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Publisher's Summary

An acclaimed biographer, Lauren Kessler immerses herself in her work to construct compelling portraits of her subjects. In Dancing with Rose, she recounts her time at a West Coast Alzheimer's facility. Working as an unskilled resident assistant, Kessler learns important lessons about humanity while conducting interviews with patients in various stages of the disease.
©2007 Lauren Kessler; (P)2007 Recorded Books

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

The Living Person, Not the Dying Neuron

Okay. Let me just get this with the narration out of the way:
If you can get through the audible, hesitant breathy pauses, the audible swallowing, you're golden, 'cause underneath all that, Ruth Ann Phimister rocks it, with incredible sensitivity, proper emotion; you name it, she delivers on this truly incredible story (which is why I didn't squelch her on the star-count).
And really, this was such a great audiobook, an amazing look at Alzheimer's; it was uplifting, almost, but never ever glossed over the horrors of the disease. It just reminded the reader that, yes, there's a person in there, a person who loved, and laughed, and who gets scared now.
This memoir is based on Kessler's desire to work in a care facility, just to see what it's like as a caregiver, get the rhythm of the work, blah, blah, blah; no big deal, for a couple of weeks. She doesn't expect to be drawn in by the residents, and she certainly doesn't expect to also feel a sense of wanting to be closer to her mother who died of Alzheimer's, a mother she was estranged from. She goes from the person who used to be freaked out by "those people," to the person who goes in on her days off, the person who just can't seem to quit the temporary job.
It's a beautiful, beautiful book, filled with the stories of the residents, who they used to be and what they lost to who they are now and what they might have gained; filled with stories of the staff who go above and beyond low-paying jobs, who think outside the box to bring light and a sense of life-right-now to each and every person; filled with stories of Lauren Kessler as she comes to terms with the relationship she had with her mother to the relationships she can have now with the elderly women who desperately need unconditional love.
This was such a surprise of a book. This was such a damned blessing...!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Alzheimer's From A Caregiver's Viewpoint

Lauren Kessler decided to work in an Alzheimer's ward to make up for how poorly she did when her own mother had Alzheimer's. In finding redemption, she also discovers the humanity and life found in Alzheimer's patients. As the spouse/caregiver of a woman with early-onset Alzheimers I can appreciate the author's journey to understanding and appreciation of those trapped in the moment. I hope readers come to understand that this disease may be challenging but it doesn't have to be frightening. Dealing with Alzheimer,s begins an act of acceptance.

Hats off to Lauren and to the other caregivers who's selfless work for minimum wage make the last years of Alzheimer's patients comfortable and occasionally fun.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastic True Story of Learning

Where does Dancing with Rose rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the Best!

What did you like best about this story?

The best thing about this story is that the author learned a positive way of being with Alzheimer's patients and faced her ow shortcomings in relation to her mother.

What three words best describe Ruth Ann Phimister’s voice?

Older than expected. Although I got used to her voice, it did not sound like the voice of someone the age of the author. Since the book is written in first-person, I was expecting the voice to "match" that of the author more closely.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several. The moments when the author realized that she actually enjoyed being with Alzheimer's patients and when she realized that there is still much to learn from people with the disease -- not just medically, but intellectually and emotionally as well.

Any additional comments?

This book made me look at my own mother's diagnosis not as one of sadness and despair, but as one which can be handled positively and lovingly.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Cecilia
  • Des Moines, IA, United States
  • 07-20-12

This Is Reality-all the madness & gladness.

Where does Dancing with Rose rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top ten authors of all the books I've listened to-It is so real, well it is real, not fiction.<br/><br/> Initially, I found it hard to believe that anyone would continue to stay in a job that was "undercover" to get iformation to write a book.The job is basically maintenance of Alzheimers' patients And it is, literally, a sh-tty job. <br/><br/> But there is a personal aspect that the author has to deal with. She does it w/ honesty and guilt.<br/>We all have our "I -wish- I- would- haves." She does too.<br/><br/> I liked this book better than "Still Alice." It is an older book.<br/><br/> The disease is not. It goes on and on.<br/>

What other book might you compare Dancing with Rose to and why?

It reminds me of "Still Alice." <br/>But this is told from a different point of view.

Which character – as performed by Ruth Ann Phimister – was your favorite?

All were good.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes. The observation about the clothing.<br/>The author could sort of tell which patients had family members that cared about them by the condition of their clothing.<br/> Buttons on shirts, or no buttons, for example.

Any additional comments?

I really liked this book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very warm and caring

I would recommend "Dancing with Rose" to anyone who cares for or loves anyone with Alzheimers. Ms. Kessler tells the story of caring for Alzheimers residents in a very interesting and understanding way. I learned a few caregiving tips too.
Barbara

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Moving and memorable

tales from an Alheimer's ward and the love and hope to be found there.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful