"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly by Jana Pryor

Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly 
Author:  Jana Pryor
Publisher:  JDP Books
Copyright:  2011
ISBN: 978-0-615-42630-3
Genre:  Biography/Autobiography/Personal Memoirs
Pages:  90
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the author and Bostick Communications in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Copies are available for purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Amazon.uk, Outskirts Press Bookstore online.

From the back cover:  Alzheimer's is a disease that slowly consumes an individual's brain and causes a major impact on the mind. The medical definition of mind is "that which thinks, reasons, perceives, wills and feels." In neuroscience, there is no duality between the mind and the body; they are one. The mind appears in no way separate then the brain. If this is true, people who suffer from Alzheimer's may as well be considered "the walking dead"- they just don't realize it.

It is the desire of the author to shine light on how Alzheimer's ruthlessly affects behavior by taking readers through the different stages of her grandmother's battle with the disease. Alzheimer's disease is an abnormal way for an individual to age. It is fatal, and it consists of much more than just memory loss to the elderly. Jane's story will give readers insight into what really happens in the world of an Alzheimer's patient.

My Review:  Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly is a brief memoir of the trials of the author's grandmother, (Valerie) Jane Pride's (nee Sweeney) struggle with Alzheimer's.  Her granddaughter, Jana, became Jane's primary caregiver during the beginning stages of the disease, giving up her career out of love for her grandmother.  Determined to care for her grandmother as long as physically and mentally possible, Jana moved Jane to her home to live with her family.

Unfortunately, the author, Jana Pryor, writes this memoir from a third person point of view, which doesn't do the story justice.  Had she written it in the first person, and strung the events together more fluidly, sharing thoughts and emotions with the reader, this would have been a moving tribute to a wonderful woman whose last days were stolen from her due to this debilitating disease.  The writer struggled with tense, as in past, present and future; sometimes including more than one tense in a sentence.  The aid of an editor would have polished Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly, presenting it to the reader as a powerful tribute and form of support and knowledge for those who are undertaking the care of an individual with Alzheimer's.

I am surprised at the lack of information the author had available to her as she assisted her grandmother through early onset and beyond. For Jane, Alzheimer's disease approached in the late 1990's and continued into the 2000's; a time when information would have been readily available online, through the Alzheimer's Association, and at doctor's offices for the asking.  As someone who watched my own grandmother decline over more than 10 years with Alzheimer's, I know how devastating this disease is.  It steals away precious memories, personality, physical and mental capabilities; leaving the person a shell of the wonderful person they once were.  I'm afraid I knew more about the disease as an onlooker of my own grandmother's illness, than the author knew while being a caregiver.  Jana Pryor provides an eye opener, though, to the everyday trials and smiles of living with someone dying with Alzheimer's. To her credit, Jana Pryor does include some statistics and information at the beginning of each chapter, though some of it is repetitive.

I have the utmost admiration for Jana Pryor.  Obviously the relationship between her and her grandmother was a strong one, based on love and respect.  To keep her grandmother in her home and to care for her through the varying stages of Alzheimer's is admirable; though she seeks not praise nor admiration as her purpose in writing this book.  As baby boomers age, more and more are being diagnosed with this disease and more relatives and spouses are struggling to provide care for them.  Doing so is a great strain and takes immense monetary, physical, emotional and mental resources.  Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowingly testifies of that.

Caregivers should read this book, overlooking its deficits, as a means of support.  To read of others' experiences can buoy one up while helping the reader know what to expect.  This book can offer that.

Rated: 4/5 for value, 2.5/5 for mechanics

Author Information:  The author, Jana Pryor, has a Masters degree in Human Resource Management and currently resides in North Texas. She was Jane’s sole caretaker for over five years, which is much longer than most people can endure prior to admitting an Alzheimer’s patient into a facility. Jana knows first-hand how debilitating Alzheimer’s can be. She believes society should be not just aware of the disease, but also increasingly concerned, especially with baby boomers living longer. It is her desire to become a “voice” for the elderly by showing readers the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s.  

1 comment:

  1. I read and reviewed this book too and I agree with you. This book could have been so much more if it had been edited better. Here is my review if you want to check it out.

    Grace at Feeding My Book Addiction


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