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.
"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)
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.
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.
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.
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