The Construction Of Life And Death by Dorothy Rowe
OK. So this is the biggie. Life and death.
One of Dorothy Rowe’s early books (1982), The Construction Of Life And Death takes a look at how we factor the meaning of death into our lives, delivered with the author’s clear-sighted compassion but also through her talks with various of her patients.
Unlike a lot of other authors in this field, Rowe allows lengthy conversations to make her points, conversations which sometimes go on for pages. She talks to patients (many of them suffering from depression, which is her area of specialism), to religious people, to members of religious hierarchies, and even to another counsellor – one of her colleagues, who gives a particularly enlightening interview. Anxiety is a particular symptom of many of her patients, and there are positive outcomes and negative ones; and Rowe is disarmingly honest at the end of the book about her own early foibles.
For people like me, fascinated with how and why spiritual ideas and then organised religion have dominated human affairs for the last 40,000 years – at least – this is a must-read. Rowe has a clarity of thought and a humanity rarely seen amongst authors of books like these, which are most often found in the self-help section of bookshops.
If you’ve grappled with these issues, check this book out, then any of her other works. Highly recommended.