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Mother in the middle : a biologist's story of caring for parent and child
Lockhart, Sybil
Adult Nonfiction QH31.L692 A3 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this impressive debut memoir, Lockhart, a former UC-Berkeley neurobiologist, chronicles her struggle to raise two daughters while tending her own mother, rapidly deteriorating from Alzheimer's. A masterful storyteller and lyrical in describing biological processes, Lockhart renders perceptive family portraits, tracing how the mundane movements that anchor everyday life--driving to the grocery store, making coffee, folding laundry--can warp when stymied by dementia, and strain even the strongest relationships: "The distress Ma projects when her schedule is disrupted infects me immediately." Lockhart treats her mother's mental unraveling as a painful foil to the budding vitality of her own growing family, but it is the intense relationship with her mother that emerges as the book's central duet. For all her fascination with the minute workings of neurobiology and the development and decline of the brain, Lockhart suggests how easily her scientific knowledge is thwarted by her denial as a daughter. The question of who is the parent and who is the child--asked by so many dealing with Alzheimer's--remains unsettled long after Lockhart's drama arrives at its honest, if startling, conclusion. (Feb. 3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In her first book, Lockhart, a biologist, relates noticing small changes in her mother's behavior that turn out to be early signs of Alzheimer's disease-her increasing forgetfulness and anxiety over small matters, her disorientation and fretfulness. At her husband's insistence, Lockhart finally makes an appointment with a neurologist who diagnoses Ma with Alzheimer's. Her symptoms improve a bit with medications, although she suffers from the drugs' side effects. As she watches Ma's condition deteriorate, Lockhart realizes, "This is my future. My two children will grow as my mom disintegrates, and I will be there in the middle." Although Ma's symptoms worsen, she continues to live alone until she unexpectedly dies in her home. As Lockhart cleans out the contents of her mother's house, she discovers that Ma had kept a diary for years, even as her memory was failing. She writes that her mother's "words connected me to my children as they grew and to my mother as she faded away." Often heartbreaking, Lockhart's book is highly recommended for Alzheimer's and memoir collections. A terrific companion to Elizabeth Cohen's The House on Beartown Road and Joyce Dyer's In a Tangled Wood.-Karen McNally Bensing, Benjamin Rose Inst. Lib., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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