ALVETTA by John C. Moore


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In this debut memoir, a husband reflects on his marriage and his grief as his wife dies of brain cancer.

During a 2006 winter vacation in Florida, Moore became alarmed when his wife Alvetta began acting strangely: buying way too much food at the grocery store, becoming confused on the golf course, and even needing help to get dressed. The couple soon learned that Alvetta had a brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme, and her prognosis after surgery gave her just six months to live. In this memoir, Moore writes proudly of his wife’s successes throughout her life. She grew up in a Toledo, Ohio, housing project, and, after receiving her high school diploma, became a secretary; she later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, leading to a 25-year teaching career. Moore himself worked his way up in the banking world—from janitor to corporate vice president—but all that, as Moore typically says about life before the cancer diagnosis, is “another story.” Although this memoir aims to “hit the highlights” of Alvetta’s life, its most vivid and valuable subject is Alvetta’s last days, and Moore’s day-by-day emotional struggle. Month after month, Moore attends to his wife in hospice—always crediting and thanking the organization for its compassionate treatment—and, at the same time, struggles with his faith: “Yes, God knows best, but do I have to agree?” The details of caretaking build up until they’re heartbreaking: the questions from well-meaning friends and relatives; the constant injunctions for Moore to take care of himself; and Moore’s hope, each night, for another day with Alvetta. “Spring is truly here,” Moore writes at one point. “By May 15 we would normally have had our flowerpots out and all the windows washed. The deck would have been washed and stained by now. . . . But instead I am at home getting ready to visit Alvetta at Hospice for the 162nd time.”

An honest, heartfelt memoir that illuminates the experience of caretaking.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0595508648
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: iUniverse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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