On My Own by Diane Rehm [in Library Journal]
Beloved NPR host Diane Rehm’s latest memoir begins with her husband John’s end – depleted by Parkinson’s disease, unable to “stand walk, eat, bathe, or in any way care for himself on his own, he was now ready to die.”
After 54 years of marriage – joyful, combative, celebratory –Rehm agonizes as he finally succumbs after refusing all water and nourishment for weeks and ponders her life ahead alone. Her experience as witness spurs her to fight for right-to-die legislation, even as she is admonished by her employers for her advocacy.
Rehm shares her journey with the same intimacy that has defined her popular show for decades; she poignantly reveals both hopes and fears for who she will be once she retires.
Hearing Rehm voice her story is undoubtedly expected, but without the commingling with lively guests, even die-hard groupies might find Rehm alone challenging – her post-1998 signature drawn-out syllables caused by a neurological voice disorder could push select readers to the page. To determined listeners, increasing play-speed loses none of Rehm’s cadence, rhythm, heart; the familiar rewards are well-worth going aural.
Readers: modified from “Audio,” Library Journal, May 15, 2016