Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Things We Keep
Author: Sally Hepworth
Published: January 2016, St. Martin's Press 
Format: ARC E-copy, 352 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher


Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there's just one another resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna's and Luke's families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Sally Hepworth and it is an absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful, yet thought provoking book. It's a hard book to put down once you get involved in it, yet one that you will not be able to stop thinking about once you finish reading.

I loved the way this story was told, alternating between Anna, diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in her late thirties; Eve, suddenly a single mother, who begins working at the assisted living facility where Anna lives; and Clementine, Eve's 7 year-old daughter. This allowed for a different perspective on what was going on, as well as different story lines. The main story is Anna's, though Eve does have her own story to tell as well. But, what's equally interesting is that Anna's part is told in reverse order, while Eve and Clementine's is told straight forward. How clever and when you think about it, makes total sense!

This story is definitely about loss, no doubt about that, though, not all loss is tangible. Anna is trying desperately to hold on to the person she was before her diagnosis and maintain some sort of dignity. She learns quite a bit when she befriends Luke, the other young person at the care facility with a similar diagnosis. Their relationship blossoms into something that no one expected and it's sweet, though not everyone agrees. But that begs the question - what drives a relationship - your mind or your heart?

There is a lot of food for thought when reading this book. It's a compelling read that will leave you with many questions. But, isn't that the point when you read a book of this type? Isn't it supposed to get you thinking? I always think so.

 

6 comments:

  1. Great review! I loved this book as well. As someone with first hand experience watching a loved on go through Alzheimer's, this book is well researched and beautifully written.

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  2. Yes I think it does get you thinking, also I tend to look away and pretend things like this don't exist. Reading this book is a way of facing fears too in a non threatening kind of way. I just loved the book too.

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  3. This book sounds excellent. It has a sad premise but it sounds very absorbing. Terrific review, Kristin!

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  4. I work with a lot of Alzheimer's and dementia patients, and while it is sad, there's also moments of grace. Each client I've ever had has had a different experience, and I'm always trying to help educate people about the importance of learning about the disease. I am definitely going to track this book down and read it!

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  5. Intriguing - I've now ordered this one from the library. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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  6. I read and loved this book. Emotional, definitely heart breaking but beautifully told.

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