by Charles Whiten

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Henry Watkins is dying of late onset Alzheimer�s disease. He is alone most days in his room at Hospice of the Piedmont, except for nurse Lynn Steward, his caretaker and confidante. Dispirited but not defeated, Henry declares his intent to recall his childhood through a memoir of events occurring in his life from age five to age eleven. His recollection, chronicled in six chapters, each covering one year of his childhood, takes us on a coming-of-age journey which ends with Henry recognizing that people aren�t always as they appear. Sometimes, he discovers, there�s a reason for their unsavory actions.

Throughout Henry�s memoir, his grandmother is the stalwart whom he seeks when he is troubled, either emotionally or physically. He lives with his grandmother, his grandpa, his mother and two sisters in a house owned by his grandpa and grandmother. From the beginning, it is Henry�s grandpa that causes Henry the most dismay. It is his grandpa Henry seeks to understand. Grandpa is introduced in the first chapter in the most unfavorable light imaginable when Henry reflects on a discourse between his grandmother and his grandpa: �The first and only time I ever saw my grandmother cry was when grandpa snatched her Bible from her,� he recalls.

Henry�s stream of consciousness visions appear throughout the novel, and especially at the beginning of each stage of his declining mental capacity; for example, as found in the first two lines of Stage Three: The memory of an Alzheimer�s patient is like a lake in an unending drought. The shoreline slowly recedes until there is no life-giving water left---only a swamp, mushy and unforgiving. It is through these stages that Henry declines into the world of lost memories. Stages four, five, six and seven underscore Henry�s progression into stark senile dementia, where the stream of consciousness visions ultimately become the only thoughts left to him.

The denouement brings Henry�s memoir and the stages of his disease together as Henry asks the question of nurse Lynn, �Am I a good boy?� the affirmation he has sought all his life.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940150394636
Publisher: Publish Green
Publication date: 08/20/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Charles Whiten was born in 1944 and grew up on a cotton mill village in Anderson, South Carolina. He graduated from the Citadel in 1966 and from the University Of South Carolina School Of Law in 1969. He served as a JAG officer during the Vietnam War era and returned home to Anderson to practice law. He has witnessed firsthand the debilitating effects of Alzheimer�s disease, those suffering through the seven stages of Alzheimer�s as well as the stress wearing on caretakers of patients with the disease. He still lives in Anderson with his wife Carla. He is the author of two other novels, The Republican Manifesto, a political thriller, and Mountain Music, a mystery set in the mountains of North Carolina.

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