powerful and haunting memoir. Most of Mr...

  • Natalie
    Jan 27, 2014

    Outstanding! I was immediately engaged with the author and the main characters in this memoir / meditation, as much as I am when reading a wonderful novel. Much of his prose has almost a lyrical quali...