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338 pages, Hardcover
First published January 5, 2016
"I'm sorry," I say. I concentrate on my words to make sure this comes out right. "It sounds horrible, what you said. I know I'm . . . not getting things right anymore, I'm getting confused and doing strange things. But I'm . . ." I pause to wipe my face. "I'm still here. It's just--you have to look a little longer and harder to find me."Eve and her daughter, as well as Anna, have experienced a traumatic loss. Though their losses seem very different on the surface, Hepworth effectively draws out the similarities and ties between their stories. The things that we can keep in spite of these losses--self-worth, independence, and especially love--are of vital importance, no matter what our situation.
"When you get to my age," he says, his face softening, "you don't waste time with regrets. In the end, you just remember the moments of joy. When all is said and done, those are the things we keep."It's hard for me to define this moving novel: it's got some romance, some interpersonal drama, and some sentimentality, but it shouldn't be solely defined by any of these things. It's well worth reading, and a poignant reminder of the bonds that connect all of us.
"How can you love someone you don't remember?"
"He picked up his walkie-talkie and asked for the license plate number. When I looked blank, he smiled. "Make and model?"
It was such an easy question. But the more I tried to find the answer, the more it blacked out. Like a photograph with a question mark over the face, a criminal with his jacket over his head—something was there, but my brain wouldn't let me see."
"I'm still here. It's just—you have to look a little longer and harder to find me."
"These days, the most interesting conversations I have are about my favourite color or type of food. I like it when people remember I'm a person, not just a person with Alzheimer's."
Anna: “Dr. Brain once told me that an Alzheimer’s brain was like the snow on a mountain peak—slowly melting. There are days when the sun is bright and chunks drop off all over the place and there are days when the sun stays tucked behind clouds and everything remains largely intact. Then there are days—spectacular days (his words)—when you stumble across a trail you thought had melted, and for a short while you have something back that you through was gone forever.”
However, Anna would have preferred it this way:
“The brain is like a filthy, stinking pile of crap. When the sun comes out, it stinks worse than you can imagine, and when it’s cold or cloudy, you can barely smell it at all. Then there are the days that, if the wind is coming from a certain way, you might catch the cold scent of a spruce for a few hours and forget the crap is even there. With that analogy, at least we’d have been calling a 'spade a spade'. Because the truth is, if you have dementia, your brain is CRAP. An even if you can’t smell it right this minute, it still stinks.”