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The Story of My Father

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  316 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
In the fall of 1988, Sue Miller found herself caring for her father as he slipped into the grasp of Alzheimer's disease. She was, she claims, perhaps the least constitutionally suited of all her siblings to be in the role in which she suddenly found herself, and in The Story of My Father she grapples with the haunting memories of those final months and the larger narrative ...more
Hardcover, 177 pages
Published March 11th 2003 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2003)
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Nicholas
Mar 08, 2013 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the novelist Sue Miller's account of her father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease and his eventual death. But it is also about Miller's relationship with him before he became ill, and about her relationship with her mother, who predeceased him by many years (she died of a heart attack at age 60). The book is incredibly introspective, and while that's not unusual for a memoir, what I really appreciated about this one was Miller's focus on how and why she wrote the memoir in the first pl ...more
Joan Winnek
May 13, 2012 Joan Winnek rated it it was amazing
I admire this memoir especially for its ending, the insights Sue Miller developed as she completed the third and final draft of this, her only book-length work of non-fiction. Throughout, it is a sensitive portrait of her father and all that made him uniquely himself. His decline into Alzheimer's and his death are terrifying but finally not terrible. Everyone would wish to be remembered with as much clarity and love.
Patty King
Apr 07, 2009 Patty King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after burying my own father, who also had Alzheimer's Disease. It was a great comfort.
Debby
Nov 20, 2012 Debby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Sue Miller's memoir of her father and their journey through Alzheimer's. Not an easy read; however, her writing style and the insights she learned through her research into this epidemic that seems to have touched everyone in some manner, was a very compelling read.
The Story of My Father is written with such a feel for Sue Miller's compelling need to share her father's journey, but also and maybe even more so, to learn more about who her father was as she wrote about losing "who" he was
...more
Nicole
Jul 21, 2008 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've really enjoyed Sue Miller's fiction and had high hopes for this one. I'm sad to say it fell flat for me. The whole book felt like it kept starting and stopping, and she spent so much time explaining to the reader what the memoir was going to be about, or not be about. The book felt really self-conscious and self-indulgent (and yes, I do feel like a horrible person for saying that about a book describing her father's decline into Alzheimer's, but there you have it). It occurs to me that perh ...more
Sull
Feb 17, 2010 Sull rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sull by: Library find.
This was very good, following Sue Miller on her sometimes funny, mostly difficult & often painful journey to bear witness to her father's final years of Alzheimers decline. She's unfailingly honest & digs deep into her own actions & reactions with her dad as he morphed from a lovely, gentle academic into a lost & occasionally troubled soul waiting for the end. The end mercifully comes for Alzheimers folks, accelerating as one faculty after another becomes impaired & dysfuncti ...more
Bev Walkling
This is a very personal story of one man's descent into Alzheimer's disease told from the perspective of his daughter. This is a journey that I have walked with my mother so I could easily identify with many of the things she had to say. I chose to handle some things differently, but was always an advocate on my mom's behalf as Sue Miller was for her father. This is a disease where you grieve over and over the ongoing losses and when all is done it is easy to question whether there was more you ...more
david
Jun 10, 2007 david rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An honest portrayal of the loss of a father. Sue Miller captured the double loss Alhzeimer's creates in the lives of families. Deeply touching.
Laurie
Jun 10, 2007 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An honest portrayal of the loss of a father. Sue Miller captured the double loss Alhzeimer's creates in the lives of families. Deeply touching.
Robin Moore
Mar 21, 2010 Robin Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This too can be a tough read due to the subject matter. I attended a reading given by the author, which added to my appreciation for the book.
Jenny
Apr 25, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book.
Two Readers in Love
Feb 02, 2016 Two Readers in Love rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, memoir, death
A memoir that can be read purely as literature, and as a guide for those caring for a loved one with dementia; not a self-help guide, surely, but more like the travel guides of old. By telling her highly-specific story in such detail, it becomes universal. Miller gives the reader a coin for Charon from someone who has already crossed the river.

However, even if you have no interest in Alzheimer's, this memoir is worth reading as an investigation of the narratives we impose on our lives, and the l
...more
Tom Ferguson
Feb 23, 2016 Tom Ferguson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me back through the death of my father (dementia, stroke), my son-in-law (cancer) and my mother (dementia, cancer) and caused me to, once again, relive their partings. Sue Miller does an excellent job of capturing the anxiety, helplessness, and fear that loss brings. Further I believe she captures much of the essence of dementia in the way it robs people of their self. She captures the family trauma, guilt and self doubt that being a care giver entails. On a personal level this wa ...more
Debbie
Sep 25, 2010 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully written memoir by Sue Miller about her father's long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. It opened my eyes to the heavy toll this disease takes on the individual and their family. Decisions on what care and living situation is best, not to mention affordable are never easy. I felt bad that she put her sweet father in a nursing home, and she writes candidly about how he struggled with the loss of his cherished books, how disorienting the change in routine and surroundings wer ...more
Jean
Sue Miller has written best selling books like “The Good Mother” and “While You Were Gone.” This more personal book is as much her own story as her father’s. As she notes, over the course of writing the book she remembers intensely, then finds herself “revising” some of her long held beliefs about her father. Some of this comes down to giving more consideration to her father’s belief in God.

She sees her father as a Christian so much in God’s hands from the start that he accepted all, including
...more
lee lee
Nov 10, 2011 lee lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to lee lee by: Bob & Sally
Despite its physical size (I read it in one day), this book deals with one of life's heaviest issues: how to care for a dying parent. The fact that Sue and her father had a loving relationship to begin with makes a huge difference in her ability, her compassion, her humanity to do this difficult task with love and respect. It's not a leg up that I would have in the same situation, so my memoir would probably be the one that got put away and not written (as she says in the final chapter). I respe ...more
Karen
May 17, 2014 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, dementia, aging
Miller describes her father's progression through various stages of Alzheimer's Disease and includes details about his life and her relationship with him throughout her life span.

I have read a few memoirs by children whose parents have Alzheimer's. This offers another voice to that discussion. I admit that I read with less care the chapters that did not discuss AD (about 1/3 of the book). If a person is going to read 20 AD memoirs, this should be included, but if they are only going to read 5, t
...more
Ellen Marchessault
Feb 07, 2016 Ellen Marchessault rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alzheimer-s
This was a difficult book to read for me, so soon after my own father's death. Although my dad didn't suffer from Alzheimer's, I am acquainted with the disease to some extent. I enjoy the author's fiction and her writing style.
Richard Jespers
Dec 11, 2014 Richard Jespers rated it really liked it
Memoir of Miller’s father’s bout with Alzheimer’s Disease. Very touching. The book was instructive when, a few years later, I believed my father had some form of dementia.
Lawrence
Jul 08, 2015 Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, writing
I am getting a lot out of reading Miller's book. My father died about a year ago, and toward the end he suffered from dementia. He was not diagnosed with AD, but many of Miller's experiences ring true to my experiences with my father.
Edith
Nov 28, 2008 Edith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I liked this book but I came away with somewhat of a negative feeling toward Sue Miller because she put her father in a nursing home. Her father had been an academic and even in senility he was a sweet, gentle spirit who, as I recall, did not create big problems in his dotage. It was downhill for him after being relegated to a nursing home and he died soon after. I know I have not walked in her shoes, but I felt that Sue Miller would have served her father better by continuing to care for him at ...more
Diane
Sep 24, 2014 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a loving tribute to Sue Miller's father who died after suffering the indignities of Alzheimer's. Sue miller doesn't usually write in the first person and this felt a little forced. I'm sure it was therapeutic for the author but it seemed a little self-indulgent. It seems counter-intuitive but I kept thinking this would have been more powerful if Miller had used a fictional format for her catharsis. Still, she is a good writer and this is worth reading.
Jeanine
Apr 12, 2008 Jeanine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Story of My Father is the only nonfiction book by Sue Miller. It is a memoir of the life of her father focusing on the end of his life as he develops Alzheimer’s disease. The story chronicles the trials and tribulations of a daughter taking care of her father as he slowly fades into the illness. The book is beautifully written and a good education on what happens when caring for a loved one with this degenerative and terminal disease.
Ann Spivack
Oct 24, 2011 Ann Spivack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miller describes poignantly how her father changes when he is affected by Alzheimer's. One interesting point to me was the difference in how Miller describes her mother -- she shows anger, irritation, and fear when she talks about her mother but affection and understanding with her dad. The mother in The Distinguished Guest was based on her mother. Both books -- really all of Sue Miller's books -- are well worth reading.
Rhonda Williams
I loved the way Miller delved into the way that Alzheimer's disease effected her father. She also explained that people don't die from this disease, they waste away. Teir minds are literally gone and they can no longer recall words, simple bodily functions and the reasons why we do things. She did a nice job explaining who her father was as a man, a father and an ultimate prisoner of this horrible disease.
Lilian
Aug 19, 2012 Lilian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
This is a really sad and gut-wrenching memoir. It always is when it you have to deal with illness and coming to terms with it. I truly appreciate this book because now I know a bit more about AD, and like Ms Miller said in her book, she wrote this not only for herself but for other people dealing with this, who have loved ones suffering from AD, to know they are not alone.
Carole Yeaman
The clearest depiction of the process of Alzheimer's anyone has written.

The "Afterword" describes many of the difficulties of writing in general, and of writing THIS book in particular, and why it took her over a decade to get it right. Meanwhile she wrote three other novels. (Some of which I plan to read very soon). Four & a half stars.
Denise
Jan 20, 2009 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second half of this book is why I read it. It describes not only her father's descent into Alzheimer's, but her coping and managing of the day to day struggle for him and for her. The afterword and reader's guide are also very powerful, explaining her own transition and grief following her father's death.
Peter
Mar 01, 2008 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Peter by: I like this author

First time author speaks truly in the first person and she had a hard time doing so, as she describes in Epilogue.
It is about her relationship with her father, focusing on his Alzheimer's, dying and death. It’s not as depressing as you might think. It’s reflective and I liked it.
Bryan Mcguirk
Oct 29, 2011 Bryan Mcguirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written in simple declarative prose , but conveys the heartbreak the author suffers as she is forced to care for her father , who suffers from alzheimers .
anyone who reads this book will understand the importance of family .
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Sue Miller (born November 29, 1943 in Chicago) is an American writer who has authored a number of best-selling novels. Her duties as a single mother left her with little time to write for many years, and as a result she did not publish her first novel until 1986, after spend
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“And suddenly it seemed utterly right to me that resistance had been his wish, his intention. It made a kind of emotional sense that caused me to feel, instantly, how little sense my earlier more or less unframed assumptions had made. Of course! I thought. And with that thought it was as though my father stepped forward to meet me as he had been in 1940: twenty-five years old, newly married, teaching literature and history and religion as his first real job, as an assistant professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. That stage of his life – and he in it – had always been indistinct to me, as the lives of parents before their children exist always are to those children; but now, holding this letter in my hands, I remembered anew and vividly the numerous photographs in our family albums of him then – a slender young man, intense-looking and handsome, with a shock of dark hair swept back from his high forehead. A radical young man, it would seem. More radical in many ways than my own son was now. A young man, ready, perhaps even eager to embrace the fate his powerful beliefs were calling him to. Sitting there, I felt a rush of love and pity for him in his youth, in his passionate convictions – really, the same feelings I often had for my son when he argued his heartfelt positions. Abruptly, they seemed alike to me and equally dear: my father, my son. I felt as though my father had been waiting for this moment to be born to me as the young man he’d been, so touchingly willing to bear witness to his conscience; and the surprise of this new sense of him, this birth, was a gift to me, a sudden balm in those days of my most intense grief.” 4 likes
“Doggone, I never thought I’d lose my mind.” I was startled at the time to realize this – that he had thought about it. But now that he is dead…it’s my turn to think of it – of death – and I do. I wonder how it will come to me. And when I do, I remember this moment; when my father seemed to be getting the news about his fate, about how it would b e for him, when he took it in and accepted it and was, somehow, interested in it, all at the same time, before my eyes. It was a moment as characteristic of him as any I can think of in his life, and as brave. Noble, really, I’ve come to feel.” 2 likes
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