One journalist's riveting -- and surprising -- in the trenches look at Alzheimer's.
Like many children of Alzheimer's sufferers, Lauren Kessler, an accomplished journalist, was devastated by the disease that seemed to erase her mother's identity. But suppose people with Alzheimer's are not slates wiped blank? Suppose they experience friendship and loss. romance and jealousy, joy and sorrow? To better understand this debilitating condition, Kessler enlists as a bottom-of-the-rung caregiver at an Alzheimer's facility and learns lessons that challenge what we think we know about this disease. The narrative weaves together three stories: the surpisingly vibrant, quirky lives of the people who suffer from this disease; the Nickel-and Dimed existence of the overworked, underpaid women who care for them; and the story of Kessler's difficult relationship with her own mother. A compelling, clear-eyed and emotionally resonant narrative, the book opens a window onto world few of us know and all of us fear, and offers a new, optimistic look at what the disease can teach us about life, aging and death.