Reading guide for Keeper by Andrea Gillies

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One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's

by Andrea Gillies

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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2010, 336 pages
    Oct 2011, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Dear Reader:
Here are some questions that seem obvious to me, as the author of the book. They're the questions I ask myself, now that I read it again, given the benefit of some distance from the events described.
My best to you,
Andrea Gillies 

  1. Did Andrea and Chris have any real choice when they offered to take Nancy and Morris into their home? Where would another choice have led the family as a whole?

  2. On what basis does the author rationalize the choice she's made to care for Nancy herself? Is her reasoning sound, or based on idealism and ignorance?

  3. To what extent does the romantic setting - the landscape surrounding the house, and the beauty of the house itself – become metaphorical and emblematic of the progress of the story?

  4. How do Nancy's and the author's 'journeys' (in terms of mood and state of mind) come to mirror one another?

  5. Why do the other characters, particularly the author's husband and children, play so small a part in the book?

  6. What's Morris's role in the deterioration of Nancy's dementia?

  7. What's the turning point in the story, and why? When does it become clear that the experiment isn't going to work?

  8. How successful is the author in explaining how a disease can affect a personality? Were you convinced that, as the author comes to believe, memory is the same thing as identity, and that 'self' is a biological entity?

  9. Can the author's getting aggressive and indifferent with Nancy be justified? And if so, how?

  10. At the end of the book, when change comes, do Andrea and Chris make the right decision for Morris and Nancy?  Should they have taken this course of action at the beginning?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Broadway Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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