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Extended Audio Sample Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Tale of Life and Death, by Zoe FitzGerald Carter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (214 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Zoe FitzGerald Carter Narrator: Karen White Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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After twenty years of living with a terminal illness, Zoe FitzGerald Carter’s mother decided to end her life—and asked her three daughters for their assistance. For months, the decision dragged on as her mother changed her methods and schedule, and the negotiations stirred up old memories, sibling rivalries, and questions about family loyalty. Eventually, there was compromise and courage, and Zoe’s mother had her happy—if imperfect—ending.

Zoe and her sisters struggled to accept the imminent death of their mother, circling around the same questions: Who will help her? Will they go to jail? Can they bear to let her die alone? With a doctor prescribing lethal doses of sleep medication, a visit from a member of the Hemlock Society’s “Final Exit Network,” and the temptations of overdosing on morphine, the issues and people in Imperfect Endings are at the center of the debate on assisted suicide.

With echoes of bestselling grief memoirs like Elegy for Iris and The Year of Magical Thinking, Carter’s memoir is the unforgettable story of a family learning to love and to let go.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Carter tackles a depressing subject with dark humor and heart.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Eileen | 2/19/2014

    " Powerful read about choosing to end one's life when the struggle to live is too hard. A compelling read if you have elderly parents. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Carla Ford | 2/18/2014

    " All family dynamics are different, and outsiders can never truly understand the workings of anyone else's family. Zoe certainly had a lot to deal with here, and I can only hope that I would be able to handle the same situation with the same grace and patience. There were several times, as I read her story, that I would like to have had a little talk with her mother and tell her to stop and give her children a little consideration and respect. But, that's why I tried to keep in mind that the inner workings of every family are unique to that family. Having said all that, I thought this book addressed a very sensitive subject in a wonderfully open and direct manner, and certainly did cause me to assess some of my own feelings about how I would like to die if my circumstances were similar. I never really understood the need for "assisted suicide", wondering why any help would be needed, so there were some eye openers for me in the book. Overall, I am glad that I read the book, and I don't think that I will forget it if there comes a time when I am faced with possibly making the same hard decision for myself, or supporting a loved one if that need arose for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Allyson Langston | 1/15/2014

    " Chose this book because it was recommended in People magazine as a good read--it is verra, verra depressing. I guess I should have known that going into it--it's about a daughter's journey as she helps her mother through death. The mother is rapidly descending into Parkinsons and decides she is going to end life on her own terms, with her daughters at her side. It's a really long process. There are a few bright moments, but this should not have been a part of my summer reading list--more like a dark, January weekend read. If you want light fluff, stay far, far away from Imperfect Endings! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by TJ | 1/15/2014

    " Very good reflection on the choice to die. And how are dying reflects our living. Highly recommend "

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About the Author

Zoe FitzGerald Carter is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and has written for numerous publications, including New York magazine, the New York Observer, Premiere, and various national magazines. Her first memoir, Imperfect Endings, won first place in the 2008 Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association’s literary contest and was a finalist at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. Carter lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters.