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All the Dancing Birds

4.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  360 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Lillie Claire Glidden is unraveling. She knows she’s in trouble when she finds her wallet and keys deep in the refrigerator, smelling of lettuce and forgetfulness. And not even her favorite California red wine can dull the pain of the dreaded diagnosis: Alzheimer’s.

As language starts to fail her and words disappear, Lillie Claire is determined to find a way to pass on the
Hardcover, First Edition, 250 pages
Published August 15th 2012 by Marcanti Clarke Literary Press (first published July 31st 2012)
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Real by Katy EvansSlammed by Colleen HooverNight Owl by M. PierceGabriel's Inferno by Sylvain ReynardBeautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
Best First Book by New Author
30th out of 1,287 books — 3,348 voters
The Carer by Scott  NelsonTime To Let Go by Christoph FischerStill Alice by Lisa GenovaAll the Dancing Birds by Auburn McCantaBuddy and Grace by John Ciarlo
Alzheimer's Disease in Fiction
4th out of 50 books — 64 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,263)
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Nov 04, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
I would have sworn the author must have had intimate experience with this disease. But Auburn shares that she did research with families who opened their homes to her. Bless them. I could not read it all at once. I had to walk away and come back. It was too real and too heartbreaking. My mom died of dementia and being her caretaker in her last year was the most challenging and rewarding role since being a mom. The letters in the book are beautifully and wholeheartedly written and make a striking ...more
Phyllis Eisenstadt

Try to imagine how it feels to lose words every day, then to lose knowledge of how to use ordinary household objects, and finally, to lose recognition of friends and family, all the while retaining a sense of self. The frustration, embarrassment, and agony of an Alzheimer's patient, family, friends, and care-givers is monumental, and the author's descriptive expertise makes this a never-to-be-forgotten novel—well-paced, tender, loving, emotional.

Throughout the entire book,
Lee Fullbright
May 08, 2013 Lee Fullbright rated it it was amazing
At first I wasn’t sure about this book, and not because the writing isn’t competent (it is more than competent; it is completely luminous), or that I didn’t care about the narrator who has Alzheimer’s (are you kidding? I wanted her for my mom).

It’s a silly reason, actually, but here it is: I couldn’t see how just one voice/narrator, and a grand total of three somewhat peripheral characters (as it turns out, because we don’t spend much time with them) would be enough to sustain a whole book (and
Feb 02, 2015 Marilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone interested in Alzheimer's and also to Allison Brendel .
Where do I even think to begin? I suppose, at the beginning.......Imagine being but 51 years young, and realizing that your gears are beginning to slip. Nothing big really, forgetting a dinner here, searching for the right word there. Ah, but then the next little glitches are not quite so little, and yet they are not by any means something to get too stressed over. Perhaps concerned, but you are still okay to be behind the wheel, right? I mean, missing that exit home, could be just due to a simp ...more
Gary Horton
Nov 27, 2012 Gary Horton rated it it was amazing
All The Dancing Birds is a beautiful story about something that scares the hell out of most of us.

Lillie Claire Glidden, a charming and lovable middle-age widow in Northern California, is slowly losing her mind and she knows it. Endless Post-it notes serve as a makeshift memory and briefly prop up her familiar routine, but these quickly fail her too. She fights the all-powerful, unseen menace of Alzheimer’s as, moment by moment; she slips from the world.

Juxtaposed to her quietly disintegrating l
Angel's Mum
Jan 13, 2015 Angel's Mum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was captured by the writing in this book; so beautifully written! I've never read another book about Alzheimer's victims that captures the likely thoughts and feelings of those suffering from this horrible disease better than this book does. I can't recommend it highly enough. It will touch your heart deeply, and I know it will linger for a long time after (especially important for those of us who are blessed to be caretakers of these special people).
Oct 02, 2012 Ann rated it it was amazing
one of the most moving books i've ever read. cried all the way through the last several chapters; couldn't stop - reading or crying.
Jul 29, 2015 Cait rated it liked it
This book is hard to read. I'm not one to cry easily over books. There have been some serious tearjerkers that haven't gotten to me at all (I'll cop to it, I didn't even get choked up while reading The Fault In Our Stars. Yeah, I'm heartless.) But this book... The last two chapters, well, my throat and eyes still hurt from doing that whole "I feel the crying coming but I'm not gonna do it" thing.

It's beautiful, everything in here is beautiful, but damn if it's not the most heartbreaking book I
Judy King
May 20, 2015 Judy King rated it it was amazing
I had to let this book "Marinate" a bit before I could put into words my feelings. Of the books I've read this year, this is certainly is the one I would have most hated to have missed and yet it was alternately terrifying and reassuring. And it's a book I struggled to read. None of us past a certain age really WANT to know more about what it is like to have Alzheimer's disease

Other than one or two absolute "bit players" there are just four characters in this revealing novel -- a grown son and
Nov 11, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book about a horrible, ruthless disease. Like others, I laughed and cried for Lillie Claire and for those I have known for whom this disease was a reality. I would not have discovered this book without Kindle Unlimited. I love it enough to buy a hard copy to read and reread, adding lots of highlights as I go through it. I do hope the author will write another book in the future.
Jul 05, 2014 Jeweleye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is it like to have Alzheimer's? How would anyone know since those who suffer with the disease are unable to describe the world they live in?

Yet culling from the experiences of people who have had a family member with Alzheimer's, Auburn McCanta has written a novel that reads like a memoir of someone who is passing through the stages, from the earliest moments of forgetfulness until the final days of helplessness. The narrator shares her shame at the symptoms, her awkward moments, and the lo
Jun 15, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful read told from the perspective on an Alzheimer patient. For anyone who has had a family member go through this terrible disease it is a unique perspective.
Mar 22, 2015 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
I love this book! It is a book that you start reading and do not want to put down. Days later, the story still resonates with me. I felt that I was with the main characters journey through Alzheimer's, learned to understand this disease further, both emotionally and physically and appreciated the relationship and inspiring way with the character and her children. I laughed, I cried and I was touched to my core throughout. I especially appreciate the authors style of writing and rich descriptions ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Jeanine rated it really liked it
I was mesmerized to read this book about Alzheimer's Disease told in the first person. This disease is terrible and I couldn't put this book down. Auburn McCanta does such a wonderful job of narrating Lillie Claire as she slowing descends into the illness of Alzheimer's.
Jun 20, 2015 MoHurley rated it it was amazing
This novel is a work of fiction told in the first person perspective, it's the memoir of Lillie Claire Glidden literally losing her mind. It's so poetically compelling—I forgot that it was a work of fiction. I found the story especially disturbing when Lillie Claire's language skills starts to fail her and the words disappear. The use of letters as a means to hold onto her past was an ingenious, if contrived, use of backstory. However, the character was a poet and writer. The letters gave the ch ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
While I did enjoy All the Dancing Birds, I felt like it wasn't as compelling as it could have been. It felt like it was really light on the story. Like there could have been more story. It was good, but not as great as other similar books I have read.

The story is told from Lillie Claire's point of view. It starts off on the day she realizes there is something not quite right with her mind. She forgets things, sometimes cannot think of words, or make her mouth say what she wants to say. It is qui
Sanja K
Jun 19, 2015 Sanja K rated it it was amazing
This was a very emotional book to me. It reminded me very much of my friend who died of brain tumor and the moments when she started losing her memory , forgetting language and losing control of her motor skills.
Lilli Claire, a woman in her early fifties suffers from Alzheimer's. In the beginning she just forgets where she put her keys, but she starts to struggle with directions, with words and does not remember basic facts about her children. The book is written in the first person and is very
May 10, 2014 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm floored. McCanta's debut novel hardly seems like an author's debut. She weaves together words in a way that most can only wish, hope, and pray to do. Her prose flows like the Calcasieu that I used to "tube" down.

Lillie Claire's journey with Alzheimer's Disease provides humor, sadness and insight. The novel may be fiction but I cannot imagine that it isn't as close to the real experience from a sufferer. My wish is that this book be read by all, especially those with family going through the
Jean Lee
Jul 27, 2015 Jean Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both of my parents died of Alzheimer’s. During their illness I read everything I could find about personal experiences with the disease. Although Mom and Dad have passed, I still download samples and try to keep up with all books in this genre. If a sample grips me tightly enough, I download the book. All the Dancing Birds, grasped my interest from the beginning.

It’s written from the first person experience of Lillie Claire, who is only in her mid-fifties, yet is experiencing lapses of clarity,
Cheryl Showers
Jul 08, 2015 Cheryl Showers rated it it was amazing
All the Dancing Birds gives us an extremely painful and personal view of Lillie Claire's hopeless battle with Alzheimer's disease. Much has been written about Alzheimer's disease, yet this fictitious account of Lillie Claire's ever losing fight with this debilitating disease enables its readers to understand just how devastating the disease is to its victims. Here are a couple of excerpts from the novel to give you a glimpse into the pain and confusion the main character experiences as Alzheimer ...more
Feb 16, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely one of the finest books I have read in some time. The words were stunning in their beauty. The subject was a difficult one (Alzheimer's); however, the power of the writing was such that the author made me feel as though I was actually experiencing Lillie Claire's pain and confusion in my own mind and body as she watched her words, thoughts, and mind slowly slip away to a place from which there was no return.
Oct 28, 2015 Birgit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just...Wow! The story, written in first person singular, describes the mental decay of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease; she used to be a teacher and writer, and the anguish of noticing how words she was able to wield before now fail her, the contrast between the decay of her memory and the powerful language used to describe this process - it is a book that will haunt the reader longer after he/she finished reading it. It's heartbreaking, funny, frightening, and gives you an insig ...more
Mandi Lynn
Jun 27, 2016 Mandi Lynn rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2015 Pam rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. The prose is so, so lovely---the subject is Alzheimer's though and it's frightening at the same time. I don't think I can bear to read it again, but I'll be forever thankful that I read it once.
Anna Johnson
Jun 22, 2015 Anna Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I agree with some that it was a little light on the story but, seeing as how I cried even with a lighthearted approach to Alzheimer's disease, I don't know how I would get through a more heavy-handed narrative. The characters and their reactions to the disease seem to run the gamut. The strength of Lillie Claire throughout the progression of her disease is amazing and I only hope that all those who suffer aren't as unable to vocalize their still very lucid thoughts as ...more
Misfits farm
Sep 09, 2015 Misfits farm rated it it was amazing
Where do I start? This is one of those books that stays with you. Not an easy read, but a brilliantly written account of what it must be like to suffer from Alzheimer's. You are there in Lillie Claire's mind and every action (or not..). From the time she found her purse under the lettuce, until the sparkles she could taste in her mouth. Not an emotional book for me, but very thought provoking. A book that would go a long way to others' understanding of this horrid illness. Stunningly written, be ...more
Jan Lewis
Sep 06, 2015 Jan Lewis rated it it was amazing
I save my 5 star reviews for only the best. This one is definitely one of the best. It is a poetic, beautiful journey from the thoughts of a woman descending into Alzheimer disease. It's simply lyrical in description. It is funny and sad at the same time that will bring a tear to your eye one moment and leave you laughing the next. The letters written to her children before she loses all of her thoughts are heart-warming. This is without doubt the best book I've read about Alzheimer's disease. T ...more
Andrew Kaye
Dec 17, 2013 Andrew Kaye rated it it was amazing
One of the most moving books I've read.
Jul 14, 2014 Lindis rated it it was amazing
Heartbreakingly lovely.
T.L. Cooper
Sep 18, 2013 T.L. Cooper rated it it was amazing
All the Dancing Birds by Auburn McCanta set my heart aflutter and my mind to dancing as it immersed me in Lillie Claire's struggle to hold on to herself. McCanta's lyrical prose wrapped me in the story like a comforting blanket as we traveled through Lillie Claire's good days and bad days. I cringed as Allison, Lillie Claire's daughter, struggled accept the reality of the changes in her mother as Lillie Claire lost her hold on her memories, her life, and her self. I blinked back tears as Bryan, ...more
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“you smile to think how lovely it is to have at least danced like a bird before your death.” 1 likes
“that was what your MeeMaw did. Every afternoon we sat on the porch with books spread open like birds’ wings in full flight, flashing across an endless sky of words. We read out loud, counting meter and foot, traveling worlds we knew we” 0 likes
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