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The Wide Circumference of Love

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,329 ratings  ·  193 reviews
From an award-winning author, a moving story of acceptance, adaptation, and unconditional love in the face of Alzheimer’s disease.

You just can’t plan for this kind of thing.

Diane Tate certainly hasn’t. She never expected to slowly lose her talented husband to the debilitating effects of early-onset dementia. As a respected family court judge, she’s spent her life making to
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Arcade
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Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”My goal was not to write ‘about’ Alzheimer’s but to use Alzheimer’s disease as a way to explore the way we live our lives, how we love, create families, survive, and endure.” – Marita Golden

Mission accomplished.

Marita Golden tells a story that held me in thrall. It unfolds boldly, steadily, with a grounded prose that had me absorbing it like a sponge.

Diane and Gregory Tate faced challenges from the beginning. Diane was a lawyer when they met but for all her success, she was caged in by her
Elyse  Walters
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook- narrated by Patricia R. Floyd

“How does anybody know what they’re capable of?”

This was a beautifully written- quickly connecting story. The narrator’s voice and dialect were pleasing - I never wanted to pull away — descriptions were stimulating—and the story was flowing naturally. Such ease...and so real almost didn’t feel like a book at all - it was all too ‘alive’.
I felt like I was living the experiences along with this African-American family. We take the full journey with D
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marita-golden
This book opens in 2015, so I was quite excited to experience contemporary literature written by a seasoned author. But the story soon goes back in time to introduce the courtship of the novel's primary couple: Diane and Gregory. With that, Marita takes the opportunity to introduce a topic which is near and dear to her heart: colorism. While Diane, a dark skinned woman, grapples with esteem issues her husband to be, a light skinned man, has seemingly benefited from his gene pool.

As the narrativ
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub-reads
This book heartbreakingly captures the horror that is Alzheimer's disease, from both the point-of-view of the man afflicted with it and his family members, particularly his wife who must come to terms with a new paradigm for living. As difficult as it is for this family, who has the means to afford a facility to look after him, imagine what it's like for families who do not. And yet there is some hope to the story as well.

I'm not really a fan of books that go back and forth in time, and althoug
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have a special affinity for books about Black families. How mom met dad. What sealed their love. Which obstacles made them stronger or nearly ripped them apart. How their kids grew and took that love and struggle and made a life of their own with it. I love all of that.

"The Wide Circumference of Love" is the story of Diane and Gregory, meeting in 1970s DC, successful in their own right, he an architect from the good side of the tracks, she a lawyer turned judge from a family falling apart at
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The collateral damage caused by Alzheimer's disease is the subject of this very good novel. Gregory Tate is a talented architect and along with his partner Mercer they formed the first black architectural team in Washington D.C. Diane Tate is the loving wife of Gregory and when Gregory is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's the disease takes a toll on the Tate's as well as their two children.

It's a honest portrayal of how Alzheimer's disease robs one of their memories and ultimately their mi
Monica **can't read fast enough**
In The Wide Circumference of Love Marita Golden explores what happens to a family when an admired and loved father becomes unrecognizable because of an illness that strikes quickly and leaves emotional wreckage in it's wake.

The foundation of Diane's and Gregory’s relationship is based on Diane's admiration for Gregory's seemingly 'better' genes because of his fair skin, which she believes will improve life for herself and any potential children that they may have. Golden attaching Gregory's fai
Leslie Reese
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I appreciate Marita Golden's work, and feel that this book can reach a broad audience. The Wide Circumference of Love is about lacking love as well as building love and togetherness; about family, and partnership, friendship, and how Alzheimer's disease impacts relationships.

There is nothing new in terms of prose style, and sometimes, characters were SO understanding, articulate, and wise during moments that would leave many of us flustered, speechless, and on our knees, that I felt some skepti
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. It was recommended to me through Amazon based on other books that I had read recently, and because I'm trying to read books by women and preferably women of color this year, it was an obvious choice. On the whole, I'm not disappointed with this book, but I wasn't always a fan of the writing style. I've read other books with characters and families living with Alzheimer's, and to be honest, I didn't feel as moved this time. Certain parts of the story f ...more
Absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful.
Kasa Cotugno
The Wide Circumference of Love is a sweet, well constructed examination of a family faced with the devastation of the patriarch's early on-set Alzheimer's disease. Amazingly affectionate, Diane and Gregory find themselves without the golden years future they had envisioned after a lifetime of accomplishment. Their two grown children also have to deal with the reality of their father's increasing memory loss and disintegration into a blackness rendering him unrecognizable. However, the framework ...more
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So many emotions reading this book. Beautifully written, complex characters whose lives I watched start and stop and start again in the most beautiful and heart-breaking ways. Seeing them all embrace love, sometimes whole and sometimes in brokenness, and learning that there certainly is a wide circumference of love with many textures and layers. Just a beautiful book.

I also love that she's a local author. Wonderful read.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
A great choice for a Sunday read. Just a solid, well written story about love and the real meaning of family even in the face of crisis. The crisis in this case is Alzheimers and the terrible toll it takes on everyone. This is a subject that hits close to home for me and I found the emotional tone to be spot on. I was enfolded by this story today. Easy to recommend.
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of "Still Alice"
Shelves: favorite-2017
Slow paced but powerful story of a prominent black family living in Washington D.C. and dealing with the father's early-onset Alzheimer's. Gregory was one of the first black architects to land large contract jobs in downtown D.C. and he worked hard to build his company's reputation. His wife Diane is a family court judge who has to deadbolt her bedroom door at night against her husband who due to the disease once attacked her out of anger and frustration. Their two children are adults, one an ar ...more
Shelly Ellis
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book wrecked me.... it absolutely WRECKED me. There are narratives that scratch the surface of the emotions of the characters and those that dive deep and this one almost hit the ocean floor for me. I shed a few tears while reading it. It made me reflect on my greataunt who suffered dementia after a stroke and died not to long ago. It made me reflect on my marriage and my definition of love and to what lengths I would be willing to sacrifice and show that for my husband. (I won't spoil it b ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a realist story describing a sneaking and life changing illness, Alzheimer's, and how it creeps and takes control of not only the victim but the entire family. The research caused me to shed tears but more importantly it increased my awareness of this illness.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is breathtaking. I devoured it. It is what I've been yearning for in books that I've been reading this year. An instant connection with characters who face their lives head on, stumble and find a path forward. My heart stopped on multiple occasions and tears flowed at the beauty and heartbreak of the life and love of this woman and her family.

This is the story of a family facing Alzheimer's. I have no direct experience with the disease so I cannot judge the accuracy of its portrayal in the bo
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-vine, 2017
To me, this book could not be any better. Marita Golden's The Wide Circumference of Love gives us a realistic story of a African-American family experiencing Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a major storm to the stability and love of a family. Instead of being mainly about Gregory who has Alzheimer's it more about the tremendous effect on his wife, Diane, his daughter, Lauren and his son, Sean. For each of them there is a before and after. What was their relationship to him before he started having s ...more
Lily Java
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so, I now officially know what a "book hangover" is since it took me (a notoriously fast, often sieve-like reader) several weeks to both read and get over it. Part of the time issue was that the story of a mature, successful, longtime happily-married couple facing the dreaded inevitability of Alzheimer's disease and the beautifully understated way it was written managed to have so many upending and sophisticated emotional triggers for me. It wistfully evoked both the memories o ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
ARC/Literature: Years ago, I saw a segment on CBS Sunday Morning where one of the reporters did a story about his wife with early onset Alzheimer's. His wife was young and thickened after having a full first half of her life. The second half of her life was in a extended care facility losing her memories. One point in the story was about the reporter himself and how he found love again. He never divorced his wife and asked the audience to live in his shoes before judging.

That scenario is part o
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Alzheimer's takes no prisoners. The Wide Circumference of Love is the story of the damage that the disease causes to marriage, father/child relationship, and friendship. Diane and Gregory have been married for decades with two grown children. When Gregory first notices memory loss, he denies the inevitable. As his diagnosis becomes official and necessary measures have to be taken, the reader gets an in depth look at how each character processes the loss of the Gregory they have always known. Thi ...more
Deana Metzke
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-grown-ups
This book was sad, yet also powerful. The plot follows an affluent African-American family as they deal with the patriarch's, Gregory, recent Alzheimer's diagnosis. Not only do we get to see how the wife, children, and best friend deal with the disease, but we also get to learn the history of their relationship with Gregory, which I think makes the storyline more emotional. All the characters are likable in the story, and it easy to feel empathy for each of them.

Now, to be honest, I have some fa
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book knowing very little about it, but very quickly felt like this book was written for me. The characters (black, middle-class), location (D.C., gentrifying), resonated with me and rhe "happy family,unhappy in its own way" will probably resonate universally. Marita Golden weaves a story of a family adjusting to new normals and the pain and grace that those adjustments require.

I thoroughly appreciated this book and think it would be a worthwhile book to read with one's family as
Wow. If you have a family member suffering with Alzheimer's, this is one of the most relatable books you will ever read. My grandmother, an intelligent and amazing woman, has this disease. She no longer recognizes us and is in a facility... which hurts. Badly.

Anyway, the writing swept me away from the first page. I am a sucker for a strong black female lead character and I got it in Diane. I just loved every minute of reading this... the heartbreak, the sheer love that radiated off the pages...
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was heavy. HEAVY. But it was a really good read. The writing is supberb and draws you in immediately. The content is thought-provoking and stirred up many thoughts for me as I think about dealing with a parental unit with a life-altering disease.

My emotions ran the gamut as I read this book from intrigue to sadness to anger to calm. There were a few times I had to put the book down as it caused my eyes to sweat. Overall, this was an excellent book.
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Apt title for sure...
Mona Grant-Holmes
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Does Cover Many and Much

Diane and Gregory come from two vastly different worlds. Gregory from privilege and a loving family; Diane from poverty and a fractured home. Their differences bring them together, but it is their love that binds them to each other. Gregory is an architect; Diane an attorney, then a family court judge. Their daughter Lauren follows in her father's footsteps as an architect, while her brother Sean struggles to find himself as a man and a contractor. As Gregory and Dia
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was somehow expecting so much more from this. The subject offers so much more space for development than the forced and many times sudden narrative the book actually brings. Though there wer some dramatic events along the way, they did nothing to stir any feelings (and I'm the type of person who cries reading books). Overall a bland and almost boring reading experience.
John Kaufmann
Excellent book. Portrays what living with someone with Alzheimer's is like - from the perspective of one's spouse and adult children. It is done with tenderness and poignancy, yet conveys the loss they each must deal with.
Traci Ahlbrandt
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book would be a wonderful book club selection because it would lend itself to a beautiful discussion. I fear Alzheimer’ runs in my family. This book may serve me as a “how to cope” guide. Beautifully written.
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Marita Golden (born April 28, 1950) is an award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, distinguished teacher of writing and co-founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, a national organization that serves as a resource center for African-American writers.

(from Wikipedia)

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