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Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's Hardcover – August 17, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
*Starred Review* By the time Gillies’ family moved into their new home—a remote, three-story Victorian behemoth—her mother-in-law Nancy’s Alzheimer’s was in its mid-stages and her father-in-law Morris was physically impaired, though still mobile. It won’t take readers long to marvel at the strength and stamina of this woman who undertook not just the 24/7 care of her in-laws, but also house and grounds renovation, bed-and-breakfast hosting, and parenting her and her husband Chris’ three children, to say nothing about writing, all in the near-isolation of a peninsula in northern Scotland. The point is, they all survived. Even after Nancy greeted B&B guests dressed only in her underpants. Even after Morris lost all mobility. Even after Nancy wandered off-grounds and was found lying in the road. They survived even after Gillies suffered a major meltdown one day while home alone with Nancy. Amid the insanity (yes, Alzheimer’s can make caregivers feel insane), Gillies amassed a library of information on the disease from which she shares details and data. And beyond that, the key to Gillies’ personal strength resides in the numerous literary and philosophical observations she frequently quotes and from which she draws inspiration in this awesome chronicle. --Donna Chavez
“Forthright, smartly researched, and warmly recounted…Gillies writes with a novelist’s eye for detail, and her unflinching rendering of Nancy’s excruciating loss of self is skillfully and tenderly drawn…An invaluable resource.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“With an economy of expression, an eye for detail and a storyteller’s knack for dialogue, Gillies charts Nancy’s terrible course from doddering to vicious and her own decline into caregiver dementia…An unvarnished cautionary tale.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The key to Gillies’ personal strength resides in the numerous literary and philosophical observations she frequently quotes and from which she draws inspiration in this awesome chronicle.” —Booklist (starred review)
Praise from Abroad for KEEPER
"This is one of the most moving and important books that I have read on Alzheimer's." — John Bayley, Author of Elgy for Iris
“Overflows with history, literature…[a] compassionate account.” – Times Literary Supplement
“A painfully honest account.” —Daily Express
“The most poignant aspect of Keeper is the way Gillies traces the increasingly unbearable pressures that are placed on carers as patients progress from memory lapses, not remembering important life events and no longer recognizing family members, to the final advanced stage that Gillies calls the ‘darkest shadow.’” —The Lancet
“Andrea Gillies’s account of living with Alzheimer’s is the perfect fusion of narrative with enough memorable science not to choke you. It’s a fantastic book—down to earth and darkly comic in places.” —The Psychologist
“In Keeper there is hope and humanity and the warmth of sacrifice.” —Catholic Herald
“Deeply moving.” —Daily Mail
Top customer reviews
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Now, as my mother's condition worsens, I want to read the book again so I've purchased my own copy. I have no doubt that there are sections I will find even more helpful this time around.
After reading this, I cannot say I would ever do what she did. Her kids and her marriage had to suffer.
I highly recommend this book.