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NONFICTION : THIS FAR AND NO MORE: A TRUE STORY by Andrew H. Malcolm (Times Books: $17.95; 252 pp.).

May 03, 1987|Mary Ellen Donovan

At age 40, Emily Bauer had everything: a successful career as a psychologist, a loving husband who happily accepted her independence and strong will, a house in the country, a place in the city, and two young daughters. Then she got ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which in the course of a few years caused every muscle in her body to deteriorate into uselessness while leaving her sharp mind intact. This harrowing account documents the misery a progressive, terminal disease inflicts on both patient and family members, as well as the difficulties--legal, ethical, emotional and practical--that arise when a hospital patient decides to refuse further medical intervention and let death come naturally. The New York Times' Andrew Malcolm's reporting is sympathetic and straightforward, but what makes this book truly compelling are the entries from Bauer's own journal, which she kept to the last, using a special device that enabled her to spell out words letter by letter with a slight movement of her chin. Bauer's account of her experience reveals neither a saint nor a hero, but a flawed, bossy, loving woman who was determined to stay in control of her life right to its very end.

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