I read this book with some trepidation since several of my friends in the over sixty age group warned me that they had avoided it because of their fears about Alzheimer’s disease. However, once I started to read it I was hooked by the courage with which the protagonist, Alice Howland, faces her destiny. Alice is a Harvard professor who at age fifty begins to experience forgetfulness and disorientation, which leads to her diagnosis.
Alice shares her initial fears and the techniques she uses, with the support of her family, to maintain as normal a life as possible. She is even able to introduce some humour about her situation, such as the time she searches the entire house in vain for her Blackberry. In frustration, she finally gives up. Weeks later when taking out a package of frozen food for dinner she finds her Blackberry in the freezer.
The shift in her relationships with her husband and three adult children as the disease progresses clearly shows how different people cope differently with the tragedy. The detailed attention to how Alice copes day to day, and the author’s depiction of the emotional impact that losing her abilities but not herself has on Alice make this a book that I strongly recommend.
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