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The Last of His MindThe Last of His Mind

A Year in the Shadow of Alzheimer's

John Thorndike

Narrated by David L. Stanley

Approximately 8 hours

Unabridged


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by Ohio University Press


Joe Thorndike was managing editor of Life at the height of its popularity immediately following World War II. He was the founder of American Heritage and Horizon magazines, the author of three books, and the editor of a dozen more. But at age 92, in the space of six months he stopped reading or writing or carrying on detailed conversations. He could no longer tell time or make a phone call. He was convinced that the governor of Massachusetts had come to visit and was in the refrigerator.

Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's, and like many of them, Joe Thorndike's one great desire was to remain in his own house. To honor his wish, his son John left his own home and moved into his father's upstairs bedroom on Cape Cod. For a year, in a house filled with file cabinets, photos, and letters, John explored his father's mind, his parents' divorce, and his mother's secrets. The Last of His Mind is the bittersweet account of a son's final year with his father, and a candid portrait of an implacable disease.

It's the ordeal of Alzheimer's that draws father and son close, closer than they have been since John was a boy. At the end, when Joe's heart stops beating, John's hand is on his chest, and a story of painful decline has become a portrait of deep family ties, caregiving, and love.

John Thorndike is the author of two novels, Anna Delaney's Child and The Potato Baron, and a previous memoir, Another Way Home.

REVIEWS:

“A brave, moving story of a son’s devotion to his dying father…. Thorndike’s prose is serenely beautiful and his patience in caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is extremely admirable. An affecting work of emotional honesty and forgiveness.”

Kirkus Reviews

“The first few pages of The Last of His Mind are dynamite, in their quiet way. They open up a world that, if you've known it and lived in it, conks you on the head, bashes your memory, brings it all back in a rush…. This memoir is far too elegantly written to ever state it directly, but the reader is made aware of the high honor involved: The author honors his father in the most profound way and is blessed, in turn, by participating in the most taxing event in his father’s life.”

Washington Post Book World

“A beautiful book, this memoir reveals the painful chaos of Alzheimer’s, as well as the strength, faith and unexpected joys that come with caring for a loved one in his last days.”

Publishers Weekly

“One has to admire the honesty of the author who sets forth all his feelings, whatever light they may shine on his character…. One comes away from this book impressed by the author’s devotion to his father, and the art he displays in organizing and writing this poignant memoir.”

Ohioana Quarterly

“Thorndike combines an elegant, expressive prose line with an unsparing honesty and a willingness to plumb the depths of his experiences—even those that are frightening or ugly.”

Westword

“John Thorndike’s wrenching, detailed and affecting memoir chronicling the year he cared for his Alzheimer’s-beset father is at its core a story about touch…. Readers will respond to the touch of his daring, deft embrace.”

America: The National Catholic Weekly

“John Thorndike’s memoir is a wonderfully detailed episodic account of his father’s ordeal with Alzheimer’s…. an honest and powerful portrayal of the effects of the combination of old age and Alzheimer’s disease and the love between a son and his father.”

ForeWord Reviews

“Thorndike‘s journey is recounted with great descriptive power and compassion.”

Cape Cod Times





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