You and I have over the years stumbled into many cancer survival stories. They all bring death so close to us that one can almost feel what it must be like to live under a hanging sword. The Last Lecture is wonderfully different because it is not about dying rather about living each day like there is no tomorrow.

Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon gets diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. The doctors give him a maximum of six months and it is in amidst all this that he stumbles into University’s on going program for professors called “The Last lecture”. The series asks professors to come and speak for an hour or so assuming it is their last lecture. In Randy’s case, the irony is very stark because he does not have to assume that it is his last lecture.

After much contemplation he finally decides that he will attempt to speak in the initiative. The book chronicles not only his speech but also the thinking behind it. Why he chose a certain topic? Why he spoke about certain incidents? From where did he get the inspiration and so on and so forth.

The book is emotional to the extent of making you teary and if you are strong hearted then perhaps will not cry. It showcases Randy as a person and not his struggle. You read about him and not his cancer. Nowhere, do you get this feeling that he is showing his disappointment with life, in fact quite the opposite. The lecture is a celebration of his life. He says he is doing it for his children to remember him. A piece of his life he could not share with them will perhaps he recreated through the video of his lecture or in this case his book.

The style of writing is very simple, the construction of sentences very simple. The narration flows from one point to the other and creates moving images in the minds of people. There will always be moments you feel like crying but they are far less than the moments you want to smile or even laugh. Its a candid conversation with a man who knows his time has come but he doesn’t want to remember it all the time.

Its a must read for all. And especially for those who feel that life for them is becoming more of a routine. Because the topic Randy chooses for the speech is “How I achieved my childhood dreams?” The topic itself makes us reflect on our life. And will surely make you ask questions you would now want some answers.

Review: 4/5

This post has been written for Sugandha’s August project: 30 Days 30 Books.

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