Forthright, edifying writing about Alzheimer’s caregiving.

FADE TO GRAY

SURVIVING ALZHEIMER'S

A husband documents his wife’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease and offers help to other caregivers in this debut memoir.

Masinton’s wife, Dana, was about 56 years old when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The author first began to suspect that something was wrong when Dana, a realtor, began to struggle with reconciling her bank account and following recipes. The couple sought multiple medical opinions over a two-year period before Alzheimer’s was formally diagnosed. During this time, Masinton also observed a significant personality change, with Dana becoming “increasingly irascible.” The memoir charts Dana’s deterioration and the escalating pressures placed on the author as the primary caregiver. Masinton candidly discusses the triumphs and failings of the medical system, the difficulties of finding a suitable part-time helper, and the painful moment when admission to a residential care facility became the only option. With the intention of providing Alzheimer’s caregivers a “roadmap” of what to expect, the author also supplies plenty of worthy, practical advice on topics such as long-term health care insurance and Medicaid. This is a thoughtfully conceived memoir. As the straight-talking narrative unfolds, Masinton includes passages in italics that represent “the voice of reason,” which provide knowledge he has accrued through “painful experience.” The author pulls no punches, as when presenting the realities of home health care agencies: “If they destroy their relationship with you, they simply move to the next name on their waiting list, so don’t expect remedy or remorse in this purely seller’s market.” Readers expecting a more nurturing approach may be deterred by Masinton’s bluntness: “It is a fight to get through every hour of every day, with the only certainty being that tomorrow will be worse.” But others will find solace in recognizing their own struggles in his unflinching account. Delivered with a strong, convincing authorial voice, the counsel presented here will stay with readers, particularly regarding the importance of self-preservation: “You’re not going to be able to do anything, much less help anyone—especially the one you care so much about—if you kill yourself in the process.” Bold in its approach, this book could prove an invaluable lifeline for caregivers seeking guidance.

Forthright, edifying writing about Alzheimer’s caregiving. (appendix)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4809-8691-6

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Tragedy as well as triumph in this meticulous, fascinating tale of three generations of Churchills.

CHURCHILL & SON

Churchill as family man.

In addition to being the subject of countless biographies, Churchill published hundreds of articles and more than 40 books of his own. In this detailed, engaging narrative, Ireland demonstrates that there is more to be learned about one of the most written-about political figures in history. Exploring the statesman’s relationship with his son, Randolph, the author begins with Churchill’s own famously unhappy childhood, chronicling his parents’ “almost comically detached method of care.” Churchill overcompensated for his father’s neglect by spoiling his son, a poorly behaved boy who became a profligate student and undisciplined adult. For all his gifts and achievements, Randolph led a chaotic life. In one two-week period in 1939, anxious for an heir lest he be killed in the war, he proposed to eight different women, all of whom turned him down. The ninth, Pamela Digby, accepted, and a year later, she became mother to his son, also named Winston. Shortly after, she was forced to rent out their home and take a job to pay down his gambling debts. On the positive side, Randolph was a gifted extempore speaker, effective journalist, and influential counselor to his father—and, later, his biographer. While recounting their relationship, Ireland draws unforgettable sketches of life in the Churchill circle, much like Erik Larson did in The Splendid and the Vile. For example, the family home at Chartwell required nearly 20 servants, as celebrities, politicians, and other “extraordinary people” came and went on a daily basis. Throughout, Ireland is generous with the bijou details: Churchill hated whistling and banned it. When dining alone, he would sometimes have a place set for his cat. His valet would select his clothes, “even pulling on his socks.” After retiring to Pratt’s club after Parliament ended its evening session, he would sometimes “take over the grill and cook the food himself.”

Tragedy as well as triumph in this meticulous, fascinating tale of three generations of Churchills.

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4445-8

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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