The Things We Keep
Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: January 19th 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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 other 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.
The story of two young people with early onset alzheimers. It breaks my heart to read such a story, but warms it at the same time.
It is also the story of Eve and her recovery from a husband who has through shady financial dealings deprived Eve and her daughter of their home and through a subsequent action – a husband and father. Through his financial dealings he has left many others penniless as well. One of those awful stories you read about in the paper. In this story we catch a glimpse of those left behind dealing with the fall out.
Being robbed of memory, life as one might expect – so many losses and most of all the loss of dignity – being treated as if you aren’t there. Carers who don’t really care and treat you not like the person you are. Being left in the hands of people who are mostly trustworthy but what of those who are not? However thank goodness for those with the eye of compassion and realisation of what really matters. My heart also went out to Jack (Anna’s brother) and his family as they struggle to find their way through Anna’s illness.
I liked the varying points of view – especially that of Anna before she loses her memory considerably. It adds a sadness and a realisation of the person lost in the illness. It also gives us the truth, the truth that other characters don’t have. Eve who has had a huge challenge thrown at her, but brings a compassionate pair of eyes to the situation at Rosalind Home. Clementine the daughter of Eve – the eye of innocence and charm that can relate to the people of the home in a way others can’t and also experiences the cruelty of the school playground. And must struggle with the loss of her father and who he was for her.
I disliked Eric the manager of Rosalind House from the get go and have to admit, suspected him of more than what he finally is brought down for.
Once I started reading this book I had to keep going, I felt sad as I reached the final page, and yet thankful for the gift of the story.