She was "of an age to die," seventy-seven, and she had a "very easy death" or so the nurse said-- well cared for and well attended by her daughters. However the title is ironically derived and it would be hard to think that Simone de Beauvoir who flaunted so many strictures of life, would accept death. Her mother died of cancer which she always feared; although she was religious, she was frightened, defenseless, unready; she suffered "It's a Chinese torture," and up to the end insisted "I don't want to die." And the intention of this memoir, which is in part a requiem and in part an exorcism, is its disturbing, defiant insistence on the fact that this can only be an utterly lonely experience. Mme. de Beauvoir's dusty answer is depressingly effective.