Thursday, June 29, 2017


Rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is the first book for my newly-formed book club, Richly Read. We will be meeting to discuss in mid-July.

The fictional story centers around Anna who is a thirty-eight year old (former) paramedic suffering the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. When it is no longer feasible for her to live with her twin brother and his family, she takes residence in the Rosalind House where another thirty-something, Luke, who has been diagnosed with a different form of dementia, also lives.

The reason I describe Anna as suffering and Luke as diagnosed to illustrate the point that Anna was having difficulty coming to terms with the disease (that the author insinuates is genetically received from Anna's mother), whereas Luke seemed better equipped to deal with his reality.

Anna and Luke fall in "love." And there is much debate and dialogue in the novel regarding the ability for two people with memory deficiencies to fall (and stay) in love.

The secondary protagonist is Eve. Rashly thrown into the role of a single mother due to a recent tragedy in her life, Eve comes to the Rosalind House as head cook and temporary housekeeper. She's also dealing with her young daughter's grief and trying to manage her difficult school life. When Eve learns of Anna and Luke's guardians' desire to keep them separated, Eve must decide whether she will risk her livelihood to help them.

This book was very easy to read. The medical portions were explained in such a way that anyone could understand. The tempo of the book was good. Each chapter was narrated by either Anna, Eve, and Eve's daughter. Some chapters were told in present time while others worked from the past and flashbacks, which made the read a little cumbersome. I also think Hepworth took on too many heavy topics (dementia, healthcare, scandals, bullying, grief, romance, among many others) to cover in such a short book. It seems like she ran out of time (or energy) and wrapped up the ending a little too tightly for my liking.

Recommendation: I like that this book offered a different perspective to dementia, and I feel like I learned some things. It's worth a quick read on a summer weekend.

Until next time ... Read on!


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