New Book: Marc Newhouse’s “Life, Death and Iguanas”

Life, Death and Iguanas is a fascinating memoir by Marc Newhouse (I read one chapter and was instantly hooked) focusing on the life and death of his mother Frances Newhouse. Because the author has resided in Puerto Rico since 1996, the memoir includes detailed scenes of everyday life on the island and the thought-provoking perspectives of an outsider-becoming-an insider. Edited and formatted by Jan Marie (Taí) Fernández-Toledo, this e-book was self-published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct-Publishing (30 August 2012).

Description: Life, Death and Iguanas is the story of the life and death of a strong woman who chose to fast until her end rather than endure a living death of Alzheimer’s in a nursing home. It’s also the story of her three sons, struggling to help her, warring against each other, and finally uniting. Lastly, it’s the author’s story of depression and loss, with a bittersweet regeneration and growth at the end. Balancing life with grief, laughter with tears, this book suggests a better way to die—and to live.

Excerpt: “The days of quiet attendance on a dying woman were over. I fled from the building. I turned at the dumpster, and went behind the building, to a place where no one goes, and where each morning for three years I had called my mother. I peered out, again, through the chain-link fence, and saw the meandering stream, called the Río Cañas, a hundred feet below. Nothing was changed. And there, in the trees, were the iguanas, unmoving, unblinking, observing me as I observed them. My year of looking at iguanas had begun…”

Marc Newhouse was born in Madison, Wisconsin. As he writes, he “started life as a cellist, became a nurse, and then an English teacher. On the death of his mother—who fasted 11 days until her end—the family curse came out: he became a writer.” His first book, a thirty-eight page self-help manual to tell readers how to control the time and place of their death is called Cheat the Nursing Home, and is available through Amazon “for the budget-stretching price of 99 cents.”

Read part of the book here:

For a full review, see

For the author’s blog, visit

You may also find out more about the author at and

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