I've Seen the End of You

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: Not set

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of I've Seen the End of You.

This was a wonderfully written memoir by Dr. Warren, a former combat surgeon, Christian, father and husband, and neurosurgeon who grapples with his demanding career and the high mortality rates and a God who would allow such tragedy and devastating illness to exist.

Dr. Warren's faith is tested when he and his family suffer an unimaginable loss, the worst a parent can imagine and struggles to find the light and humanity in his life once again.

I really enjoyed Dr. Warren's memoir; as much as a book about death, disease and war can be enjoyed. But it's also about second chances, miracles and love.

His life changing experiences with some of his patients were among my favorite but it was the compassion, warmth and sincerity in which he writes that really drew me in.

Dr. Warren's love for God shines through in his words; he is never preachy or condescending. He is a man of faith, no matter how much pain and suffering he has seen, and that is what has helped him through his darkest times.

His expertise as a medical professional is made stronger through his belief in God, and the integrity and humanity he brings to his work. He listens to his patients, he hears what they are not saying, and even if this was just a memoir about his experiences as a neurosurgeon, I would have enjoyed reading that as well.

As a spiritual person, I enjoyed Dr. Warren's honest look at how he struggles with his faith in the worst of times. There is nothing wrong with doubt, as he says. As long as you have faith. I agree completely.

Highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. You don't have to be religious to relate to and learn from Dr. Warren's empowering message of hope and faith in times of great suffering and sadness.
Was this review helpful?
A very sad book involving a terrible cancer and a doctor. Years ago in our area someone published a booklet about the way doctors affected by illness see them and  the ways they they are in grade of coping with them. This one is absolutely immense.
Was this review helpful?
A well-written account of a neurologist's thought processes when dealing with glioblastoma, a type of tumor that has proven itself to be a guaranteed killer. The presentation of the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease is fascinating. The struggle with faith, not so much. If you identify closely with belief in a god, you will most likely appreciate the almost constant references to faith and questioning. Those of us who are avowed atheists will most likely find it tiresome. I know I did. Then again, the book description includes mention of the physician's/author's grappling with his faith. . Just be forewarned that it can get a bit preachy.

No doubt an excellent doctor. An excellent writer as well.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderfully honest yet sometimes harrowing account from an eminent brain surgeon.
This is an often sad, yet inspirational book, and very well written.
It is impossible to read it without remembering that none of us are immortal.
A great read.
Was this review helpful?
The science, as utterly painful as it is, fascinates. Where the disease comes from, why it is so tough and implacable. How tough is the responsibility of the doctor in these horrible situations.

Like others, as sympathetic as anyone can be, it is only truly through the experience that a true concept can be understood. This doctor has to experience this. 

The God stuff is heavy handed; and while I am thrilled that the doctor has found his way with his faith stuff, and it took away from the other aspects of the story.
Was this review helpful?
The journey I'm on involves  my best friend of thirty-five years, Everyone truly has their own story and ours has involved oncology, cancer,  neurology, pain, and loss. Then, there is the reality of trying to find our way. I look for something positive or helpful in all of it.  I believe our energy can truly make a difference. It's a difficult journey at times and I appreciate the thoughtful comments and stories within this book. 
The details in "I've seen the End of You"  clearly awaken the reader to your journey as a army surgeon, a neurosurgeon, a father, and a partner. I appreciate the depth of your memoir, hesitate at times to even turn to the next chapter. Thank you for the energy and strength.
Was this review helpful?
I read through this book in just a couple of days. I have kind of been on a non-fiction kick and I have been flying through them all, but none like this one. It really resonated with me. It was refreshing to read a book both about someone who can believe in both science AND God and who admits that sometimes his faith waivers. Sometimes it is difficult when we go through hard times and feel like we have to still be this pillar of faith and it is refreshing to see someone say not only is it okay to waiver in those moments, but that it happens throughout the Bible too. It doesn't mean that we give up hope or our faith, it just means it is okay to not understand why something happens or even to not be happy about it, and I think in the end most times that I go through periods like this, in the end my faith in God ends up renewed and even stronger than before. I am thankful to Dr. Warren for such a vunerable look inside of his very difficult profession and personal life. I thought this was an excellent book. I recommend this book to anyone really.
Was this review helpful?
For author Dr. W. Lee Warren, death is a constant companion: He stares it down daily, previously on the front lines as a combat surgeon during the Iraq War and currently as a neurosurgeon specializing in GBM, glioblastoma multiforme, a lethal brain tumor. 

In his latest book, I’ve Seen the End of You, A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, Dr. Warren grapples with questions of religious faith as a practicing Christian and medical doctor. The novel chronicles his conundrum—equal parts an existential crisis and an ethical dilemma: How can he give hope to his patients who are destined to die from GBM?  How does he believe in a God, when his faith is constantly tested as he witnesses the cruel, unfair, indiscriminate and senseless way death comes for people in their prime—children, young parents, professional luminaries. The essence of the author’s crisis of faith is the question we all ask ourselves at some point: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Faced with so much tragedy on a regular basis, the author feels at once relieved and a bit guilty at his good fortune. He is happily married to the love of his life, Lisa.  They share a blended family of five children and they work together in his private practice. She manages the office and is his emotional confidant and rock. It all seems so perfect until it isn’t. 

The novel progresses as a series of patient stories that Dr. Warren shares with the reader. He examines their brain scans, performs biopsies and frequently sees the end of their lives in the form of a glioblastoma tumor.  He struggles with how to give his patients hope when he isn’t convinced God is listening to all of those prayers. He begins to find praying futile; no matter how much he believes in God, no matter how much he prays, he feels powerless to stop death’s forward march on his patients. 

 Dr. Warren’s skill at writing with empathy, raw honesty and introspection captures the humanity, dignity and despair of each of his patients.  I found myself becoming emotionally attached to each dying patient, experiencing some of the same emotions as Dr. Warren—outrage, frustration, sadness and loss. As the reader, we witness how people can go through their darkest hours and still hold on to their faith.  Their deeply touching experiences remain with me even as I write this book review. 

Just as Dr. Warren believes his battered and bruised faith can’t possibly stand anymore, he suffers a very personal tragedy that brings him to his knees. “I realized that I was standing on the deathbed of my shattered faith.” 

As the novel progresses, Dr. Warren confides in Pastor Jon, a hospital chaplain who encourages him “not to see prayer as an act of bending God’s will but rather an act of bending us to God’s will.” This only serves to confound him more as he tries to explain to Pastor Jon: “That’s awfully convenient, isn’t it? To fall back on the ‘God has a plan’ platitude when things are hard? That’s exactly what is bothering me right now, Pastor. I see somebody who’s going to die: I know they’re dead when I look at the initial MRI. But I’m supposed to pray for them, encourage them to have faith, believe they can make it, when I already know.”

Dr. Warren’s faith has been tested before, on the battlefields of Iraq where death, war and catastrophic injuries overwhelmed his makeshift hospital. It was 2005 and Dr. Warren was working a surgeon at the Balad Air Base in Iraq, often praying that God would deliver him through yet another attack.He struggles to defend his beliefs to his atheist friend and surgeon, Aaron. Back then, he admits “Something was nagging at my soul in the darker places I didn’t let myself look into often. Did I really believe, or did I believe I was supposed to believe?” He struggles to reconcile his duality as a man of faith and a man of science.  

After returning to his practice in Alabama, the answer to his struggles slowly crystalizes: “My work had to be about learning how to live—in a painful world but still somehow be able to have faith.”

Through his spiritual and emotional journey, Dr. Warren discovers a profound truth. It’s only then that he can begin to reconcile his faith with the reality of tragedy and death. “My happiness cannot depend on my life being pain-free.” 

At its essence, the novel is about accepting life as both a painful and poignant journey and being at peace with what we can not know for certain but believe with conviction.  Dr. Warren sums up his writing as “a book about faith, doubt, and the things we think we know.” To doubt and to question the things we think we know doesn’t make us non-believers, it makes us better humans.  We will never understand why “Bad things happen to good people,” but we can be at peace with the randomness of life and learn to cherish the beautiful moments.
Was this review helpful?
Very inspiration and a great view from an actual doctor who has been through this. 

Thank you so much NetGalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This book is definitely one for people with faith. It’s all about how important faith is in the healthcare field. It’s about learning how to balance faith and the reality of a fatal disease. The doctor writes about his growth as a Christian and how his relationship with God changes as he learns through his patients.
Was this review helpful?
To be honest, I was dismayed when I discovered that this book is all about people who had an incurable brain tumor called glioblastoma. How depressing, I thought.

Then to my surprise, I found myself reading the book from cover to cover. It is so well written and the stories are all so compelling. Dr Lee Warren is an excellent writer! He is also a compassionate and caring surgeon, making reading about his work with his patients something that is pleasant, rare and very touching.

What is it about those patients that even while they are dying, they come alive. What is the secret? That is what this book is ultimately about.

Thank you Netgalley and WaterBrook & Multnomah for the ARC. This is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is Lee Warren's memoir about keeping the faith in God when we are surrounded by death and decay in our lives. It's easy to believe in a God when nothing life-threatening is happening but when you receive news of fatal brain cancer, can you still hang on to that faith?

It's a very pertinent question. Not all adversities are created equal and the small bad things happening to you, like falling down and just getting a bruise or not getting that big promotion, do not usually shake your faith. But when something difficult comes along, not only is your faith tested but sometimes it just vanishes.

What you do when you are faced with life's difficulties is what determines the level of peace you will have during those circumstances. Your belief in God will not change one fact of your life - life will be full of adversities. It will be a few happy moments mixed with a few sad moments. Your faith will help you be strong enough to live this life but it will not change that life. Would you still pray if you know God won't listen to it?

Very beautifully written. This book talks about a lot of patients that the doctor treated and their accounts were such well written that I wanted to pray for them, years after their death. I am sorry for Warren's loss and hope his faith carries him over. I also hope that Eli lives a long and happy life.

I wasn't ready to say bye to this book. The way the author writes, it's like a suspense novel, you just can't let it go. And to think that he was advised that he should have gone with a ghostwriter *shudders* We need his voice and his work.

A beautifully written book. A must read.

I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve seen the end of you, by W. Lee Warren, M.D. is a stirring narrative, somewhat morbid yet very engaging. In this memoir book, Dr Warren tells us of some of his glioblastoma patients, which is in and of itself quite an emotionally demanding read. Alongside (or, rather, underneath) these stories, is the narrative of how he managed to re-engage with his faith despite all the pain he encounters.
Dr Warren has to face an intrinsic dilemma: how can he believe in the power of prayer, how can he have faith, when he has to face the irreversible death sentence of a brain tumour diagnosis? As he introduces each case, creating a window into the lives of these people on the brink of destruction, he presents repeated instances of spiritual struggle. How can God be merciful, how can he claim to be listening, if all those good people have no hope of survival?
Eventually, as he has to deal with personal loss, will he remain strong in his faith, or will he succumb to the anguish?
The author is unapologetic in his agenda, clearly stating what this tome is about from the onset, and dedicating a whole section at the end to expound on it: what Christian faith is, how the power of prayer works, and why they are valuable to our lives. 

Who would enjoy this
This is a book for many types of readers. 
If you are a reader who is struggling with the role of faith in your life, this might be useful to you. This is also a work for those who are interested in the more humane aspects of medical care. Above all, this is a book for mature readers, who will be able to understand and identify the different life struggles and stages the stories bring forth.

Who should give this a pass
If you are a reader who gets very emotionally invested in the story, this memoir might be a bit too demanding for you. Similarly, if you have recently suffered a bereavement, I would let a while pass before taking up this book. Most of all, if you don’t like being preached to, give this work a wide berth. As I explained above, the author makes a concerted effort to openly explore his Christian agenda.

Conclusions and suggestions
I found Dr Warren’s tales engaging and easy to read, as far as the narrative goes. On the other hand, the whole process was also quite hard, as it brought back all sorts of hidden personal demons. I must admit, it also made me feel slightly conflicted, as I stood morbidly observing the pain in others’ lives, like some sort of literary vulture. Still, it was engaging and I would have enjoyed reading about more cases, all of which were caringly presented. 
It consequently left me uncertain how to approach the critique of this book, as well as somewhat guilty for not caring half as much for the religious aspect of the whole endeavour as I did for the stories of the patients. It became somewhat of a ‘broken record’ when the soul searching popped up, case after case. In fact, it left me quite jaded for the final section of the book, when Dr Warren explores in a more pseudo-theological fashion the presence of faith in life. Somehow, despite the whole build up to his epiphany, it felt rushed, as though an appendix to the book. 
I applaud the work for its conviction, as it’s never easy to really explore one’s beliefs when one fears to find them lacking. I also admire the author’s self-awareness of his skill and need for a goal beyond prurient storytelling. Sadly, I could not find a strong sense of enlightenment in Dr Warren’s work.
Was this review helpful?
This book is about a neurosurgeon's struggle with faith while dealing with brain cancer patients who have a short life expectancy. While learning more about aggressive forms of brain cancer, you get a look at how medical staff try to reconcile their science/ just the facts side with a belief in things they cannot explain and acceptance of limited control on life.
Was this review helpful?
If you want pat answers, smug affirmations, and “oh, it’s just God’s plan”, don’t read this book. But, if you want to be challenged to dig deeper and think about your life, purpose, and faith then this book by W. Lee Warren, M.D. is the BEST. Plus, it’s an all-around great read with plenty of medical mysteries, ER nightmares, and the patients and families who see their lives upended. 

The book is subtitled “A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know”. And that sums it up for all of, doesn’t it? Why do bad things happen to us- we’re good! Why pray if your disease is close to 100% terminal? Why would God let a child suffer and die? 

Part of the book focuses on Dr. Warren’s neurosurgical practice, and in particular his patients with brain cancer. That’s where the title of his book comes in. We meet a variety of patients- among them, several young Christian men with families, a young man who most would consider a failure, a young woman who must make an impossible decision, and an older woman who has known much pain and suffering. The medical part of the book is clear, exciting and compelling.  

According to his Amazon bio, the author loves to make connections between faith, science, and the realities of life. Dr. Warren likes to dig deep and he  had to reconsider everything after a personal tragedy in his own family. This book will encourage you to examine your own purpose and plan. What resonated with me were his discussions about God’s promises- either all His promises are true, or none of them are. I also liked his thinking about life being a Hobson’s choice- either you accept life with all its beauty and pain, or you don’t accept life at all. I’m sure as you read this book, you will be doing a lot of thinking yourself! And you will want to discuss it with others! 

I’ve been recommending this book to all my friends. Thanks to NetGalley and WaterBrook & Multnomah for a digital advanced review copy. This is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinatingly sad yet thought provoking book.  The book jumped between the medical cases of the author, a brilliant neurosurgeon who specializes in glioblastoma tumors, and his personal relationship with his family and god. The author is amazingly humble and reflective given his expertise.  Often I found the writing of non literary professionals, who write on the side, to be lacking, but I found this author’s writing style strong and he has the special knack to be able to make complex medical terminology understandable for non-medical readers.  It’s a sad book and it would be very difficult to read if you have lost a love one to this horrible disease. This book is a combination of medical and Christian literature; as much about faith as medicine. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating book written by a neurosurgeon. How to survive the unthinkable, how to make sense of tragedy when science and faith may pull us in opposite directions. Thoroughly enjoyable read, highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Dr Warren is a neurosurgeon and unusually runs a practice managed by his wife that aims to be a bit more human than hospital clinics. When people have a  Glioblastoma show up on their scan then Dr Warren knows that the outcome for you is terminal (he has seen the end of you) and pretty quickly too., although you may not be told that for a while.  The book is fascinating when talking about brian cancers and tumours but for me, there was too much about his Christian faith and how he reconciles giving good people bad news with it. Even in his clinic he prays with patients and talks  with them about God which I just find very strange.  A bit of a mixed review form me, too much God but the medical bits were very interesting.
Was this review helpful?
Although I am not a religious person this memoir gave me lots to think about which I think would please Dr Warren.  The stories demonstrate that how we deal with the worst possible news can enhance or destroy not only the rest of our lives but also that of our family and friends and that we have the ability to choose our reactions wisely. 

A very thought provoking book and one I would recommend to all - tragedy can and does strike everyone at some time and while we may not all have faith in God, we all can have faith in ourselves to deal with what can seem insurmountable.
Was this review helpful?
Dr Lee Warren's book "I"ve Seen the End of You" is an honest, thought-provoking, and at times gut-wrenching. He tells you about his journey through the doubt and pain he endured, and how it impacted his Christian faith. Dr. Warren Is at the front row line and has to face many challenges - such as his patients who are facing terminal illness, and etc. Additionally he talks about his suffering and deep loss as well. Dr Lee was very heartfelt and raw about his faith at time and he questions and clings to it at many times. Overall it is a deeply honest and gut wrenching read.
Was this review helpful?