Published by St. Martin's Press on January 19th 2016
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Fiction
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 another 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.
So this is kind of special, but St Martin’s Press, the publisher of The Things We Keep, asked me to create a video of the review I wrote. You can watch it right now or read the review below!
Whenever I think of true love, I think of my grandparents.
My grandfather married my grandmother after six weeks. Six weeks. If someone proposed to me after six weeks, let alone suggest we get married right away, I’d run for the hills. But, you know, different times and all that. Six weeks, and they were married for sixty years, until grandpa finally succumbed to Alzheimer’s.
Growing up with a grandfather who had Alzheimer’s was difficult. I had to sit back and watch as my grandfather, whom I would play minigolf with and eat pancakes with whenever I stayed over, went from treating me like his little girl to not knowing who I was.
In the earlier stages, we would go for a walk and he would know that I was family, but he wouldn’t know my name or that I was his granddaughter. Still, he felt the need to get a conversation going with me. And so he asked me questions. Many questions. “What do you study?” “Is it mixed ed?” “What sports do you play?” I would answer his questions patiently, no matter how many times he’d asked.
My mom visited more often, so he remembered her for longer. Sometimes he would just see her as family, other times he brightly greeted her with her name. He still knew we were part of him somehow, though. Whenever we would visit and go for walks, and mom and I would drift from the path to look at a store window, he’d look around and go, “Where did the others go?”
Eventually, though, he further declined and had to be put in a home. My grandmother visited him every day and I honestly believe she kept him alive for as long as he was. She would feed him a pudding cup and an orange, for extra calories and vitamins, every single day. At his funeral, my uncle had calculated roughly how many pudding cups and oranges my grandmother had fed him over the years – the numbers rose into the thousands, and it was something that made us all laugh through our tears.
Grandpa forgot everyone over the years – his three children, his five grandchildren, his brothers and sisters and other friends and family.
Everyone except grandma.
He was smooth as hell about it, too. My grandfather was a charmer, you guys. One time, he took her hand and asked her, “Will you marry me?” Grandma laughed and went, “Darling, we’ve been married for sixty years!” To which he replied, “Oh, I’m so glad you said yes.”
Now that’s a lot of smooth.
My other grandfather knows where it’s at, as well. He once won 10 euros, so I asked him, “So are you going to buy yourself some pancakes with that?” And he simply said, “No, flowers for grandma.”
My grandfathers, ladies and gentlemen.
Grandpa declined more and more, but he would never forget about grandma. He would absently reach over to hold her hand, or say things like “Je t’aime”, or pour beer into her tea (“I’m drinking tea!” “Well, now you’re drinking tea with beer.”).
And when that day came and grandpa had a heart attack, he breathed his last breath with grandma by his side, the only person he still remembered and loved.
And that’s why I love this story. Because Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean you can’t love.
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy