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The Story of My Father | [Sue Miller]

The Story of My Father

In the fall of 1988, Sue Miller found herself caring for her father as he slipped into the grasp of Alzheimer's disease. She was, she claims, perhaps the least constitutionally suited of all her siblings to be in the role in which she suddenly found herself, and grapples with the haunting memories of those final months and the larger narrative of her father's life.
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Publisher's Summary

In the fall of 1988, Sue Miller found herself caring for her father as he slipped into the grasp of Alzheimer's disease. She was, she claims, perhaps the least constitutionally suited of all her siblings to be in the role in which she suddenly found herself, and in The Story of My Father she grapples with the haunting memories of those final months and the larger narrative of her father's life. With compassion, self-scrutiny, and an urgency born of her own yearning to rescue her father's memory from the disorder and oblivion that marked his dying and death, Sue Miller takes us on an intensely personal journey that becomes, by virtue of her enormous gifts of observation, perception, and literary precision, a universal story of fathers and daughters.

James Nichols was a fourth-generation minister, a retired professor from Princeton Theological Seminary. Sue Miller brings her father brilliantly to life in these pages - his religious faith, his endless patience with his children, his gaiety and willingness to delight in the ridiculous, his singular gifts as a listener, and the rituals of church life that stayed with him through his final days. She recalls the bitter irony of watching him, a church historian, wrestle with a disease that inexorably lays waste to notions of time, history, and meaning. She recounts her struggle with doctors, her deep ambivalence about many of her own choices, and the difficulty of finding, continually, the humane and moral response to a disease whose special cruelty it is to dissolve particularities and to diminish, in so many ways, the humanity of those it strikes. She reflects, unforgettably, on the variable nature of memory, the paradox of trying to weave a truthful narrative from the threads of a dissolving life. And she offers stunning insight into her own life as both a daughter and a writer, two roles that swell together here in a poignant meditation on the consolations of storytelling.

© 2003 Sue Miller; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Miller's first nonfiction book about caring for her Alzheimer's-afflicted father is a rare example of an illness memoir with widespread appeal. Prospective [listeners]...need only have parents of their own to appreciate this testimony's dignity and grace." (Publishers Weekly)
"The thoroughness and clarity with which Miller brings the [listener] up to date on [Alzheimer's] research is one of the most valuable aspects of her memoir." (Book Magazine)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Carolyn Macks Creek, MO, USA 07-20-03
    Carolyn Macks Creek, MO, USA 07-20-03
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    "Excellent book-beautifully written"

    Sue Miller's narration of her beautifully written book is as intimate and personal as someone speaking to you across her kitchen table. You share her pain, her doubt, her devotion, her anger, all the disjointed emotions she feels, as she journeys with her much admired father through his slow descent into a devastating disease. It's a story that is heart-breakingly sad and yet woven through with threads of humor and treasured memories.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clifford Bedford, NH, United States 05-14-12
    Clifford Bedford, NH, United States 05-14-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Title should be "The Story of My Father's Death""

    I like Sue Miller's work, and this book is well written, but I had thought this would be a woman's memories of her father - not primarily about a woman's struggle with coming to grips with her father's illness and death. If you're looking for insights into dealing with someone who has Alzheimer's, then it's worth reading. If you're looking for a loving memoir, don't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ginette Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 06-11-10
    Ginette Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 06-11-10 Member Since 2009
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    "not a novel but an autobiographical essay"

    I am a great fan of Sue Miller and was surprised this wasn't a novel but an autobiographical essay. This is the story of her father, a scholar, who's a victim of Alzheimer's disease. She chronicles the onset of the disease, how she and her siblings noticed her father's deterioriration and how they all coped with it. Sue Miller is the narrator in this case and it adds to the quality of the reading. Very moving and insightful, at times funny but most often very moving. A great book to help understand this terrible disease and to help you cope if you have it in your family. Addresses guilt issues, feelings of loss, etc.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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