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The Things We Keep
A poignant story of one of today's nightmares: early-onset Alzheimer's.
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Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Created: 02/23/16

Replies: 28

Posted Feb. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

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Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

It seems like it would be difficult to write a story from Anna’s point of view, with her memory constantly slipping. Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?


Posted Feb. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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MSWaters

Join Date: 02/28/16

Posts: 4

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes, Anna's character is believable. Recently, I have read several books with main characters who had Alzheimer's disease. Two of the best were "Emily is Missing," which I absolutely loved, and "Still Alice." When dealing with narrators who suffer with Alzheimer's, readers must understand that there are times when the narrators are not 100% reliable. Not because they are intentionally trying to deceive, but because they simply cannot remember everything or do not understand the context of a situation. Anna has a pretty good grasp of what's going on around her, and her bravery shines through even in the darker moments. I did feel sympathy for this character. Anna is about my own age, and I often have a hard time remember things (people's names, where I put my keys, or just what in the world is going on), but I know my small problems in no way compare to Anna's. I can easily imagine her anger, which does not come through often, at being cheated of life when she is just learning to live and enjoy herself.


Posted Feb. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
candaceb

Join Date: 03/30/14

Posts: 36

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes, I thought she was very believable and well developed. I would feel sorry for anyone in that situation however with Anna, I felt admiration for her courage and spunk and her willingness to love when withdrawal and depression could also be reactions.


Posted Feb. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 114

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes I thought that Anna's character was very believable and it must have been very difficult for the author to write her. I felt very sorry for her because she was so aware of what was happening to her and what would happen in the future.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 75

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Anna's character was believable. I loved the novel Still Alice. With Alice we read her journey with her every day life slipping away. Getting lost on her walk home from work. This book was interesting since it dwelt with Anna's new life in the Rosalind Home. Anna seemed to be a person who was very much in charge of her life. I read this book a while ago but remember that once she realized the problem she left her husband as she did not want him to deal with the problem and she wanted to be with her brother. Of course I was sympathetic. As I am recently retired and in my late 60's it bothers me that I forget things. My heart goes out to younger people who have this disease.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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bestmartin

Join Date: 02/20/13

Posts: 71

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes, I thought Anna was a believable, well developed character. She was brave and resolved but also vulnerable and doubting her desire to live in a declining state. What I also felt the author did very well was show he swings from clarity and joy to sadness, confusion and depression. Having worked with many dementia patients I recognized the truth in the characterization.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Windsong

Join Date: 05/07/13

Posts: 70

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I really liked the flipping between Anna's lucid moments and her dementia. That style made Anna's character very believable for me.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 47

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Anna was believable as an early Alzheimer's patient with her frustration, anger and difficulties. Ms. Hepworth wrote her with depth and sensitivity. I liked seeing her slips and struggles. It brought her story to life to have scenes from her point of view, but also to see her mistakes through the eyes of others. It made her more sympathetic and sad. It made me as a reader want to care for her like so many others in the book itself.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 60

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Her character is believable, I cared for people with various dementias and this is what life was like for them.


Posted Mar. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyh

Join Date: 01/26/16

Posts: 20

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes, I thought Anna's character was believable and I felt very sympathetic toward her. The only part of Anna's character that I questioned was the use of complete and lucid sentences in her thinking when the story was being told from her perspective. I eventually accepted this as a tool used by the author to convey information to the reader. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease about three years ago. Initially, I felt that my mother frequently had complete and lucid concepts in her mind that she simply could not accurately communicate with words, that there was a disconnect between her thoughts and her words. But now I think that she rarely has a complete and lucid thought in her mind.


Posted Mar. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 262

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes, I thought her character was very believable. The author did a great job of transitions between her various states of awareness. I admired her for striving toward making the best of what life she had left


Posted Mar. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nikkim

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 13

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes, Anna's character is very believable. Heartbreaking and very realistic in the way she slips in and out of lucidity. What a cruel disease...


Posted Mar. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Frances

Join Date: 08/01/15

Posts: 32

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I liked realizing that Anna left her husband the way her father left her mother - not willing to face the disease as a couple. Her behavior made more sense to me then. Her father says the mother drove him away and that seemed believable, too. He admits he was a coward and ran. The nasty brother just wants it all to be fine so he doesn't analyze anything - just reacts and wants it all his way.


Posted Mar. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 185

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I found Anna believable, including her anger. How frustrating not to be able to remember things. What surprised me was the lack of depth perception. I did feel sympathy for her, but she may have been fortunate not remembering some things.


Pegh
Posted Mar. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
johannam

Join Date: 03/24/13

Posts: 11

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I loved reading the Anna chapters and was always rooting for Anna and Luke! I just wanted to shake her brother at times but sympathized with his attempts to care for her. I think her character was believable and I saw in her struggles many similarities to my mom who lives with early stages of dementia/Alzheimer's. Those sections gave me insight as to how mom might think and feel as she navigates her day.


Posted Mar. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccak

Join Date: 05/26/12

Posts: 39

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I found Anna very believable, and surprisingly easy to empathize with despite not having any experience with interacting with individuals who have dementia. She seemed to be trapped - somewhat in the same way when a patient under anesthesia wakes up during surgery but can't move or speak. She was more lucid in her mind than how other perceived her to be.


Posted Mar. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darylb

Join Date: 06/23/13

Posts: 90

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Anna was very believable. I did sympathize with her plight but also admired her courage. Early onset Alzheimer's is a devastating disease .


Posted Mar. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
hazeyr

Join Date: 03/24/12

Posts: 19

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward h

JudyHs comments at very interesting -- I thought the opposite. What evidence do we have that the thought process and language skills are diminished? I found the immature language distracting


Posted Mar. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Frances

Join Date: 08/01/15

Posts: 32

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I found the explanation of Luke's dementia helpful. His kind of word loss was different. He knew it was there but couldn't quite get it. So his truncated language made sense to me. Anna's loss was different and seemed to be more general - not just her word-finding but her entire brain-working was deteriorating. That her language was distracting is useful in letting the reader know how hard it was to converse with these people or even decide what to tell them and what to lie about. Her limited language was distracting to her family and to the staff.


Posted Mar. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 67

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes I think Anna's character was believable. I don't know any young adults with Alzheimer disease but I do know a few elderly adults that had it. All but one was very easy going for the most part like Anna. I can understand her wanting to be with Luke, someone who loves her, accepts her, and will be there for her. She trusted him. I was very sympathetic toward her because her life will be cut short by this disease.


Posted Mar. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
GinH

Join Date: 06/17/13

Posts: 25

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I completely related to Anna. I live with the fear of Alzheimer's because I believe my father was suffering from it at the time of his death, although no autopsy was done to confirm it. I worry about the possibility of it happening to me in the future so I've done a lot thinking about the disease and how it affects the sufferers. Anna felt very real to me and I was filled with sympathy.


Posted Mar. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dawnc

Join Date: 09/19/11

Posts: 9

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Absolutely, I think it is even worse to have it as a young person because no one wants to believe they could have such a debilitating disease.


Posted Mar. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rivkahh

Join Date: 05/04/15

Posts: 7

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I found her a very believable and sympathetic character. I was also reminded of the book Still Alice. To me, that one was more heartrending. I really enjoyed The Things We Keep; the interspersing of Eve's story with Anna's made the pathos of Anna's condition a bit less intense, I felt (not necessarily a bad thing). The story of Alice was relentlessly sad, though beautifully written.


Posted Mar. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeanettel

Join Date: 01/05/12

Posts: 53

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I did feel very sympathetic towards Anna who is still in her thirties and is aware that her mind is slowly slipping away from her. She tries so hard to keep what she knows from disappearing. Her character is very believable


Posted Mar. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes Anna is a believable character. She brings forth sympathy and fear.


Posted Mar. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amandap

Join Date: 03/12/16

Posts: 12

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

Yes I found Anna to be not only believable but endearing and lovable.


Posted Mar. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 294

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RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I found Anna to be believable, and she really touched my heart. I think this book would make a great movie.


Posted Mar. 15, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terric

Join Date: 03/01/16

Posts: 3

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

I am finding comfort in this book as I recently lost my mother to early onset Alzheimers and spent a great deal of time in the nursing home where she was for 2 years before she passed. Mom lived 5 years after being diagnosed and reading this books brings back all the things my Mom went through but I didn't understand at the time. I found all the characters believable and the book made me cry, laugh, feel grateful, and hurt. Humans are so interesting and caring even at their worse. I only wish this book was published sooner. It would have helped me understand what Mom was going through right before she was diagnosed as well as immediately after. And, as anyone wonders when a close relative has this disease, will I get it? If so, I think I would think, feel and act a great deal like Anna.


Posted Mar. 15, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Frances

Join Date: 08/01/15

Posts: 32

RE: Is Anna's character believable? Did you feel sympathetic toward her?

It's nice when a book makes us feel better or confirms our experience. When a novel expands our experience and takes us into new places and new understanding, that is of deep value. Reading novels is said to be of great value in connecting us with the world, with other people and cultures, other experiences. It is good to know this novel helped and comforted you. When people say they read only non-fiction because "make-believe" is a waste of time, I think of experiences like yours. Thank you for sharing it.


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