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The Last of His Mind: A Year in the Shadow of Alzheimer's

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  15 reviews
ForeWord Book of the Year Award winner
A Publishers Weekly “Indie Top 20”
The Washington Post: A Best Book of 2009
2010 Ohioana Book Award Finalist


Joe Thorndike was managing editor of Life at the height of its popularity immediately following World War II. He was the founder of American Heritage and Horizon magazines, the author of three books, and the editor of a dozen
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Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 23rd 2009 by Swallow Press (first published 2009)
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Richard
When I first read about this book about a man caring for his father who suffered from Alzheimer's, I was immediately interested. But when it finally came time to pick up a copy, I had second thoughts. Was this story going to be a big bummer?

Happily I was engrossed from the earliest chapters. Of course, it was not a laugh riot, but I found it to be intensely personal and honest. I have never cared for someone with Alzheimer's but I have cared for a loved one in hospice at the end of her life so
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Dolores
John Thorndike's father was a former managing editor of Life magazine and a prominent author and editor, but at ninety-one he suffered from Alzheimer's, and his health and mental abilities were rapidly declining. John moved into an upstairs bedroom of his father's Cape Cod home in order to care for him. This book is a memoir of those final months....touching, tragic, and beautifully written.
Raul Ramos y Sanchez
I expected the story of a man caring for his Alzheimer's-afflicted father during his last year of life would be depressing. But John Thorndike's exquisitely written memoir serves as a guide for a journey most of us will likely travel, both as caretaker and patient. Wisdom comes with a price. In this sincere and sensitive book, John Thorndike shows us that even the most difficult circumstances can enrich us.
AnnaMay
It was interesting to gain the perspective of a full-time caregiver (and one that isn't a spouse).

I liked how the book was organized by month. That helped me grasp the passage of time accurately.

It seems the book is almost more about 1)Thorndike's perception of his parents' marriages, 2)the effects those had on his upbringing, and 3)his dad's aloofness, moreso than Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's was kind of a theme that ran through the entire book, but the main story seemed to be more of a memoir-type
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Ann
The author sets the tone of this book from the first paragraph, the first sentence. The obviously well-observed description of his sleeping father's face, the fact that his father is napping, something his father does not believe in. We know that this man, this man his son has known all his life, is changing. We also know that this son honors his father. With a capital H.

I've marked so many lyrical and grace-filled and heart-wrenching passages in this book. From the first page:
“My father sleeps
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Nklein98
Watching my mother's decline from dementia and the impact it has had on my family, especially my Dad, made me hesitate to pick up "The Las of His Mind". This past weekend was a "good" one for my mother and so I finally felt equipped, and almost eager, to start reading and sharing John Thorndike's experience dealing with his own father's Alzheimers. Most of us going through this heartbreaking experience really don't need to know the medical reasons why or how this disease has struck a loved one, ...more
Oriyah Nitkin
An interesting and quick read, I knew from the beginning that this book wouldn't be a keeper, though I couldn't immediately put my finger on a particular reason. It was well written, contained many entertaining or interest-drawing anecdotes, etc.

As with most memoirs, I felt a bit like a voyeur peeking into a world that, frankly, was clearly none of my business. But then, that's the draw of a memoir to begin with. I think here, the difference lay not in the information being revealed, but more i
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Catherine
Thorndike’s ninety-two-year-old, former magazine publisher father has Alzheimer’s. He volunteers to be his father’s caregiver through the last few months of his life.

The author explores and reflects on his childhood, the events that led to the end of his parents’ marriage, as well as his intimate thoughts and emotions he experiences during his father’s illness. Although his thoughts were expressed in a forthright manner, at times I thought he was a bit of a whiner, expressing angst over long pa
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Deby Su
I am thoroughly pleased that I read this book. It was well written and was a pleasure for someone who enjoys words and language in general. John Thorndike was insightful and encouraging and never was the story sad or depressing...quite the contrary. John's story, and the opportunity of 'living' with his father during his last year, was pleasant and hopeful, and once again, encouraging in a way that made me hope I could be so relaxed and able to live in my moments instead of rushing through them ...more
Melanie
This was a very interesting book and the point of view of the author was also very interesting. This subject is very close to me as my
Grandmother also suffers from Alzheimers. I enjoyed reading about this first hand account.
Beth
A difficult, but interesting book to read. I imagine people who have cared for or are caring for someone with Alzheimer's would be interested to compare their feeling and reactions with those in this book.
Serena
Amazing and powerful.I gained a lot of insight into the caregiver's role with a parent with this devastating disease.
Angela
Touching book chronicling John Thorndike's father's last year of life and the lessons Thorndike learns from his dad.
Donna
mediocre at best.
Cynthia
Beautiful memoir.
Paula Helfrecht
Paula Helfrecht marked it as to-read
Jan 17, 2015
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Nov 07, 2014
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666152
I grew up in Connecticut, read a thousand novels as a child and always wanted to write one. After four desperate years at a New England prep school he went to Harvard, wrote some fiction, studied night and day. Then a master’s degree from Columbia, two years in the Peace Corps and a year of doctoral studies at NYU, brought to an end by the delirious sixties, marriage and parenthood. In 1970 I move ...more
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