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Publisher's Summary

"I know where I'm going. I'm still myself. I just can't remember things as well as I once did. So on short trips, I work hard not to be confused. I'll say to myself, What are we going to do? How long are we staying? It's like I'm talking to my other self - the self I used to be. She tells me, This is what we need to buy - not that. I'm conscious of that other self guiding me now."

Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven B. Smith is struggling at 66 with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer's patient. She's not alone. Every 67 seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks.

B. and her husband, Dan, working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, unstintingly share their unfolding story. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with practical and helpful advice, listeners learn about dealing with Alzheimer's day-to-day challenges: the family realities and tensions, ways of coping, coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.

At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story illuminating a love of family, life, and hope.

©2016 B. Smith and Dan Gasby (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"What an amazing couple and what an amazing book! It is medically and scientifically accurate, and yet places this devastating disease in the context of a beautiful and intimate relationship. We must do better as a community, in our families and within our government in responding to this disease. African-Americans are especially called upon to get more involved in the research as this disease disproportionately impacts us." (Dr. David Satcher, former surgeon general of the United States)
"...An enduring love story." ( Publisher's Weekly)
"The vulnerability, courage, and honesty in Before I Forget are heart-opening. Fear can be paralyzing...yet B. and Dan beautifully demonstrate that there is a different way to approach this stealthy invader. Alzheimer's needs to come out of the shadows, and this book is an important step." (Maria Shriver)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 01-29-16

Poignant Memoir, Stirring Call to Action

This is part love story, part call to action, part information for the un- or newly initiated. And it's all good. Parts of it get very technical, but it's all interesting, and of course it's evened out and Alzheimer's is given its face by showing what it's doing to B and Dan. They are unstintingly open with their lives, and it's heartbreaking.
It is also, however, galling at times. Dan, and he is honest about it, picks a lot of battles that are ridiculous. How about not having how you feel about the entirety of your day hinge upon whether your wife can find her purse easily or not? Or maybe have a lot of purses everywhere? I don't know, I know it's hard; we have it now in our family too, and you have to be creative and oh so resilient. And you have to, as Dan says, over and over, "remind yourself that you can't reason with someone who has lost the ability to reason."
Now where Dan HAS picked a battle and is truly, truly awesome, is in the fight to raise awareness of and money for research for Alzheimer's. That man has some spectacular ideas, and really, he has conviction to no end.
In this memoir, only the narration falters a bit, as Dan reads his own words, bit by bit, haltingly at times, but when he's casual, he's golden. And when B. speaks, you just love her. You just want the best for her, and you just hate the disease.
This is a spectacular book, a bit technical, but filled with warmth, tears, and laughter too.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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The Caregivers Point of View

I read this because it was a book club read. I am glad I did. It is a very open and honest view of the challenge of dealing with early onset Alzheimers. Dan Gatsby provides a very open and heartbreaking story of the journey of identifying B. Smith's alzheimers diagnosis and the challenge of being the caregiver for someone you love. The narration by B. Smith gives you the perspective from the person who has the disease. Must read for anyone affected by this disease.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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<br />Thank You Mr. Dansby

Mr. Dansby told this story with great passion and love. I found the book to be very informative and interesting. I remember B. Smith' cooking on TV and always admired her beauty.
I've had several family members to die from this awful disease! !!. A cure is needed!! Thank you Mr. Dansby for being so passionate about this monster that is taking away our love ones.
May God bless you on your journey to help get word out what we need to do to help.
l'm going to the site that you mention in the book.
Praying for B. and Mr. D.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Timely Information

What a timely book to listen to! This disease is impacting our family now and has impacted so many others I know. Dan and Barbara provide honest insight into their experiences. They should be commended for their efforts to educate others in their process. This should be read by everyone. Awareness is knowledge. I thank the two of them for writing this book and opening up their lives to all of us. May God Bless them during the rest of their journey. I pray a cure can be found and will take action on some of the data Dan provided starting with the Brain Registry.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Insight

A guide step by step discussion on the experience of taking care of a love one with this disease of surprise symptoms that are as different as day or night. Loved this so muched.

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This is way more than B. Smith's life story. This book is full of information, resources and suggestions!

Before I forget is a huge resource that pulls together many of the mental notes I have been filing about Alzheimer's Disease. It seems to be all around me and it is such a thief and a robber. Barbara Smith's husband Dan has written this book from a spouse's perspective which is very helpful. The disease robs your loved one of his/her dignity which keeps the discussions muted because you don't want to cast this stigma on them. Give it a try or gift it to someone you care for who is locked in the Alzheimer's caretakers jail.

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Great story

I have a family member dealing with Alzheimer's now. It was comforting to hear Mr. Gasby struggles and see that they were similar to mine. A definite read for anyone dealing with this terrible disease.

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Very, very, very informative .

I loved the story. As an African American, I chose to share this book to share with my book club. We all can think of someone we know and or love with the disease. Alzheimer's affects us more than we realize. I hope to help bring more awareness to Alzheimer's Disease and the many causal factors. I'm also hoping generate more interest and participation in clinical trials. Thank you for sharing your story. MB.

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Learned so much!

Touching story about how dementia progresses. Lots of advice on how to cope as the caregiver. In a sense a love story.

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Unforgettable

Thoroughly enjoyed this personal, heartfelt, informative memoir of our much loved role model and family's continuing journey.