Where Memories Meet: Reclaiming My Father After Alzheimer's is a powerful father/daughter love story depicting Alzheimer's shattering effect on patients and their families. Grote's weekly visits to help her parents over a four-year period were reminiscent of my own weekly journeys during the last two years of each of my parent's lives, although my parents died of the ravages of cancer and were fully cognizant to the last days of their lives. Grote also referred to her father as her rock, as I often did my father. Classified under dementia, Alzheimer's is a merciless thief. It is the only one of the top ten causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
The outline of the disease stages inserted at the beginning of the chapters were extremely helpful. As her father's disease progressed, his symptoms became increasingly like textbook descriptions of the Alzheimer's symptoms she was describing. Family photos were placed throughout the memoir; these added a sense of community with the writer, her father and their family. I admired the way Grote and her sisters pulled together to provide assistance as needed for their parents. As her father's abilities became increasingly compromised, the family celebrated even slight eye recognition and a few words, spoken as in the old days. Those times were cherished as good days. But there were many more bad days.
Grote chronicles her interviews with her dad over the four-year period of his Alzheimer's. This memoir's construction is unusual; it begins with his funeral in January 2013, while the next chapter introduces his parents and his birth in 1933. Every other chapter rotates from his death to the initial diagnoses of his Alzheimer's while the alternating chapters relate her father's family history from the beginning of his life, chronologically as he ages. I came to love and respect the author's father. He was truly a remarkable man. And I felt worse about his death at the end of the book than I did at the beginning, when I did not know him.
The loss of recognition may be one of the last symptoms, yet before that, Alzheimer's steals the pieces of its victim's lives, one step at a time. Because of the alternating chapters, it took me a while to catch on to the rhythm of Christine's writing; it was like two parallel stories in one book. But, after all, the title is Where Memories Meet. And indeed they do. I am glad I persevered. It is a memoir that will stay with me long after reading it.
Christine M. Grote earned a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton, Ohio in 1979. After working in product development at Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, she became a full-time homemaker as she raised three sons and a daughter. In 1999, she returned to school at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, earning a bachelor's degree in English in 2007. Visit her website.
Authors/Publicists: For promotion purposes, you may quote excerpts of up to 200 words from our reviews, with a link to the page on which the review is posted. ©Copyright to the review is held by the writer (review posting date appears on the review page). If you wish to reprint the full review, you may do so ONLY with her written permission, and with a link to http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org. Contact our Book Review Editor (bookreviews at storycirclebookreviews.org) with your request and she will forward it to the appropriate person.
StoryCircleBookReviews.org has received a copy of this book for review from the author, publisher, or publicist. We have received no other compensation.