The Story of My Father
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The Story of My Father

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  223 ratings  ·  35 reviews

In the fall of 1988, Sue Miller found herself caring for her father, James Nichols, once a truly vital man, as he succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease. Beginning an intensely personal journey, she recalls the bitter irony of watching this church historian wrestle with his increasingly befuddled notion of time and meaning. She details the struggles...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 8th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2003)
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Joan Winnek
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
I read this after burying my own father, who also had Alzheimer's Disease. It was a great comfort.
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
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
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
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Feb 17, 2010 Sull rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Mar 01, 2008 Peter rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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 .
Kate Thompson
Saw her on tour with this book at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, 2003. A very romantic date, attending a reading about a father with Alzheimers. I've enjoyed the two books of hers I've read - While I Was Gone and The Good Mother.
Dec 07, 2010 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Becky by: Carol
This had new insights on Alzheimer's that I had not come across in other books. Well written and insightful about a daughter's experience with a father who has the disease. Thanks, Carol, for the recommendation.
Superb. Intriguing. Bittersweet. Miller recalls her thoughts and insecurities during her father's neurological decline. Therapeutic and allowed her closure - it is so incredibly touching.

Reminds me of grandpa.
Jandy James

I love Sue Miller. She usually writes fiction but this one is nonfiction, the account of her father's decline into alzheimer's. A beautiful book, especially for anyone who has a geriatric parent.
I listened to the audio version of the story. This story looked interesting to me because of losing my father and wanting to write about him some day.
Non-fiction. Sue Miller writes about watching her father die from Alzheimer's. She visits him in the nursing home until he dies. Learns a lot about herself.
Lucy Briggs
In retrospect, MS. Miller thinks that proximity of care facility, close to loved ones, should be a top priority. Not sure where her guilt comes from.
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.
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
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.
Written more for the author's benefit than the reader's I think. Had some interesting scenes and issues.
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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...more
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While I Was Gone The Good Mother The Senator's Wife Family Pictures World Below

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“My sister and I were the ones in the family who had seen this as necessary; neither of my brothers felt there was a problem with Dad. And in general when I’d expressed my concern for him, she was the one of my siblings who responded. She and I had also been the ones who sorted through and distributed mother’s possessions after she had died.” 2 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.” 1 likes
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