Despite this macabre subject matter, Time to Go fairly pulses with life — and, strangely, disarming humour. The book, though, is not for the faint-hearted... It is a tragic farce... It is at once a tiny moment and everything. It is also what makes Time to Go not just a darkly diverting testament to old age, but a remarkably hopeful book.
...an irreverent and comical account of the knotty, loving but paranoid relationship with his boastful, glamorous mother, a potted history of suicide (who knew the Roman Senate gave hemlock on the house to anyone who applied?), a sober consideration of how to die on your own terms, and a journey into the unknown territory of finding the least messy route to do it.... Time to Go is a sometimes manipulative but mostly hilarious book — a marshalling cry for the cause of legalising assisted suicide. Kennaway believes the law is hopelessly inadequate for the times we live in. ‘Choosing how you die is nothing less than a human right. It’s just not acknowledged as one. But it surely will be soon.’
To say his approach to the subject of assisted dying is unconventional and irreverent is rather to underestimate the degree to which he thumbs his nose at it. Of immediate concern to him is his octogenarian mother Susie. She wants to choose when she will die but when exactly to pull the plug? For her, as her son relates, it is when she can no longer go to the lavatory unaided. But are things so simple? “You hurt your hand, which was expected to heal in a couple of days, but during that time you couldn’t wipe your bottom. Hold on. There’s the line. Indeed, in three days, the hand is well enough to go to the loo on your own, and you probably smile as you wipe your bottom saying I’m actually quite glad I didn’t top myself.”... Susie, it would appear, is not ready to shuffle off any time soon which is cheering. We need more people like her and Stanley. The same may be said of Guy Kennaway who has written the funniest, sickest, most moving and provocative book about dying you are likely to read before you-know-who comes calling.