In "Remind Me Who I Am, Again, " Linda Grant tells the story of her mother's gradual but devastating mental deterioration, her diagnosis as a victim of Alzheimer's disease, and her family's struggle to come to terms with the catastrophic impact of the disease. Iimmensely moving, at times darkly comic, and searingly honest, it combines biography ...Read MoreIn "Remind Me Who I Am, Again, " Linda Grant tells the story of her mother's gradual but devastating mental deterioration, her diagnosis as a victim of Alzheimer's disease, and her family's struggle to come to terms with the catastrophic impact of the disease. Iimmensely moving, at times darkly comic, and searingly honest, it combines biography and memoir in a unique examination of the profound questions of identity, memory, and autonomy that dementia raises.Read Less
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This is an extremely thoughtful book. It tells the story of the rapid decline of Rose Grant through dementia and the pain and guilt this causes her daughters, Linda (the author) and Michele. Rose has MID (Multi Infarct Dementia) which causes clots and small deaths to parts of the brain. We are introduced to her shopping with Linda for an outfit to wear at Michele's wedding. She says more than once, "Have I told you that I've been diagnosed as having a memory loss?' (page 8). Towards the end of the book, she can no longer remember that she has any memory loss at all.
We are introduced to the world she inhabited in the 1950's, a world of much shopping, of designer clothes and furs, of luxury and ease. She and her husband observe certain days in the Jewish faith, but do not let their faith interfere with their trips and rich existence. The family members on the periphery, the sisters-in-law and cousins, give us other facets of Rose, how she was thought of, how she reacted to them.
It is easy to see in this enlightened age, how a lifestyle of rich foods and little exercise could have, if not brought on the illness, certainly exacerbated it. At one stage, Rose lives practically on cakes and sweets.
By the 1990's, the fun-loving, shopping Rose is a widow, living in a Jewish-run Home for patients like herself, unhappy, inclined to rages when not getting her own way, and thinking of her daughters as composites of various family members.
Linda Grant (columnist and feature writer for The Guardian) writes with a quiet, intelligent voice, not holding back from the grittiness of this dreadful illness, taking us through the difficulties, the pain and guilt of having her mother in a home. There are no routines for the demented, routines which give comfort to those of us who are well, only confusion and tears as different moods sweep over the patient, to the distress of her daughters.
But strangely this is not a depressing book. It is an important one in that it shows deep insights into what happens to these victims. And it is absorbing and with a sort of beauty because of the caring and love which is behind all the words. To be recommended for those who want to understand this affliction.
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