Things I've Learned from Dying

  • by David R. Dow
  • Narrated by David R. Dow
  • 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Every life is different, but every death is the same. We live with others. We die alone."
In his riveting, artfully written memoir The Autobiography of an Execution, David Dow enraptured readers with a searing and frank exploration of his work defending inmates on death row. But when Dow's father-in-law receives his own death sentence in the form of terminal cancer, and his gentle dog Winona suffers acute liver failure, the author is forced to reconcile with death in a far more personal way, both as a son and as a father.
Told through the disparate lenses of the legal battles he's spent a career fighting, and the intimate confrontations with death each family faces at home, Things I've Learned From Dyingoffers a poignant and lyrical account of how illness and loss can ravage a family. Full of grace and intelligence, Dow offers readers hope without cliché and reaffirms our basic human needs for acceptance and love by giving voice to the anguish we all face - as parents, as children, as partners, as friends - when our loved ones die tragically, and far too soon.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Engaging, entertaining, enlightening

What made the experience of listening to Things I've Learned from Dying the most enjoyable?

I liked the author's sincerity and candor, especially considering the difficult, personal nature of the subjects he covers. The book had a lively pace that kept us engaged. The listener also learns facts about the medical and the criminal justice systems.


What did you like best about this story?

There are three different stories that intertwine and interlock very skillfully, throughout the book. This kept it interesting. As you listen to one story you realize you are eager to know how the other story is going.


What about David R. Dow’s performance did you like?

Well what is not to like about having the author actually read his own book?


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

We did eagerly listen to this book during a 10 hour round trip drive; it was great company.


Any additional comments?

My husband and I listened to this together and really enjoyed it. Don't let the off-putting subject of death put you off listening to this. It is an engaging, enjoyable, worthwhile book.

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- Harriet S. Leveen "LTCQueen"

Ten Hours Too Short

From the first sentence I was engrossed. David Dow is a talented and compassionate author who can paint vivid pictures with his words. The listener/reader will learn about the unfairness within the US Justice System and may well have their blood boil as they learn that so many of the impoverished on Death Row who may well be innocent do not have a hope for retrial or clemency. You see nobody is listening and nobody cares.

There are a few, however. David Dow is one of them and as you read on you can feel the stress that both David and his team feel as they fight to the end to save people's lives.

But this book has several layers. Not only his work but his relationships with his family and his beloved family dog who he has cherished for over thirteen years.

This is the second of David Dow's books that I have had the pleasure to enjoy and I really hope that he is working on more. He is an educator who has a gift and I highly recommend that you invest in this wonderful book.
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- Julia "British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-07-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio