Because there have been so many books like this in the past decades (women describing the death of their mothers), it might be easy to overlook the beauty and simplicity of this one. De Beauvoir is tortuously honest, and introspective in this book, almost embarrassingly so. It appears she was not very close to her mother, but through months of personal care, comes to dread her coming end, and perhaps truly love her. And unlike the title, it is not an easy death for her mother. She wants desperately to live. There are few, but bright references to her relationship with Sartre. And his influence on her is subtle but strong, even so far as the way she describes her mother's feelings of her body, "I feel as if my right side is gone." And they glow with the strangeness of onrushing death. It is a softly surreal book that gives us a long, personal look at one of the most interesting women of the 20th century.