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Only with the Heart

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  39 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
After a childhood spent in foster homes and a lifetime of longing, Claudia has finally found a family: a devoted husband, Sam, and a loving and supportive mother, Eleanor. But soon Eleanor develops Alzheimer's -- complete with violent eruptions, speechlessness, incontinence, and suicide attempts -- and Claudia's beautiful life becomes a nightmare. When Eleanor is unexpecte ...more
Paperback, 1st, 323 pages
Published September 9th 2000 by Arcade Publishing
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Only with the Heart is the story of a family being torn apart by Alzheimer’s disease. Claudia, who grew up a foster child, has finally found a family amongst that of her husband Sam. His mother, Eleanor, becomes her own mother, and everyone in the family loves and accepts her. After Sam and Claudia's marriage, however, things head downhill. Eleanor is falling deeper and deeper into her illness, and when her own husband dies, she goes to live with her son and daughter-in-law. Eleanor’s mind, and ...more
Oct 24, 2012 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was definitely not written for the mass market, so if you are looking for a traditional style novel, think twice before you read this one.

Like the Kommandant's Mistress, the writing style is troubling, for it is much like our minds probably are, with just a little editing. The book is divided into three sections - one is from the view of a woman (Claudia) who ends up on trial for the murder (assisted suicide) of her mother-in-law (Eleanor), who had Alzheimer's. The second section is fr
Aug 07, 2012 Staci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only with the Heart is a sad yet compelling read. As a lover of fine literature I found Alexandria Constantinova Szeman a wonderful writer. The book being told from three different points of vies mimics real life as we get to see events from each perspective. I am giving this book a 5 star and would highly recommend it to anyone willing to take the time for a close good read.

My rating system is as follows:

5 stars - Excellent, Worth Every Penny, Made It Into My Personal Library!
4 stars - Great bo
Glenn Trust
Feb 10, 2014 Glenn Trust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insightful and intelligently written, "Only with the Heart" takes you on a poignant and often painful journey into the lives of a family dealing with a terrible disease that impacts everyone associated with the person afflicted. The struggles of the three principle characters, including the victim of the disease, are detailed through first person accounts of their view of the events surrounding the decline of the victim and the impact that decline has on each individual.

While I am not a fan of
Jan 26, 2014 Kerri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

I am not going to be able to do this novel justice with my review. Simply put, it was amazing. I can't think of any other book quite like this one. At first, the narration style can be jarring and off-putting, but once I got used to it the story just flowed.

Claudia is on trial for the murder of her mother-in-law Eleanor, who suffered from Alzheimer's. The story is told in 3 parts. First from Claudia's perspective, then from Eleanor'
Megan Courtney
"Only with the Heart" is one of the most unique books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Not only does it challenge its readers with a heartwrenching tale of a family suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's disease, but it also challenges its readers with the style of writing -- "flowing prose that leaps over decades and events," as the Dayton Daily News wrote. It keeps readers constantly on their toes, and reads like a train of thoughts. I commend Alexandria Constantinova Szeman for her ...more
A good reads giveaway winner. A personalized and signed edition to boot. Nice touch. (My Mother will enjoy seeing that.) Thank you for a lovely book.

Alexandria Szeman has a unique writing style. It took me a while to appreciate the style in which it was written. Once I became used it it, I really enjoyed this read. Compared to the novel "Turn of Mind", which is also about a patient with dementia and a dead body, this one was far more suspenseful and had more emotional impact.

Szeman has a way of
Apr 30, 2012 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I really liked the variety of the points of view. I could tell the difference between each voice. While I am not sure about the accuracy, I liked reading the POV of someone with Alzheimers. I was not completely satisfied with the ending though since it kind of ended abruptly.
Aug 06, 2012 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a heart warming, heart wrenching and in depth story. The journey this family endures because of a terminal illness keeps you engaged in the ever developing story line. Alzheimer is a horrible disease but many of us do not know the courage, love and strength it takes to survive it and many families do not.
Aug 18, 2012 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book through a Goodreads 'First Read' giveaway.

About two chapters into this book & I felt hooked. I couldn't put it down. It was so heartbreaking. This novel definitely became one of my favorites.
Jamie Lynn
I thought the book was interesting. I didn't care much for the writing style simply because it didn't allow the character to develop more fully. It was good in the since that it really made me think about what I would do if I was in Claudia's situation.
Erica Enriquez
Dec 13, 2013 Erica Enriquez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was brilliantly hurtful. A little hard to follow at times, but the story wins. It's beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
Erica rated it liked it
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Abeer Al-alkami
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Jan 21, 2013 Alexandria rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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Award-winning, critically acclaimed author of New York Times Book Review's "Best Book" and Kafka Award Winner for "The Outstanding Book of Prose Fiction by an American Woman," The Kommandant's Mistress ( Szeman's True Crime Memoir, M is for Munchers: The Serial Killers Next Door ( empowers abuse victims.

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