Seventy-one and a man used to controlling those around him, Saul finds himself slipping into what he describes as his slow dance with death.
His ramblings, humor, emotions, lucid moments, and confusion are laid bare as well as the thoughts and feelings of his loved ones: his wife, Monique, conflicted and depressed, caring yet angry; his daughter, Florence, compassionate yet proper and reserved; his son, Joey, self-centered and narcissistic, seemingly indifferent to his family's challenges; and his doctor, an Alzheimer's specialist who cares for Saul until his final days.
From the beginning Saul and his family know how it has to end because no one has ever outsmarted Alzheimer's. But as they navigate the meandering road that will eventually bring Saul's demise, they leave behind their once disconnected lives and come together to weather their difficult journey.
Heartfelt and moving, this lauded novel, winner of 2014 gold medals from the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Readers' Favorite Book Awards, and the Living Now Book Award for Inspirational Fiction, will appeal to fans of Lisa Genova's Still Alice or Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook.
©2015 Eric Rill (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
I think "An Absent Mind" tries a little too hard and goes too many places with too little focus. The character's emotions and personality traits are all over the map, they are who they are, either gracious or resentful with little rhyme or reason and it gets annoying. You can't really care for any of them. Alzheimer's was presented well enough with the long term memory being far more readily apparent than short term, but it seemed to cause the family more annoyance than agony. As someone who has it in the family right now, I've gotta say, I was expecting a lot more.
Maybe to those unschooled and just looking for a light read/listen, this'll be good enough, but really, I don't think the character's are developed enough to carry the 4+ hours, short as they may be. Unpopular, maybe, but there you go. My two cents.
Further, the performances are downright annoying. Maybe a daily deal or something? Just make sure you can tolerate the narration...
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
An Absent Mind is a fictionalized but honest story of Alzheimer's from time of diagnosis until death. I suspect that most of us over age 40 have had a family member with Alzheimer's or other dementia. In this story the 71 year old man diagnosed with dementia was married for 44 years at the time of diagnosis and he had an adult daughter and an adult son. His wife insisted on taking care of him at home for far too long and as a result she did not take care of herself. She died before he did. That happens far to often.
I can state from personal experience with my parents (my mom had Alzheimer's) that the story is a typical one.
My parents had only sons; at least the man in the story had a daughter. I dislike gender stereotyping, but daughters are much more likely to be there and help than sons. I'm thankful for our two wonderful daughters especially since my wife and I are senior citizens. (I'm thankful for our son, also!)
I really enjoyed this book! I thought it did a great job of showing different perspectives of all the people involved when one family member has a terminal illness. I also thought it was great how the author showed that people's reactions and understanding of each other can be mistaken. The way everyone in the family assumed Joey was a loser, just to find that Joey felt unloved and in the end, he's the one who cared for his dad's most beloved companion and cared for his mother. And I felt like the ending was perfect. It really seem true to life. This hit close to home for me because several members of my family are suffering from or have passed from Alzheimer's, and I am very terrified that my future holds the same.
I think that next to Fredrick Bachman's "A Man Called Ove" this book will always stay in my heart more than any other book(s) I have listened to. Alzheimer's is a devastating disease, and Eric Rill did an amazing job in showing the various points of view of both the patient and his family members. He even shows the mindset of the physician treating Saul.
It was not difficult to understand the feelings that each character expressed. I identified with all of them which I guess isn't that unusual based on my family relations and dealing with the prolonged illnesses and deaths of both an ex-husband with whom I was still close and then my beloved husband.
There are so many feelings that arise during a lengthy illness. It's often difficult to deal with those feelings, but the author was spot on with so many of them here.
The narration was excellent...really excellent! Sandra Burr and Mel Foster "lived" their readings. I usually forgot that I was not listening to Saul and Monique and Florence and Joey. That, to me, is talent.
I am so glad that this book was recommended to me in an email from Audible. I will listen to it again, and I highly recommend it.
Interesting and very sad story. Something I am not looking forward too! I have mild dementia.
Wow, this truly hit home! My father died of Alzheimers in 2011. I will never forget the day my father didn't know me in 2009. How can a mind just turn on someone like that? This is such a devastating disease and one I pray a cure will be found soon!
This book had a predictably sad ending, as there is only one possible outcome for an Alzheimer's sufferer. But it was told with humor and truth from the voices of those affected. I was slightly disappointed by the ending, as throughout we were hearing from the voices of the family. The stark contrast of the obituary was somehow not in keeping with the story, I would have preferred one last chapter from Florence or Joey. Overall I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.
No emotional attachment to the story or characters despite the gravity of the storyline. Didnt work for me. Even the characters, though they were a family, seemed emotionally detached. Nothing to grab you and no one to relate to. Inmost likely will not read anything else by Eric Rill. However, the performers did an excellent job!
Although the subject is scary and oh so real and the characters are flawed, the story is compelling. Saul's and Monique's long time marriage is full of enmity and unrequited caring. Their daughter, Florence, and son, Joey, are well defined supporting characters with unique sets of family angst and life challenges.
I really liked that each character spoke in his or her own voice including Saul's doctor who fills us in on medical jargon and shares the perspective of a medical professional.
The audio performances were dead on.
This was an easy book to read. I found the characters individual perspective very interesting. At times sad & touching but it does have some laugh out loud moments too!
A helpful & informative book for anyone embarking on this sad journey without too much medical jargon!
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