Welcome back to the Fake Smile’s Virtual Book Club! August’s book of the month will be “The Death Class: A True Story About Life” written by the award winning journalist Erika Hayasaki. Look for a blog post again at the end of the month discussing the book!

What is this book about?

The author of this book, Erika Hayasaki follows Nurse Norma Bowe for over four years as she teaches a popular course on death at a college in New Jersey. This course has a three-year waiting list- it’s that good! But this course is more than just teaching about death. It teaches how to appreciate life.

Entertainment Weekly wrote: “Readers will come away struck by Bowe’s compassion-and by the unexpectedly life-affirming messages of courage that spring from her students’ harrowing experiences.”

SYNOPSIS: “When Norma Bowe decided to teach a course on death she never expected it to be popular. But year after year students crowd into her classroom, and the reason is clear: Norma’s ‘death class’ is really about how to make the most of what poet Mary Oliver famously called our ‘one wild and precious life’.”

“Under the guise of discussions about last wills and last breaths and visits to crematoriums, Norma teaches her students to find grace in one another. Erika Hayasaki shows how Norma steers four extraordinary students from their tormented families and neighborhoods towards happiness. Norma helps kids who are barely hanging on to understand not only the value of their own lives, but also the secret of fulfillment: to throw yourself into helping others.”

About Dr. Norma Bowe and Erika Hayasaki:

Dr. Norma Bowe has undergraduate degrees in Nursing and Community Health, a Master’s degree in Health Administration, and a Ph.D. in Community Health Policy. Along with her nursing abilities she is a Professor at Kean University and created/taught the curriculum for “Death in Perspective.” Norma Bowe is also the author of Perspectives in Community Health and has authored/co-authored text book chapters in health education. According to HuffPost, “Six years ago she started a community service and activist group called “Be the Change” fashioned after Gandhi’s famous quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. She has organized community services projects across the country; addressing issues of social justice, food justice and human rights.”

Erika Hayasaki, the author of this book, is an associate professor in the Literary Journalism Program at the University of California. She writes for many different magazines, such as, Wired, Newsweek, and Glamour. Erika also formerly wrote for the Los Angeles Times where she was a New York based national correspondent. Erika also has other published works on Kindle.


*Information above taken from HuffPost and Kindle App “About the Book”.