On My Own (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

"NPR host Diane Rehm’s memoir  On My Own bravely deals with the difficulties she faced once her husband of fifty four years died in 2013. Rehm resists white washing their often challenging marriage while surveying what connected them--their children and times cooking, gardening and walking. Their wrenching decision to place John in an assisted living facility once his Parkinson’s disease made home care too challenging and then their shared frustration that John could not choose his manner and timing of his death have ironically given Rehm a new focus once she retires. Once John is gone, Rehm must make sense of her old life and construct a new one.  She does this by talking with dear friends who share how they negotiate widowhood and  by remaining committed to the familiar and comforting routine of work. Her writing is most intimate and inspiring when she reveals her own guilt, loneliness and sadness. The reader joins Rehm as she grieves but also witnesses Rehm’s imagining a new and different existence."

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— Lisa - Guest Reviewer


In an eloquent, deeply personal and moving book, beloved NPR radio host Diane Rehm speaks about the death of her husband of fifty-four years—and of her struggle to reconstruct her life without him.

John Rehm was 74 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Nine years later, he passed away, having made the difficult choice to end his extended illness by refusing to eat, drink, or accept medication. This process transformed Diane into an advocate for increased conversation end-of-life care and the right to die on one’s own terms, as well as a brave and sympathetic voice for anyone who must learn how to live again after bereavement.

About the Author

Diane Rehm hosted The Diane Rehm Show on WAMU 88.5 FM in Washington, D.C.—distributed by NPR—from 1979 to 2016, when it had a weekly listening audience of two and a half million. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise For…

“Clear, moving and completely honest. . . . Diane Rehm has again found her voice, and, as she has always done, she speaks passionately and courageously about issues that concern us all.” —The Washington Post

“Rehm doesn’t have all the answers, nor does she pretend to. What she does have, as always, is a flurry of important questions, perfectly considered and potently posed.” —USA Today
“Poignant.”—The Miami Herald
“A plainspoken . . . passionate account . . . of [Rehm’s] journey through the first year of widowhood…. Eschewing self-help clichés … Rehm offers a meticulous narrative of her personal struggle to come to terms with a profound loss.” —BookPage

“Will invite comparisons to Joan Didion’s own memoir of loss, The Year of Magical Thinking. —The Guardian (London)
“[A] clearheaded yet emotional call for national right-to-die laws.” —The Washington City Paper
“Rehm writes eloquently about the changing landscape of grief, not only her own sorrow but that of friends.” —The Kansas City Star
“Brave and uplifting.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Walks readers through the most recent year of [Rehm’s] life, struggling with living alone and figuring out a new identity.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

Product Details
ISBN: 9781101973646
ISBN-10: 1101973641
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Pages: 176
Language: English