Grab your tissues and favorite James Galway music and prepare to laugh and cry through Kate Whouley's (Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved) narrative of the challenges and rewards inherent in caring for a parent with Alzheimer's disease, as well as the power of music to heal our souls.
Whouley's story begins with the release of her first book, which her mother declares an acceptable substitute for grandchildren. An ominous note underscores the joy as Whouley describes their blissful ignorance in the time before her mother began showing early symptoms of Alzheimer's. Soon Whouley's life becomes a whirlwind of caring for her mother, educating herself about the disease and stretching to afford the cost of assisted living. On top of navigating the exhausting practical matters, Whouley faces the emotional torture of watching her mother transform from the brilliant, successful woman she knew into a forgetful, angry echo of her former self. Through all the pain and pitfalls, Whouley finds solace through making music with the flute her mother bought her in grade school.
While the subject signals a potential sob story, Whouley gracefully keeps a balance between poignancy and humor. Her intelligent, sensitive voice is a treat whether she relates her philosophy, a funny anecdote or a heart-wrenching decision. Her explanation that Alzheimer's helped her relationship with her mother in some ways is a monument to humanity's power to see blessings even in curses. Readers may expect this book to break their hearts but also to uplift them.
***This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness Readers Edition. Sign up for this free and awesome newsletter at http://www.shelf-awareness.com for the latest news and reviews! This review refers to an ARC provided by Shelf Awareness.***