At first I wasn't sure about this book, and not because the writing isn't competent (it is more than competent; it is completely luminous), or that I didn't care about the narrator who has Alzheimer's (are you kidding? I wanted her for my mom).
It's a silly reason, actually, but here it is: I couldn't see how just one voice/narrator, and a grand total of three somewhat peripheral characters (as it turns out, because we don't spend much time with them) would be enough to sustain a whole book (and me, who loves boatloads of characters and plot arcs intersecting plot arcs).
Well, what do I know? I was not only sustained, I was transported, and by 2am (when I should've been sleeping in prep for an early morning call), I was changed.
No spoilers here. Suffice to say that Auburn McCarta (an award-winning writer, and this book also picked up a recent award) is amazingly gifted. She moved me. She made me grateful for her work. She made heartbreaking moments exquisitely felt, but she also made me laugh, and she gave me understanding, too (those who know me know that my husband was also a victim of dementia). She made me want to buy a hundred copies of her book and give them all away, so everybody can feel and understand what this story evokes, that's how important I think McCarta and All the Dancing Birds are.
I hope this novel gets the promotion it needs and so richly deserves. I hope it's put in every library, and out there on every blog, and that it's not constantly compared to Lisa Genova's Still Alice (also about a woman with Alzheimer's--and Genova promoted Still Alice like nobody's business), because we don't need to compare the two. Yes, they share a focus, but they are different stories, very differently constructed. I highly recommend the beautifully wrought All the Dancing Birds--it's a story that will stay with me for a long, long time.