The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

by Walter Mosley


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A major literary event-nothing short of a "tour de force" (New York Times) by the acclaimed and beloved author.


Marooned in an apartment that overflows with mementos from the past, 91-year-old Ptolemy Grey is all but forgotten by his family and the world. But when an unexpected opportunity arrives, everything changes for Ptolemy in ways as shocking and unanticipated as they are poignant and profound.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594485503
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/2011
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 172,855
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Walter Mosley is one of America’s most celebrated, beloved, and bestselling writers. His books have been translated into at least twenty-one languages, and have won numerous awards. Born in Los Angeles, Mosley lives in New York City.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 12, 1952

Place of Birth:

Los Angeles, California


B.A., Johnson State College

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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
If you have ever had a loved one touched by the cruel hand of dementia, you need to read this book. It will help you understand some of the torment and struggle that are endured by those afflicted by this disease. If you haven't witnessed the suffering, you may well ask if a person would bargain their time that is left them for a few days or weeks of clarity and sound judgment. I know I would. So did Mr Ptolemy Grey,a ninety-one year old, black man, whose life and dignity are being sucked out of him by dementia. He continues to live by himself in squalid surroundings since the death of his wife many years ago. He has a vague idea that he needs to leave a legacy; to make a difference for some of his remaining family and to Robyn, a beautiful, caring, eighteen year old girl, who has brought a freshness and new life to Mr. Ptolemy Grey. He must decide whether to live a life in which he is afraid to go out on the street or to open his door to relatives or neighbors, lest they beat and rob him or take the devil's medicine that may give him a last chance to fulfill his dream. The book is full of good characterizations and is very insightful in how we treat ourselves and others.
px4 More than 1 year ago
This is a Walter Mosley I've never known. I was touched with the plight of old age and cheered by the salvation of youth. I'm looking forward to a second reading. The first time was for the fun of finding out what happens. The second is to revisit the wisdom of the characters.
BernardJames More than 1 year ago
I have ALWAYS been a huge Walter Mosley fan, pouring through all the Easy, Fearless and Socrates novels - and more recently, those featuring NYC Private Investigator, Leonid McGill. Mosley has an extraordinary capacity to breathe life into his characters. Whenever I'm engaged with one of his books, it's as if the principals leap right of the page into a state of animation that continues to inhabit my imagination.long after I've put away the book or turned off my nook. This was no less true in the case of Ptolemy Grey and his young companion, Robyn. In Mosley's novel, the Old Man and Young Girl are thrust into each other's lives in the midst of a trying and difficult situation, and through their various interactions the author skillfully takes us along for the ride, representing their journey of redemption and well as the pure and unmitigated love they develop for each another. Under different circumstances or in a different time and place, we're led to believe that their affection would most certainly have been expressed in a more intimate way: "If I was 20 years older, and you were 50 years younger..?" is a question that Robyn initially poses and both characters return to several times. But in spite of the chasm that defines their generational divide, Ptolemy and Robyn are still able to find a true and legitimate expression for how they feel about each other. In time, old fears are conquered and new potential is harnessed and put to effective use. This book is Powerful. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey was an absolute treat.
awaywego More than 1 year ago
Mr. Mosley does a superb job of capturing the frustration and confusion of an elderly man suffering from dementia and the explosive effect a mind altering "alternative" drug has on his life and relationships. Excellent read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book drew me in on the first page. I read it in a day- reading at traffic lights, in the car wash, lunch breaks.... It brings back a humanity missing on so many books written today....and I loved how the author ended the book. So many books have left me with an anti-climactic feeling, not so with this piece....I simply shut the back cover and smiled.
bookworm6460 More than 1 year ago
wrmjr66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered what it¿s like to be inside the mind of an elderly person with dementia? In The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Walter Mosley gives us a glimpse of the horrors of cognitive loss. The opening pages of Mosley¿s new novel are sure to go down as one of the best representations of dementia in fiction. Ptolemy Grey is an elderly man in Los Angeles who has to rely on his relatives to help him get food, go to the bank, and avoid being mugged. His apartment is a cacophony of 24-hour news coverage and classical music radio, and most of his apartment is inaccessible due to accumulated garbage, rats and bugs. Ptolemy¿s external life mirrors his internal confusion, and one can¿t help but look at him with anything other than pity¿a fact echoed by his relatives who refer to him as ¿Pity Papa.¿Life begins to change for Ptolemy when his nephew, Reggie, fails to come for him one day. Instead, another nephew, Hilly, comes for him. Ptolemy is reluctant to follow him, but finally trusts him. Hilly steals from him, which Ptolemy is aware enough to recognize. The next time Hilly comes, Ptolemy accuses him, but he allows him to take him over to his niece¿s house. It turns out that Ptolemy has been brought to her house for Reggie¿s funeral. Ptolemy¿s static life seems to be in disarray, but it is through this confusion Robyn enters his life and begins to clean it up. Robyn is a distant relative and teenager, but she immediately begins to take care of Ptolemy, starting by cleaning up his apartment. Ptolemy immediately begins to rely on her, and they develop a love that Ptolemy notes would have been perfect if he were 50 years younger and Robyn were 20 years older.Robyn eventually gets Ptolemy to see a doctor. The doctor offers him an experimental and illegal treatment if Ptolemy will donate his body when he dies. Ptolemy sees this as a deal with the devil, but he takes the chance at clarity in order to set his life in order and to take care of Robyn and the children that Reggie¿s death left behind. How Ptolemy does this is the mystery of the story, so I won¿t give it away here. Suffice it to say that Ptolemy¿s long history and memories of a childhood mentor named Coydog bring about a satisfactory ending to the novel.Mosley¿s writing in this novel is crisp and full of dialog, both internal and external. As I noted earlier, his strongest writing is at the beginning of the book, and I can¿t help but feel that the book suffers a bit when Ptolemy gets clarity in his mind back. Nevertheless, the portraits Mosley draws of the other characters and the relationships he chart make this a very good novel.
mcelhra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ptolemy Grey is a ninety-one year old black man in the early stages of dementia. He's taken care of by his nephew Reggie until Reggie is killed in a drive-by shooting. Then seventeen year old friend of the family Robyn comes in to his life. She cleans up his apartment and shows him unconditional love for the first time in a long time. With a new lease on life, Ptolemy visits a mysterious doctor who offers him an experimental drug that will restore his mind and help him remember things he is desperate to remember but there's a catch - he won't live to see ninety-two.This was a wonderful story. Race issues are insightfully intertwined in both Ptolemy's flashbacks to his life as the child of a sharecropper at the turn of the century and the present day story. Throughout the book, Ptolemy remembers the wisdom of his childhood best friend and mentor, Coydog McCann. (I'll admit that I didn't understand all what Coydog was trying to say but he was still a great character.) The author does a great job of getting into Ptolemy's mind and showing the reader what it must be like to be suffering from dementia and the indignities that elderly people suffer.
mojomomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man living in small squalid apartment. He is dependent on his extended family to help him do the simplest things and he lives mostly in the past. He meets Robyn Small at his niece's house and they hit it off. Robyn has the patience to let him wander through his memories, and to clean up his apartment. Then she finds an experimental treatment to help his memory loss and Ptolemy uses all the tools at his disposal to help the family members who deserve his help and punish the ones who have done him wrong. I thought this would be a depressing book, but Ptolemy gets the upper hand and good prevails.
MurderMysteryMayhem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent! A literary suspense of old age, loneliness, dementia, dignity, and revenge.The magic of Mosley's characters is that you care about them, deeply. The end of a book is a loss and the return of a character, like Easy Rawlins, Socrates Fortlow, Paris Minton, or Leonid McGill, an eagerly anticipated event. In The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Walter Mosley has once again created an irreplaceable character.Living in modern day Los Angeles, Ptolemy is a 91-year-old African American man trapped in his apartment and unable to cope with a once familiar world. His fragmented memory makes him dependent on the kindness of distant relatives and leaves him isolated due to the danger lurking just outside his door.Moldering piles of newspapers, old clothes, and mementos are the only clues to the identity of the man Ptolemy once was and this rotting detritus of his life is burying him alive until the drive-by-shooting of his grandnephew, his protector, turns his life inside out.His savior comes in the form of a 17-year-old street smart orphan named Robyn who not only defends him from muggers but also recognizes the old man's loneliness in herself and works to unlock his past and connect him to his dignity. Uncovering the secrets of his lost life allows Ptolemy to keep a long held promise, seek justice, and become a man who won't soon be forgotten.
ldefillipo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An outstanding blending of fiction and history, this is more than just the somewhat sci-fi slanted story of a 91-year-old very, very black man in the early stages of dementia. It has the ease of the Easy Rawlins mysteries, the beauty of The Wave and the ever present history lesson so expertly intertwined with the narrative that we don't know we're being taught-until we stop to think about it (which we always have to do).
lauriebrown54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the surface, this novel is a touching tale of a 91 year old man with dementia, who through a grace of a 17 year old girl who decides to take care of him and a Faustian deal with a doctor who has an experimental dementia drug, gets a few weeks of a restored mind. Not much time, but time enough to set a lot of things right before he dies- a death accelerated by the drug. But I think it runs deeper. The story is narrated through the eyes of Ptolemy Usher Grey. He lives in a run down rooming house, the place where he has lived for a long time. His dementia has gotten the best of him; he forgets to eat sometimes and sleeps under the table. His late wife had turned into a hoarder in late life, and he himself has many mementos lying around. He doesn¿t bath- in fact, never goes into the bathroom anymore, as the toilet has been plugged up for quite some time. The radio and the TV both run 24/7 and he lives in a fog of bad memories. His great-grandnephew Reggie has been helping him, taking his checks to the bank and bringing him groceries, but he hasn¿t been seen in a few weeks now. It turns out that Reggie has been murdered. Now Ptolemy has to ask another relative for help, and this one promptly robs him, figuring Ptolemy will never even notice. He is despair.Enter seventeen year old Robyn, who is lodging with another relative of Ptolemy¿s. She sweeps into his life, cleans up his house, feeds him, and gets him back to using the bathroom and bedroom. Despite her rough upbringing by a no-account mother, she has her GED and is headed for community college. She refuses money from Ptolemy. She is hope and honesty. After Robyn takes Ptolemy to the doctor and has the mind restoring treatment, we find that Ptolemy is not who we thought he was. He is a man who feels he has not done the right things at important junctures of his life, and he wants to do the right things this time. He has some secrets he¿s been keeping, and they stand to change some lives drastically. There are a lot of symbols in this story, and hints of myth. I think this a book that will end up being read in schools and analyzed. But don¿t let this scare you; once I got past the first few pages (which drop you straight into Ptolemy¿s foggy mind), I didn¿t want to put this book down.
stixnstones004 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first Walter Mosley novel. In fact (and apparently a sad fact since he's hailed as one of the best contemporary writers), I'd never even heard of him before. But, after reading this book, I'll be sure to pick up another of his novels when next I get the chance. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Like Hurston and McKay before him, Mosley succeeded in portraying African-American speech realistically and compellingly, without crossing over into caricature. But going beyond that, Mosley delved into the much-feared and little-explored (literature-wise) realm of dementia. The story is told from the perspective of the main character, Ptolemy Grey, a man in his nineties suffering from the primary stages of dementia. Mosley's writing style very convincingly portrays Grey's broken and mixed up thoughts, flowing seamlessly from present to past and back again. The story can be seen as divided up into two parts: Grey's descent into dementia and the gradual loss of himself, and his subsequent ascent, due to the "Devil's" medicine, into lucidity. When I was reading this novel, I felt what it must feel like to be unable to prevent your thoughts from fragmenting, to be afraid to go outside because you're afraid you won't remember where you are, to be afraid of everything, in fact. This novel very poignantly demonstrates the difference between the obligatory familial love and the true love one feels for someone who truly and selflessly cares about them. This is the story of a 91 year old man who regains his youth, if only for a couple weeks, a novel that explores the past simulataneously with the present, and a man that saw the world as it was, and tried to change it.
mykl-s on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great prose. Just what we expect from Walter Mosley and his continuing exploration of more and more mature African American men. Ptolemy Grey, I could feel his bones, his arthritic joints and his desire to again think straight and figure out what was happening to him. The story is allegory and a stretch to believe in, but no less a good read for all the near miracles and the controlled ending. This is a long road from Devil in a Red Dress, but each step along the road is worth following.
MrJgyFly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps it is a good thing, albeit embarrassing, that The Last Days of Ptolomy Grey this is the first Mosley novel I've ever read. The majority of my fellow reviewers seem to have enjoyed this novel, though it seems (in their eyes) it falls short of some of his earlier novels. For me, reading Ptolomy Grey was an opportunity to read some of Mosley's freshest works, and it has certainly convinced me to read more of his novels in the near future.Like some of my favorite books (Something Wicked This Way Comes springs to mind), Mosley perfectly blends compelling storytelling with poetic prose--a task that would be particularly difficult to most writers considering the urban dialect that is present throughout the novel.The plot can nearly be cut into two separate stories: 1) a scary, eye-opening journey through the mind of a man slowly falling victim to dementia and 2) that of his "awakening." Mosley redeems this character's mind in what on the surface level seems absurd, but upon closer glance is a bit of social commentary on experimental drug prescription and the value of the elderly in American society (specifically within the lower-class). This commentary, along with Mosley's prose, keeps the story from falling into ludicrousness.The story follows 91-year-old Ptolomy Grey. We find out in the opening that his great-nephew has been killed in a drive-by-shooting, and we follow Ptolomy as he tries to understand what has happened to his relative. Ptolomy is constantly taken advantage of in the story, so when his mind is repaired half-way through the novel, we witness a redemption period, where he is hyper-aware of everything going on around him, thus causing him to become determined to seek revenge upon his nephew's murderer.The novel is built around the idea of a "bucket-list" scenario. The medicine Ptolomy is given to repair his mind only allows him to live for a few more weeks. This type of plot might seem trite in light of recent popular fiction in print and on film, but Mosley wisely attaches it to a revenge plot. The result is a quick, moving and beautiful read.
detailmuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
He only had one chair, and that had a book, a glass of water, and three stones he¿d found that day at the park on it. They were blond stones, a color he¿d never seen in rock and so he picked them up and brought them home, to be with them for a while.That¿s exactly why I read Walter Mosley -- to ¿be awhile¿ with his characters, whose situations and moral complexities I always think I haven¿t seen, and whose unfamiliarity always softens into a fond recognition.Here it¿s 2006 and 91-year-old Ptolemy Grey lives alone in squalor in south-central LA. He has a small pension, he has a radio and a TV tuned 24/7 to a dueling background of classical music and cable news, and he has sporadic contact with extended family two and three generations down the line. But his home and mind have declined since his wife died decades ago, and now dementia keeps him obsessed about the ages-ago deaths of a childhood friend in a house fire and the lynching of a beloved mentor. So when another loved one dies in street violence, and a new young friend awakens Ptolemy's spirit, he embarks on a mission to protect his loved ones before his own time comes.Mosley narrates almost completely in scenes here -- from Ptolemy¿s perspective, a mix of confusion and distraction co-mingled with vestiges of philosopher and keen observer. A key plot point about experimental drugs did require a suspension of disbelief ... or maybe it just required me to fully enter a world where the rules don¿t resemble the ones I know, and to appreciate the point of this book: being awhile with this man in that world. I loved every page of it.(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)
marsap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As some one currently dealing with family members in their own journey with dementia I found this book a wonderful gift.
pinkcrayon99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Last Days¿ was my first Walter Mosley novel and I am still in awe after putting it down. The novel is centered around ninety-one year old Ptolemy Grey who is suffering from dementia. Ptolemy¿s mind is a maze that he can¿t seem to work through while living in an apartment full of bugs and clutter. Ptolemy¿s caregiver, his great-grand nephew, Reggie has been killed. This tragic event is the turning point as Ptolemy as he reaches the last days of his life. Robyn, an orphan, taken in by Ptolemy¿s niece, affectionately called ¿Niecie, becomes his new caregiver. As Robyn begins to clean up Ptolemy¿s apartment the cobwebs in his mind seem to clear up some as well. A chance visit leads Robyn and Ptolemy to a doctor that has developed a sort of ¿miracle drug¿ for Ptolemy¿s condition. Dr. Reuben, The Devil as referred to by Ptolemy, administers this ¿miracle drug¿ that gives Ptolemy his life back for a short period of time. During these weeks of clarity we discover the beautiful life that Ptolemy lived before the onset of dementia. We are introduced to childhood friends and long lost loves. We learn the shocking secret Ptolemy has been hiding for the past ninety-one years. Throughout the entire story have a constant visitor from Ptolemy¿s childhood, Coy Dog. It is Coy that gives Ptolemy words of wisdom and guidance throughout his life. Coy Dog¿s life and death are central to Ptolemy¿s final mission. Mosley¿s writing is so fluid in how it intertwines the past, present, and future without losing the reader.Robyn shows an endearing love without an agenda. The same cannot be said for Ptolemy¿s blood relatives. The reader gets to enjoy two very different love stories, one between Ptolemy and his second wife Sensia the other between Ptolemy and Robyn. One may get the feeling that Coy¿s character is Ptolemy¿s sub-conscious after a while. By the end we see how money changes people and births evil deeds. Mosley wrote a novel that proves that trust and true love can last a lifetime and endure to the end.
speedy74 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man suffering from dementia. From the first page, the reader sees the world through his foggy mind. The character represents many elderly in our nation who are lonely and abandoned by their families. Ptolemy is "cared" for by a nephew who helps him by getting groceries and cashing his social security checks for him, but his apartment is filthy with a toilet that doesn't work, bugs, and clutter from decades of living. Robyn, a young girl orphaned and living with Ptolemy's neice, begins to help Ptolemy by running errands and cleaning up his apartment. She eventually moves in with Ptolemy and goes with him to a doctor where he recieve medicine for his dementia. The medicine makes him think more clearly, but it speeds up his approaching death. The relationship between Ptolemy and Robyn seems odd on the surface, but Mosley handles it with care and creates a situation that may just believable. Throughout the novel, Walter Mosley, does a beautiful job writing dialogue from Ptolemy's past and an old friend, Coydog. The book takes us back to a different era in US history for African-Americans. The Coydog character helps bridge Ptolemy's past with his present and is interesting to read and contemplate whether or not we have really come very far in terms of race relations. The only part I didn't like about this novel, was not knowing what happened to Robyn at the end when Ptolemy dies and she is given the task of taking care of Ptolemy's family. Perhaps Mosley will write a sequel.
kivarson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Does a beautiful teenager and an elixir from the devil disguised as a doctor hold the key to Ptolemy Grey regaining his memory and purpose?
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an engaging fast read once I got about twenty pages in, though it dragged at some points, but I'm still not sure how to react to it. At times, I wanted to know more about the characters around Ptolemy, and to be able to believe in them a bit more. This is such a character study of one man and his past, at times it felt like those around him got too little attention, verging on stereotypes or one dimensional characters. At the same time, Ptolemy's voice is so strong in its carrying off of the narrative that that may in the end be a small criticism since he is, without doubt, central to Mosley's tale. I suppose, in the end, I just wanted it to be a bit more complicated, less neat. Characters on the extremes of being either dastardly or perfect just added to that impulse. So, while I enjoyed it for what it was, it's not something I'll feel the need to come back to, and unless the plotline of another of Mosley's works really spoke to me, I probably wouldn't feel the need to explore more of his work. Still, if the book sounds of interest, you might well enjoy it as an escape through a few afternoons. Certainly, anyone interested in the portrayal of dimensia in contemporary fiction would do well to look it up, but I have a feeling this book as a whole speaks to a fairly limited audience.
saltypepper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book as part of the Early Reviewers Program. I asked for it because I am a huge fan of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins series, and to a lesser extent, his Fearless Jones and Socrates Fortlow books. I think that's why it took me so long to get to this book. I was afraid that, as with some of his stand-alone books, it wouldn't be as compelling a story, and that the asides his characters tend to fall into might be too rambling. I was even more afraid once I realized the main character was elderly, and suffering from dementia. There was unlikely to be any of the well-written action of the Rawlins and Jones books, and too much rambling.I was wrong to wait. Mosley pulls it all off beautifully. It is a reflection on aging, on memory, on the history of race relations in the US, on the relationships between men and women, young and old. It is so good and I am deeply sorry I put it off for so long.
Jenners26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brief Description: Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man living in a dirty apartment in Los Angeles. He¿s been steadily falling into dementia and forgetfulness, and his world falls to pieces when one of his few links to the present, his great-nephew Reggie, is murdered and unable to help him with his few meager errands. Distraught and confused, Ptolemy spends more time in the past with his long-dead friend Coydog than he does in the present. At Reggie¿s wake, he forms an instant connection with a young woman named Robyn, who comes to take care of Ptolemy. When Ptolemy is offered a way to dispel his dementia through an experimental medical procedure, he decides the costly side effects are worth it as it is the only way he can salvage his family and get his affairs in order.My Thoughts: The book is narrated by Ptolemy and I thought Mosley did a brilliant job of capturing Ptolemy¿s confusion and dementia while also giving the reader the story of what is going on in Ptolemy¿s life. It is a tricky balancing act, and I think Mosley pulled it off wonderfully. Although this was often a difficult read as Ptolemy¿s thoughts are often fragmented and mixed up (as it would be in person with dementia), I found it very affecting and felt as if I was inhabiting Ptolemy¿s decaying brain. In some ways, the book reminded me of Flowers For Algernon as the experimental medical procedure gives Ptolemy his memory and wits back to him ¿ but only for a brief period of time. As the procedure begins to exact its steep price, I found myself filled with sorrow for both Ptolemy and Robyn. A lovely and interesting look at aging, love and the end of life.
Citizenjoyce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a 5 star book, for the first half. It's such a realistic picture of an old (91 years) inner city African American man who lives alone while suffering moderate dementia. In Still Alice the main character is a professional white woman with a multitude of family and medical systems to support her as she declines into Alzheimer's. Ptolemy Grey is alone. He has an extended family, and they look in on him in his apartment, but he has been allowed to shutter himself up amongst the bugs and waste with no bed to sleep in and not even a functioning toilet. The world outside his door is violent and predatory. How can a person function in such a society? That is a whole book in itself, and a wondrous one. Unfortunately about half way through the book Ptolemy meets the doctor and the book changes to a rather fantastic story. It's an interesting story, but not anywhere near up to the standards of the first half of the book.
jo-jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mosley takes us on the end of life journey of Ptolemy Grey, as he is an elderly gentleman whose dementia is getting worse every day. With the book being narrated by Ptolemy we are given a front row seat to his confusion as his thoughts become more scattered. He finds more and more that his distant memories are beginning to be combined with his more current memories so he gets to the point where he is not sure if his memories are actually real.Ptolemy had a nephew who came to help him with general needs every so often. They would go buy groceries, have lunch, cash his retirement checks, and whatever else might need to be done on any particular visit. Ptolemy can't help but become alarmed when this loving nephew is suddenly murdered. He loved this young man that took such good care of him, and what would become of him now?At his nephew's funeral, Ptolemy is introduced to a young gal named Robyn, a young woman who appears to be fending for herself in this world, that one of Ptolemy's relatives has taken into their home. Ptolemy and Robin find something special in each other and make a connection that Ptolemy hasn't experienced in years. As he lets Robyn into his life a little more each day, she becomes more than a casual acquaintance, but also a dear friend who truly cares for him.Things are about to change quickly for Ptolemy as a consultation with a social worker puts him on a path to meet a doctor that will help him with his memory problems. Will the ultimate sacrifice make everything worthwhile for Ptolemy to have vivid memories of his entire life? Ptolemy feels this is the direction that is necessary for him to leave a legacy for all of his loved ones.This was a beautifully written novel that made me realize how frustrated my 89 year old Grandma must be in her body as she searches for words that came to her easily in the past. I admit that I get frustrated at times listening to the same stories over and over, but I guess this is her way of keeping her memories alive so who I am to put a kabash to that? With themes of race issues, elderly mistreatment, familial obligations, and friendship, this book has much to offer for a various array of readers.