By C.A Price
Allison’s Gambit by American author and Doctor, Chris Price presents a really interesting perspective on Alzheimer’s and one daughter’s reaction to caring for her mother.
Allison has lost both her mother and father to different illnesses, but upon reflecting upon their deaths, she finds that her reaction to her mother’s is one of pain and relief after the suffering Nancy had endured during the last years of her life. Allison therefore decides to spin the ‘roulette wheel of death’ and opts to take up smoking to ensure that she isn’t a burden to anyone and will hopefully never make it to old age.
The book is definitely thought provoking and is told in three parts, telling the story from different perspectives. It is a very gentle paced book which moves along quite slowly, filling in the back story of the characters as the chapters evolve. The first part from Allison’s point of view is then followed by Nancy, written in the 3rd person, and helps to give a real insight in to the deterioration of her mind as the Alzheimer’s develops.
As with all US books dealing with the subject of dementia, it can be difficult to understand the way the health system works as opposed to the UK systems, but it is also a stark reminder of the benefits we have with the NHS. There is one part where Allison discovers she is $500 short of fulfilling her mother’s prescription which was truly heart breaking and a reminder of the financial burden her mother’s illness had placed upon them, as well as the physical and mental strain of becoming her main carer.
The book offers an interesting perspective of being a caregiver and provokes many thoughts on the idea of a ‘good death’. I think the author being a doctor himself means that there is a great deal of truth within the pages and at times, it reads more like a memoir than a work of fiction. Overall, it was an enjoyable read with slower parts but easy to read and definitely one I would recommend. The book is available to purchase on Amazon by clicking here