4 out of 4 stars
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Last Dance by Stephen Manning is a memoir highlighting the joys and sorrows of his adult and family life with his wife, Mary Ann Manning. This book recounts their 37-year-journey together and the hurdles they faced. Mary Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her loss was greatly felt and described in this book. Last Dance is a lovely account of the special bond between Stephen and Mary Ann, starting with their meeting at the corporate firm where they both worked. This book is full of moments that will make you cry and laugh. It will also rekindle your appreciation for the gift of life.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming, but a good way to get through it is by celebrating the times spent with them. I'm glad that the author documented these precious moments. I really think with this book, Mary Ann's memories are forever preserved.
What I liked most about this book was Mary Ann's selflessness as it reminded me of my mother. She was a stay-at-home mom and devoted all her time and attention to her family. The love and care she bestowed upon her children proved beyond doubt that she was indeed a loving mother. What ticked me off the most was the circumstances that led to her death. I was annoyed to discover that Mary Ann's cancer could have been avoided, but I won't say more to avoid giving too much away. This was the only thing I didn't like about the book.
The author showed his great sense of humour, and I had a few laughs at his witty comments and little jokes while reading the book. I assumed that this was going to be a depressing read, but his humour lightened the mood and tone of the story. Also, I appreciated that the book didn't contain any serious instances of profanity, making it suitable for a wider range of readers.
Last Dance was very emotional for me. A mother's love is truly the strongest driving force, and this became increasingly evident as I read. I should warn you, though, if you're a cry-baby, it'll be best to have a box of tissues handy.
I believe this is a book everyone should read. Besides the story, Manning did a great job with the writing and editing. I didn't find any clear-cut errors. This shows that the book was professionally edited. Owing to this story's inspirational nature, professional editing, and the author's humour, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to everyone who loves inspirational true-life stories.
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