Book Review:
Until I Say Good-Bye

If you’d like to read a book that is both inspiring and down-to-earth, Until I Say Good-Bye fits that description. Written by Susan Spencer-Wendel (with Bret Witter), this book is subtitled My Year of Living with Joy and it chronicles her last year of relatively good health.

Spencer-Wendel worked as a successful court reporter for years and at home she and her husband were raising three children. Then, in June 2011 at the age of 44 she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Following her diagnosis, she decided to take seven trips with important people in her life to places ranging from the Yukon to Cyprus.

She journeyed with her best friend Nancy to the Yukon to see the northern lights and she travelled to Cyprus, the birthplace of some of her ancestors, with her husband John. In addition to sharing fascinating stories about the seven trips, Spencer-Wendel provides context by documenting other adventures in her life, such as when she and John lived in Budapest for two years in the 1990s.

Her candor and determination are inspirational and may lead you to think about what it is that you want to try to make happen during the rest of your life. A quote by Dr. Seuss at the end of the book seems to sum up Spencer-Wendel’s attitude: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened."

See more features from the January 2014 issue