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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 19 reviews
on May 10, 2016
Rather disappointing overall.
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on December 17, 2014
Very sad and predictable end of life story but very sad
and emotional as expected. But I did enjoy it.
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on April 8, 2014
Yesterday I reviewed David G. Hallman's first novel, Searching for Gilead. Knowing that "August Farewell" was about the last couple of weeks in the life of his partner, I had deliberately decided to read the novel first, hoping for a happier ending than the title of "August Farewell" suggests. Oh well, little did I know that the novel was greatly inspired by the real life of David and Bill, starting and ending almost the same way.

How do you review a real life story? An account of facts? I gave "Searching for Gilead" four stars, so I'll give this five. Here's why. Where the novel didn't engage me emotionally until the final chapters, I was in tears before having ended the first chapter. The language is much less pretentious, the storytelling is more direct and matter-of-factly as befits this sort of story.

Now why would anyone read the story of the last few days in the life of a complete stranger? A painful couple hundred pages?

I did it to get a more rounded picture of David and his writing, to understand his driving force (and hoping he'll produce more), but more than that, the novel gives a very rare glimpse into the future of my own life, in fact, glimpses I've already seen (having already lost and buried four of our six parents - long story)

I'm really grateful to be twelve years Alex' senior. At the same time, this very prospect scares the hell out of me (pardon the expression, as the atheist doesn't believe in either hell nor heaven for that matter, the latter which seems to have brought Bill and David alike so much solace) The thought of ending up in Bill's situation with Alex having to care for me is hard to stomach, and while things seemed to have happened very quickly for them, it makes me think about our own future, how would we tackle that? Fly to Switzerland and make a discreet exit with Exit? Or hang on to dear life for Alex and the kids' sake? Eventually I hope that Alex gets to read this book so that we can start to talk about this.

I am having these discussions with my father, and I find it reassuring to find him open to talking about this. He seems to be searching for some sort of faith (which is an omnipresent topic throughout the book), having lost his many years ago, me replacing faith with rationale and my humanistic beliefs ages ago. We talk about services and what not, how he wants his farewell party to be handled.

"August Farewell: The Last Sixteen Days of a Thirty-Three-Year Romance" is a great book for any couple approaching middle-age or maybe just having gotten through it. It should open up lines of communication about life, death and how to tackle it gracefully, compassionately and with love. Having said that, it's also a reminder to "carpe diem", to seize the day, to make the most of every single day we have together with our loved ones. Because even though sixteen days sounds like very little, sometimes we're awarded even less. Keep that in mind!

Thank you David for the intimate glimpse into the final days of your marriage to Bill, for allowing us to partake of the lessons and the wisdom of your journey together.
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on June 28, 2013
August Farewell challenges the reader to remain within the sense of peace and beauty which persistently is such a major contribution of this testimony. All things put together evoque lifes's continuituy in the many shapes and forms which this work expertly and sensitively pull together.
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on May 12, 2013
this memoir is so well crafted and written that it reads like an excellent novel. I was absorbed from the beginning right to the end. Yes, I cried.
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on June 7, 2012
Beautifully written, extremely moving - August Farewell is the long and colorful journey shared by two people in love and the ultimate passage we all have to face. Encouraging, inspiring and surprisingly...humorous. Warning: Make sure you have plenty of tissue boxes.
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on November 26, 2011
This is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever read. It is also beautifully written. I love how Hallman tells the story of his beloved partner Bill's rapid decline in the present tense, because it makes it feel like we are right there with him going through it. He intersperses vignettes from their 33 year life together, written in past tense. This is a very effective way to give us a clear sense of their time together and their relationship, without taking us away from the telling of their final story for any length of time. We come away knowing that not only did these two men love and respect each other deeply, but that they lived a full rich life, filled with family and friends. This is a story about death that will move you to tears, but in some sense they are not tears of sadness as much as they are tears of compassion for our common human journey through love and loss. Never more than when reading this book will you think, "no matter how different we are, we are all the same." What a wonderful tribute Hallman has written to the life and love that he and Bill shared. Bravo.
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on November 22, 2011
The final scene in the 1996 movie, "It's My Party", is where the AIDS-stricken character portrayed by Eric Roberts mentally ascends a ski-lift while flashing back to all the seminal moments of his life. In a great sense, author David Hallman takes us on the same journey in August Farewell. However, the reader is treated to a much broader context of what is essentially a life well-lived. We're reminded that it's not all about reaching the summit. The journey itself -- including death -- is something to embrace.

I've had this book on my Kindle for a while, and frankly, I was anxious about the subject. Death is a common human experience; yet the subtitle reminds us we are dealing with the last 16 days of a 33 year romance. Yet for all the tragedy implied -- and, yes, I wept a good deal -- my journey was lifted by Hallman's very exquisite detail of a full life. Art, music, culture, a bevy of close friends, contributions to making the world a better place -- all of these things exponentially revealed as we join Hallman in those 16 days. It's gut-wrenching beauty is desperate but hopeful, spiritual yet still accessible.

Hallman is known as an environmental ethics writer, but one hopes that the voice he has found in this loving tribute will treat us to additional works equally as perceptive, honest, and courageous.
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on November 4, 2011
Definitely 5 stars! What a wonderful love story...yes if you read the overview you will know the ending...but there is so much love and passion between the first and last chapter. We often refer to books as "couldn't put it down"...however, for me August Farewell was one that I had to put down often, and reflect upon the content and my life - will I be able to look back upon my life having experienced the same love and passion for live as did David and Bill. At times you feel like you are eavesdropping, but in a good way. This definitely should be a must-read for all young gay couples...you can live a passionate, fulfilled life as a gay couple. Thank you David, for sharing you and Bill with us...we are better for having known a you for a bit. While I am sure the loss is great, I hope the many wonderful memories hold you warm and tight at night.
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on September 9, 2011
Bill is smiling... A well written love story about a life cut short with pancreatic cancer. Thanks to his devoted partner (the author), Bill's footprints on earth will forever be visible. Although a death occurs, it's really about two lives well lived. David Hallman generously allows the reader to take a trip around the world with him. The Journey is oozing with music, art, and life appreciation. By the time you finish reading, you will know Bill Conklin and David Hallman personally. If you loved "Philadelphia" you won't be able to put this one down. If you've ever loved or lost someone, you must take this journey with Bill and David. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Kathleen Hagburg
co-author of Getting Into The Zone
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