Reader reviews and comments on The Things We Keep, plus links to write your own review.

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The Things We Keep

by Sally Hepworth

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth X
The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2016, 352 pages
    Jan 2017, 352 pages

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There are currently 21 reader reviews for The Things We Keep
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Barb K

The Things We Keep
First I must tell you that this was a very difficult book for me to read. At my age if I succumb to dementia, it will not be Early Onset. Furthermore, I have relatives who have/had this horrible disease.

Having said this, I am glad that I persevered and read this book. It gave me insight into what the patient experiences since the reader is able to see the workings of Anna's mind as she tries to cope with her new reality.

The structure of the story from several points of view and during different time period takes a bit of concentration at first, but it enables the reader to understand the characters and the reasons for their actions.

First and foremost, though, this is a wonderful love story.

Compassionate, realistic, complicated view of Alzheimer's
I enjoyed this book. Having worked with Alzheimer's patients in acute care, I found Hepworth's descriptions and portrayal of moral dilemmas to be accurate. How do we define mental competency? If you can't drive a car or keep a checkbook, does that mean you have no power over anything in your life? In our medical culture, too often it does. There are caring professionals out there like Eve and Rosie, but not enough of them, and there are too many rules getting in the way. This deserves discussion...looking forward to the Book Browse discussion coming up at the end of February!

The Disease That Touches Us All
Very thought provoking book of early onset Alzheimer's and family decisions. Where is the line drawn between love and protection? How do you express your thoughts and feelings to the people you have given your trust to care for you, when you cannot remember recent hours/days, but you still feel emotions. A great story of love, while wrestling with the terrible disease of dementia.
Jean N. (New Richmond, OH)

The Things We Keep
I enjoyed this book very much. I've never read anything about early on-set Alzheimers disease. Through Anna's first person story I really felt what it must be like to know that you are going to be steadily losing your memory and almost all that you are as a person. Anna amazed me. She made choices while she still could, and faced her future with courage. But, the story remained real. Anna's feelings, thoughts, reactions were so human and honest. I felt all the characters were very believable.
I think book clubs would have a lot to discuss. This is a very readable, thought provoking book.
I think that an important thing to remember, and it came through in this book, is that love does remain. Memories may fail, but a person can always feel love.
Marcia C. (Jeffersonville, PA)

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
This wonderful book has two story lines running side by side. The first is a love story between two adults in their 30's whose memories are being slowly undermined by dementia. Anna and Luke meet in an assisted living facility. They fall in love and, against all odds, work to hold onto their love and identity for as long as possible.

The second is the story of Eve a young single mom who is working to rebuild her life and that of her young daughter after her husband's bad business decisions destroy everything they had. The two stories come together in a way that is heartbreaking, strong, inspiring and touchingly human.

This might be a good book for anyone who read Still Alice. I would definitely recommend it for book groups. I did have one problem with the book and that was with the time shifts. I found myself looking back to make sure I was in the right time frame. However, that never interfered with my enjoyment of the story.
Patricia S. (Yankton, SD)

Do the things we keep outweigh the thing we lose?
Three women, one only a child, each suffer devastating losses. Anna suffers devastating early Alzheimer's, Eve the shocking suicide of her husband and all she possessed, and her young daughter, Clementine, the sudden loss of the father she adored.

How each of these moves ahead in life, forging new futures while learning to keep what was good in their former lives makes for a heart wrenching and at time amusing story.

The supporting cast - Anna's brother Jack, the residents of Rosalind House, Clementine's classmates - all add to the poignancy and humor in the story. The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is a wonderful find which I am going to highly recommend to my book club.
Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)

Fantastic read!
This is one of the best books I have read this year. Anyone who enjoyed Still Alice would like this one & I think it brings up many issues for book clubs to discuss. I like the way the 1st person narrative changes among the characters in each section. With the 7 year old daughter's narrative, I found myself laughing & crying. The characters are well drawn & believable.
Bonnie B. (Fairbanks, AK)

"If I don't remember, will I have been here at all?"
Sally Hepworth has written a sad book that also made me smile; a page-turner that I wanted to read slowly and savor; an accessible and poignant book.

Anna is in her thirties when she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease, a genetically based illness that she inherited from her mother. Her twin brother, Jack, does not carry the gene and is spared. However, he is responsible for Anna and the situation tears him to pieces.

Jack places Anna in Rosalind House, an assisted living facility where, day by day, her cognitive processes decline. However, what no one accounted for was the power of love to surmount this illness. Anna meets a young man close to her age with a type of Alzheimer's different than hers. She loves his dimples and calls him "young guy". They connect deeply and powerfully despite their difficulty communicating in the traditional sense.

With a wonderful supporting cast of characters cheering them on, Anna and "Young Guy" navigate this new chapter in their lives, one that brings them both hope and despair.
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Beyond the Book:
  Early-onset Alzheimer's

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