The Last of His Mind: A Year in the Shadow of Alzheimer's

John Thorndike, Author Swallow Press $24.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-8040-1122-8
In this engrossing memoir, author Thorndike (Anna DeLaney's Child, Another Way Home: A Single Father's Story) tells a touching story of family, death, discovery and devotion, in which Thorndike probes his journalist father's accomplishments and losses, his relationships and his wife's tragic suicide. When his father Joe Thorndike, suffering at age 92 from congestive heart failure and the onset of Alzheimer's disease, can no longer take care of himself, Thorndike offers to live with him. Over the following year, Thorndike chronicles his father's growing incapacity, and seeks to learn more about him despite the dying man's lifelong all-but-impenetrable reserve. While much of the book details Thorndike's difficulties caretaking for his father, he heightens the proceedings with family tales, including some from his father's editorial work at the heyday of Life, working with bold named figures like the Luces, Whittaker Chambers, James Thurber and Winston Churchill. A beautiful book, this memoir reveals the painful chaos of Alzheimer's, as well as the strength, faith and unexpected joys that come with caring for a loved one in his last days.
Reviewed on: 11/02/2009
Release date: 11/01/2009
Open Ebook - 257 pages - 978-0-8040-4037-2
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-8040-1136-5
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