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Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again
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Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again

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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,923 ratings  ·  433 reviews
Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on Nashville, or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim was dealing with a tragic secret: her mother, Linda, was suffering from a rare form of dementia that slowly crippled her ability to ta ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Crown Archetype (first published March 29th 2016)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  2,923 ratings  ·  433 reviews


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Elyse  Walters
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) ... is a form of cognitive impairment that involves a a progressive loss of language function ...PPA is caused by degeneration in the parts of the brain that are responsible for speech: slowed speech, decreased use of language, word-finding hesitations, sentences with abnormal word order in speech or emails, substitution of words, using words that are missed pronounced, difficulty understanding a conversation, forgetting names objects, inability to think of name ...more
Erika Robuck
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After losing my mother last June, I have been drawn to books about mother-daughter relationships.

Where the Light Gets In is a powerful, poignant, and moving account of Kimberly Williams-Paisley's struggle with her mother Linda's primary progressive aphasia (a rare form of dementia). Williams-Paisley gives an unflinching account of the mistakes and successes of care decisions made by her family, what they have learned, and tools for coping with the illness of a loved one. Even in times of great
...more
Liz Lazarus
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The bravery and eloquence with which Kimberly Williams-Paisley tells her family’s story is heart-wrenching. Kim shares how her mother, a once fearless, adventurous woman was affected by PPA, Primary Progressive Aphasia, a disease that her father called “the rat” – an intruder gnawing at his wife’s clarity, memory and rational thinking.

The story had me captivated from beginning to end. I appreciated learning about Kim’s strong family foundation – her private applause section as she called it. Wh
...more
Melora
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-ish
Sigh. Okay, I'm giving this five stars, because it speaks to my situation, but if I were rating it purely as a family memoir I'd have rated it a bit lower. Though that really wouldn't have been fair either, since illness memoirs aren't one of my preferred genres, and neither are autobiographies of actresses. The thing is, I'd never heard of Kimberly Williams-Paisley before Audible sent me an ad for this book (in its audio form), but it caught my eye because, like the author, I am losing my mothe ...more
DKM
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
The writing is competent but not particularly insightful or literary. Williams-Paisley comes across as somewhat self-centered. I appreciate her honesty, and I wish her and her family the best, but the book itself did not live up to my expectations.
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Anyone who has had a family member suffer the effects of dementia or Alzheimer's knows what an all-encompassing and devastating disease they are and how they can affect not only the person afflicted with the disease but their loved ones as well.
As someone who has lost both grandmothers to Alzheimer's I know that it's a very hard and emotional road.

In this book Williams-Paisley brings her readers into her personal life and her mother's struggles with PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia) - a rare for
...more
Melody
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A MUST READ FOR ANYONE GOING THROUGH DEMENTIA/ALZHEIMER'S

If only I'd had this 12 years ago. I know my dad hid a lot of my mom's problems from me. He didn't know what was going on either. When we finally took her to the doctor for those "little tests ", the doctor came in with papers from the Internet. He NEVER said she had ALZ. I did. It still was very much a stigma in 2004. Don't wait or make a joke like we would when leaving my parents' house. It would be much better knowing you'd made a mista
...more
Martha Kelly
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. My favorite parts are when Kim talks about her relationship with her incredible, caring mother. Her mother who drank bourbon from a wine glass and brought an extra purse to an all-you can eat buffet and filled it with lobster and goodies to bring home to her children. Who encouraged Kim to do things because it would make a good story. Her mother, whose behavior started becoming more extreme.

Don’t want to give away too much, but this is a story worth your time, a heartbreaking, f
...more
Brenda Terlizzi
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in two days. I could not put it down. My mother in law was diagnosed with aphasia about 2 years ago (she is now 80). She started forgetting words or just simply could not get them out. It got progressively worse and it is very difficult to have any conversation with her, but it does not stop her from trying. This book hit home and I'm sure it is a peek into where our family is headed. The most important thing she mentioned in this book is to watch out for the caregiver. My fathe ...more
Carol
5 stars.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

So very brave and honest.
Kimberly Williams -Paisley paints a heartbreaking picture of her mother's slow cognitive deterioration following her diagnosis with Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). A form of dementia that robbed her mother of speech, clarity, memory and her reasoning abilities .
The writing here was beautiful, poignant and captivating.
The way Kimberly narrates this story involving her family's personal journey of loss was very illuminating not only because she describes a
...more
Diana
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-ficton
Six years ago I read the book If I'd Known Then: Women in their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves, which has a letter written by Kimberley Williams-Paisley (one of the main reasons it caught my attention in the first place) and in the short review I wrote for it I said:

Most of us usually compare our lives to the perfect lives we think these women have, but now we learn that they had some pretty hard times too...
This book is for young woman to realized that they are not alone in
...more
Kimberly Johnson
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you for writing this book. I lost my mom at age 76 on April 1, 2016. She battled dementia for at least 7 years. She was never specifically diagnosed with PPA- but she lost her speech first & there were so many similarities to your mom. Bless my dad for keeping her at home until the end. Not sure how he did it but us kids & grandkids & my brother in law helped when we could. ...more
Kristie Rust
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved the message of the book which simply stated is love the version that is- not what you had or want it to be. It seemed as though Kimberly was fully able to love her mother more once she let go of who her mother was and saw her mother for the woman she is.
Alison
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
The main reason I was interested in this book is because my Grandma died from dementia related causes earlier this year. Although my Grandma didn't have PPA and I didn't live close and wasn't involved in her care much, I did watch my mother be the primary caregiver for my Grandma until it became too much for her. She and my Dad had to make the agonizing decision to place her in an assisted living facility. It's so hard dealing with someone who isn't anything like who they "really" are and who do ...more
Gina
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not my usual sort of book, I chose this after seeing an interview with Williams-Paisley about the book and her relationship with her mother. I was pleasantly surprised by how "real" I found the journey her family has gone through. I stereotype celebrity books like this often as full of meaningless platitudes. I realized I had incorrect expectations as I read the don't make the same mistakes we did sections or agonized with her father and siblings on how hard this was for them in a caregiving cap ...more
Hallie Sawyer
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-requests
This was an enlightening book about what a disease like this looks like and what it can do to a family. I enjoyed Kimberly's viewpoint as she struggled to understand this new version of her mother and what role she needed to play. This book is mostly about Kimberly's own growth process of letting go of what life was used to be and embracing what it is now. This isn't a happy ending sort of memoir as much as it is about overcoming hardship as a family and its resilience to stick together through ...more
Sarah Anderson
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is such an honest telling of a heart-wrenching experience. I was moved to tears in almost every time I picked it up. How incredibly brave of the author to share her thoughts and feelings through this experience - thoughts that I would undoubtedly have if I were in this situation but don't know if I would admit.
Greg Davis
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Exceptionally honest, and without pretense. The sort of generous writing I'm so grateful to experience, permitting me to step back, breathe, and remember that what connects us far overshadows that which separates.
Cheryl
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A sensitively written account of the actress's mother's struggle with PPA, a progressive form of dementia. As a person whose own family has been profoundly affected by dementia, Williams-Pailey's story felt authentic and honest and sometimes triggered some pretty painful memories. Well done.
Erin
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was painfully real and as someone who cared for their dying mother I could totally relate to the mix of emotions Kimberly Williams - Paisley feels. Everyone should read this book.
Faith
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Someone close to me has dementia. She is slowly slipping away. I appreciated the openness with which Kimberly shared about her mom. Thank you for your insights that can help us all.
Sherri Thacker
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book! Very informative about alzheimers and/or dementia.
Laura Ellison
Well, that was a gut-wrenching, accurate portrayal of life with a loved one living with dementia. My grandma had it and it was tough for sooo long. She outlived all the other people on her memory care wing twice over. When she was first interviewed to determine what level of memory care she needed (levels 1-4), they quickly decided she would need their highest level as most of the answers to their questions were “I am old and do not give a damn!” It’s hard, so hard on the loved ones that go thro ...more
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios-memoirs
The last three years of my dad's life he slowly lost his mind. Each day, each week, he and I would discover more pieces of his memory were gone. One day he could remember his pills and the next he was rushed to the hospital having taken an overdose because he couldn't remember that he had already taken the pills multiple times. If I were in his home we could cover it by working crossword puzzles together and talking about the Broncos. But if I were in my own home he would call ten times in a row ...more
Rebekah
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Are you happy, Teresa? I read the book.
Robin Rountree
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pastreads
I listened to the audio recording of this book. I think it helped me connect even more, as I'm familiar with the author through her acting work.
Some things made this a better book to me than someone having no experience with dementia. My mother was diagnosed with a form of dementia in 2011 and I've been in charge of her care since then. I've read quite a few dementia based memoirs, but I found this one better because Kimberly and I are the same age. Not having many friends to share this experie
...more
Denise Stout
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A heartfelt tribute to the mother-daughter relationship: dealing with a PPA-dementia diagnosis, change in family dynamics, and love and support throughout the journey.

Many of us have a family member going through something, no matter what chronic, incurable disease a family member may have, this book can lift one up and help to find you're not alone. It's a road not easily traveled, many battles along the way, but the insights shared help to better understand everything going on from a fresh poi
...more
Karen West
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A candid and moving tribute to her mother by Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Her mother is diagnosed at 62 with PPA, a progressive brain disease similar to Alzheimer's. I found Kim and her family's struggles both honest and heartbreaking. At the end of the book, Kim offers resources that she found helpful. Michael J. Fox offers a moving Foreword.
Letty
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is such a powerful and moving book. Experiencing the beginning of this illness now with my own mother, I appreciated the honesty from Kimberly Williams-Paisley in what she has gone through with her mother's dementia. A bit of an emotional read for me but I found it to be helpful and a good read. I highly recommend it.
Jenny
I read this in one afternoon and evening. Appreciated her candor and insight on dealing with dementia, adult mother-daughter relationships, and acceptance of responsibility for ourselves. Will re-read sections of it.
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Kimberly Williams-Paisley is an actress, writer and advocate for dementia research and caregivers. She and her husband, country artist, Brad Paisley, live in Tennessee with their two sons and two dogs.

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Kate Stayman-London has watched the reality dating show The Bachelor (and its eventual Bachelorette spin-off) since it first started airing in 2002...
18 likes · 6 comments
“This is what I came up with: My mother is not only presenting me an opportunity to love unconditionally, she’s also allowing me to practice being comfortable with what is uncomfortable. To grieve and also embrace what is broken. To know that some days I can receive who my mother is now and some days I struggle with it. To allow that two opposing thoughts may exist in my head at the same time.” 4 likes
“Ride the horse in the direction that it’s going.” Instead of wishing for things to be different, choose to embrace the life in front of you.” 3 likes
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