Book Description

From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In this engrossing memoir, author Thorndike (Anna DeLaney's Child, Another Way Home: A Single Father's Story) tells a touching story of family, death, discovery and devotion, in which Thorndike probes his journalist father's accomplishments and losses, his relationships and his wife's tragic suicide. When his father Joe Thorndike, suffering at age 92 from congestive heart failure and the onset of Alzheimer's disease, can no longer take care of himself, Thorndike offers to live with him. Over the following year, Thorndike chronicles his father's growing incapacity, and seeks to learn more about him despite the dying man's lifelong all-but-impenetrable reserve. While much of the book details Thorndike's difficulties caretaking for his father, he heightens the proceedings with family tales, including some from his father's editorial work at the heyday of Life, working with bold named figures like the Luces, Whittaker Chambers, James Thurber and Winston Churchill. 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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Read more Review ?This book tells a hard story, the relentless decline of a father?s memory and self-awareness. John Thorndike writes a beautiful sentence, a beautiful page, and describes his father?s last year with piercing clarity, but also great warmth. He opens a world we will all have to face.? ? Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones'In The Last of his Mind, John Thorndike has given us far more than a book on dealing with Alzheimer?s. This taut, clear-eyed memoir of a son caring for his father in his final days is an act of consummate literary bravery, allowing us to witness the final dance between two flawed and admirable men.' ? Rob Wilder, author of Daddy Needs a Drink and Tales from the Teachers? Lounge'Here in detail is a story we fear for our loved ones, a story we fear for ourselves. Yet Thorndike also conveys the humor and joy, the contemplation and compassion, and the reconciliation and healing that were part of this journey. The result: The Last of His Mind is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming.' ? Lady Borton, author of After Sorrow: An American Among the Vietnamese'The frankness of this haunting memoir is totally disarming. Thorndike addresses the banalities and small tragedies that attend the great event of a lifetime with an unblinking eye. Told in his luminously clear prose, the plain story of the unraveling of a mind and a life find its way into the heart like our own blood. An important, beautiful book.' ? Henry Shukman, author of The Lost City Read more See all Editorial Reviews