The Living End: A Memoir of Forgetting and Forgiving
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The Living End: A Memoir of Forgetting and Forgiving

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  70 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The Living End is a tribute to an unforgettable woman, and a testimonyto the way a disease can awaken an urgent desire for love and forgiveness.Told withsparkling wit and warmth, The Living Endwill resonate with families coping with Alzheimer's, and any reader looking for hope and inspiration.

Robert Leleux’s grandmother JoAnn was a steel magnolia, an elegant and devastatin...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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Top 10 Things You Can Learn From Reading Robert Leleux’s Latest Memoir, The Living End

Many of us have friends or family who have been diminished by Alzheimer’s. And most of us believe that having your mind fail you would be a fate worse than death. OK. Be honest. How many of you have made this kind of pact with your spouse, “Honey, if that ever happens to me, just shoot me.”? This seems to be especially important to those in academia or the literary world—where being intelligent is what we appea...more
William Torgerson
Robert Leleux is funny and smart. He's turned his attention to a hilarious character of a lady: his grandmother.

I'm a native Hoosier (means I'm from Indiana) and married to a Southerner. I enjoyed Robert's assessment here:

"People are always resistant to this idea, but Texans and New Yorkers have a lot in common. In both places, personalities are bred for size and splash. Needless to say, size and splash aren't of top concern to your typical, tight-lipped Hoosier." (112)

And here's a memorable sa...more
Kelley Tackett
wonderful story.
George Ilsley
Obviously heartfelt, but I kept feeling something was missing, even though the topic is one of almost universal experience (certainly well withing the range of my current experience).

Surgery is always risky, and especially for older patients. It is commonly known that many do not recover from the anesthetic (although apparently not that commonly known). I wondered if the grandmother's impulsive decision for surgery was actually one of the first signs of the rational mind wandering off.

Of course...more
This is a short sweet memoir about the author's feisty and adored grandmother's descent into the abyss that is Alzheimer's disease. It is also the story of an estranged family coming together to care for the grandmother and the healing of long-standing family rifts.

This is a very quick read and does provide some insight into one possible benefit of Alzheimer's disease: the forgetting of so many past wrongs by those who can no longer remember them and the forgiving of so many past wrongs by those...more
Richard Kramer
A moving and somehow hilarious memoir about a man's beloved grandmother Joanne sliding into the great
forgetting of Alzheimer's. What makes it soar is the real story, which is how the author's mother, bewigged, bejewelled, overly-married, long estranged from her own mother, re-enters the picture and finds the connection she has always wanted with Joanne and been too proud to ask for. Leleux sees the illness as a strange gift that alters the forgive-forget polarity into one of forget-forgive. This...more
My mother could have been described as a steel magnolia. It was necessary for her to move into my home for a period of four years. Then, as I was no longer able to care for her physical needs, she moved to a private assisted living home 1.1 miles from my home. This book was so familiar - it made me laugh & cry. I do not care for using "Alzheimer's " as a diagnosis/description for all dementia, but I liked this book. I could have written most of it myself.
I recommend this as a Good Read for a...more
Amy Hearth
This is a short memoir that will stay with you forever. The topic is a difficult one - Alzheimer's - but in many ways the tragedy of that disease takes a backseat to the real story, which concerns a fractured family, proud and feisty Texas women (are there any other kind?), and, most importantly, love. This book could so easily have turned into a heap of sentimentality or maudlin prose, but it does not. In fact, it gets better as it goes on, with some truly thoughtful and memorable reflections n...more
Leleux's memoir of the time he spent with his grandmother both before and after Alzheimer's disease is flat-out beautiful. He's witty and wry, snarky and spiritual, loving and loved. His trenchant observations are sprinkled with poetry and classical allusions and New York sass. I loved JoAnn, I loved learning about Leleux's dysfunctional but incredible family.

I want to read his other book right away, and I hope he's writing something else soon. 4.5 stars
Author keeps focus in this small book (125 pages and could fit easily in a purse or pocket); adding the story of his mother-in-law, who does not have Alzheimer's herself, enhanced things, rather than padded them. Recommended especially for families of Alzheimer's patients, although the writing quality makes it a good read in general.
Just as delightful as his first book. LeLeux contemplates the meaning of identity and how letting go of painful memories (actually losing them in the case of his grandmother) can bring peace and happiness. A reminder that your biography is not your identity.
Interesting book that had me laughimg out loud at some points, simply because I am going through some of the some issues with a beloved grandmother right now and sometimes you just hae to laugh. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the ARC.
One of the most tender memoirs I've read in a long time. The wit and humor, mixed with Mr. Leleux truth is amazing. Love this book.
Susan Cushman
Awesome book about living and loving family members with Alzheimer's (my mother has it).... Terrific read!
Danielle Woods
My grandfather also had alzheimer's so I could relate to some of things he talked about!
Good book, loved the story of the life of his grandmother. She was a special lady.
Probably shouldn't have read it at the same time as "End of Your Life Book Club".
At first, I loved it, but is a fairy tale.
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