Novel about a Harvard psychology professor named Alice Howland who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.
The story is told from Alice's perspective, and the author (who herself has a PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard) relates what an Alzheimer's patient experiences as they decline. It was scary and eye opening. And sad. At first Alice, who is only 50, doesn't tell her husband about her forgetfulness but schedules a doctor's appointment, thinking maybe she's just stressed out and hasn't been getting enough sleep. But when Alice forgets to go to a major conference in Chicago, her husband is well aware that something is wrong. When Alice tells him that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, her husband refuses to accept it and scours the Internet for a "different answer."
Alice has three children, and after learning that she carries the mutant gene for the disease and her children have a 50% chance of inheriting it, two of the children decide to get tested and the other one says she would rather not know. The saddest part is when one of her daughters has twins, and by that time Alice has deteriorated to the point where she doesn't even know who anyone is.
Here she refers to one daughter as "the mother" and her other daughter as "the actress."
The mother was sitting on the couch next to the actress, breast-feeding the baby in blue.
They were talking too quickly and using too many pronouns. And the baby in pink had begun to fuss and cry...
Alice's husband is portrayed as an intelligent and caring man who obviously loves his wife, but at one point, knowing that Alice's time is short and he needs to make a choice about his career, he talks about moving out of state to take a better job. He and the children argue about what is best for Alice, while she sits and listens and is clueless as to what they are discussing.
Overall, even though it was sad, I'm glad I read this book. I learned a lot about Alzheimer's and got a great sense of what patients experience through the different stages. I wish I had read this before my husband's aunt passed away last year. I just remember her asking the same questions over and over and over.
Do I Recommend?
Yes, especially if you know someone with Alzheimer's because it will give you a better understanding of - and make you more sympathetic to - what they are going through.
Bought at a cute little bookstore in town called Sue's News.
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