Thursday, March 31, 2016

Before I Forget by B. Smith and Dan Gasby

B. Smith is a celebrity, but she was unknown to me. I picked up the book, written by B. and her husband, because the clever title, pertaining to B.’s battle with Alzheimer’s, intrigued me. This book returns repeatedly to four perspectives: B.’s own words about her experiences; Dan’s narrative of the progression of B.’s disease; “Lessons Learned” to educate and encourage the reader with regard to common aspects and challenges of Alzheimer’s; and advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and support. It is, by turns, honest, eloquent, poetic, poignant and inspiring; I found the book to be an absolute page turner with its engaging and empathetic tone. It is especially encouraging for caregivers. One paragraph that struck me, from page 91, was this: “Guilt is, to some extent, unavoidable: it goes with the territory. One way to temper it is not to set the bar as a caretaker too high. Don’t feel you have to be perfect! And don’t punish yourself when you fall short of that self-imposed standard. Aim to be a pretty good caregiver, not a perfect one: B-plus is good enough. Heck, B-minus is just fine. The goal isn’t to do everything right. It’s to keep your household from falling part. Pass/fail--that’s the standard I’ve learned to go by.” The reader comes to understand--and care about-- B., Dan, Alzheimer’s, and the current state of caregiver support and medical research. A list of resources epitomizes the whole book, as it ranges from the broad and organizational (organizations working on Alzheimer’s) to the narrow and personal (B.’s and Dan’s favorite comedies). This book is a Must Read for everyone, as it addresses a disease that will, sooner or later, touch us all. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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