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.
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"We all need at least one daughter"
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!)
"Ambitious but Falls Short"
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...
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.
"Great narration ... poor writing"
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!
"Didn't care for the reader"
It was a good book but the male actor was awful. I had to push through the book.
"No Pulled Punches"
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.
"An excellent story"
This was an excellent book. The narrators did a great job. The book while short gives you a look at what families go through when a family member contracts a fatal and debilitating disease.
I did not like the narration, fake accents were annoying, disappointed with the ending, it was abrupt.
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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