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An Absent Mind

By: Eric Rill
Narrated by: Sandra Burr, Mel Foster
Length: 4 hrs and 59 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Summary

Seventy-one and a man used to controlling those around him, Saul finds himself slipping into what he describes as his slow dance with death.

His ramblings, humor, emotions, lucid moments, and confusion are laid bare as well as the thoughts and feelings of his loved ones: his wife, Monique, conflicted and depressed, caring yet angry; his daughter, Florence, compassionate yet proper and reserved; his son, Joey, self-centered and narcissistic, seemingly indifferent to his family's challenges; and his doctor, an Alzheimer's specialist who cares for Saul until his final days.

From the beginning Saul and his family know how it has to end because no one has ever outsmarted Alzheimer's. But as they navigate the meandering road that will eventually bring Saul's demise, they leave behind their once disconnected lives and come together to weather their difficult journey.

Heartfelt and moving, this lauded novel, winner of 2014 gold medals from the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Readers' Favorite Book Awards, and the Living Now Book Award for Inspirational Fiction, will appeal to fans of Lisa Genova's Still Alice or Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook.

©2015 Eric Rill (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about An Absent Mind

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This is a most sensitive and touching account. It provides a realistic overview of the progression of Alzheimer's syndrome from both the patient's and their family's perspectives. A story told with love and humour.

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Alzheimer's disease

Covers the effects of dementia on a patriarch and his family. True to life and entertaining enuf without being very funny or moving.

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Enlightening!

This was an easy book to read. I found the characters individual perspective very interesting. At times sad & touching but it does have some laugh out loud moments too!
A helpful & informative book for anyone embarking on this sad journey without too much medical jargon!

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Profile Image for linda vick
  • linda vick
  • 17-09-17

if your a child of an Alzheimer parent

My Dad died with this disease and it gave me better understand of what he and my Mother went through.. as children living far apart we don't get it. This is a great book to read and reread as your parents life changes. it's a shame to have them live so long with this disease. As all of you I pray for a treatment and cure. I am sorry Dad I didn't understand and it was so easy to pretend it wasn't happening. Mom you had a lot to handle I am sorry you wouldn't let anyone help even if was to just listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 17-04-15

Ambitious but Falls Short

I think "An Absent Mind" tries a little too hard and goes too many places with too little focus. The character's emotions and personality traits are all over the map, they are who they are, either gracious or resentful with little rhyme or reason and it gets annoying. You can't really care for any of them. Alzheimer's was presented well enough with the long term memory being far more readily apparent than short term, but it seemed to cause the family more annoyance than agony. As someone who has it in the family right now, I've gotta say, I was expecting a lot more.
Maybe to those unschooled and just looking for a light read/listen, this'll be good enough, but really, I don't think the character's are developed enough to carry the 4+ hours, short as they may be. Unpopular, maybe, but there you go. My two cents.
Further, the performances are downright annoying. Maybe a daily deal or something? Just make sure you can tolerate the narration...

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 26-08-17

I loved this story especially the narration.

Listened to this in one night. I was captivated by the narration. The ability to get a view from each individual in the story made it more real, making me be able seemingly to be a voyeur in their minds. Very well written and informative about this horrific disease that is happening to so many people myself included.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cory SS
  • 21-04-17

Excellent representation of all of the perspectives and emotions that come with Alzheimer's

I really enjoyed this book! I thought it did a great job of showing different perspectives of all the people involved when one family member has a terminal illness. I also thought it was great how the author showed that people's reactions and understanding of each other can be mistaken. The way everyone in the family assumed Joey was a loser, just to find that Joey felt unloved and in the end, he's the one who cared for his dad's most beloved companion and cared for his mother. And I felt like the ending was perfect. It really seem true to life. This hit close to home for me because several members of my family are suffering from or have passed from Alzheimer's, and I am very terrified that my future holds the same.

1 person found this helpful

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  • KSH
  • 13-04-17

Painful and Beautiful

I think that next to Fredrick Bachman's "A Man Called Ove" this book will always stay in my heart more than any other book(s) I have listened to. Alzheimer's is a devastating disease, and Eric Rill did an amazing job in showing the various points of view of both the patient and his family members. He even shows the mindset of the physician treating Saul.
It was not difficult to understand the feelings that each character expressed. I identified with all of them which I guess isn't that unusual based on my family relations and dealing with the prolonged illnesses and deaths of both an ex-husband with whom I was still close and then my beloved husband.
There are so many feelings that arise during a lengthy illness. It's often difficult to deal with those feelings, but the author was spot on with so many of them here.
The narration was excellent...really excellent! Sandra Burr and Mel Foster "lived" their readings. I usually forgot that I was not listening to Saul and Monique and Florence and Joey. That, to me, is talent.
I am so glad that this book was recommended to me in an email from Audible. I will listen to it again, and I highly recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 30-04-16

We all need at least one daughter

An Absent Mind is a fictionalized but honest story of Alzheimer's from time of diagnosis until death. I suspect that most of us over age 40 have had a family member with Alzheimer's or other dementia. In this story the 71 year old man diagnosed with dementia was married for 44 years at the time of diagnosis and he had an adult daughter and an adult son. His wife insisted on taking care of him at home for far too long and as a result she did not take care of herself. She died before he did. That happens far to often.

I can state from personal experience with my parents (my mom had Alzheimer's) that the story is a typical one.

My parents had only sons; at least the man in the story had a daughter. I dislike gender stereotyping, but daughters are much more likely to be there and help than sons. I'm thankful for our two wonderful daughters especially since my wife and I are senior citizens. (I'm thankful for our son, also!)

5 people found this helpful

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  • Eddie Mittelstedt
  • 01-02-19

it's ok.

The subject of the book is tragic. I am now scared to death of getting Alzheimer's. The performance was ok. While not trying to disparage Mel, I don't think he was the right casting choice. He didn't convey enough emotion with Joey's parts. I know the character was immature, but there were scenes that Mel could have really pulled off but failed.

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  • Sonya
  • 25-08-18

Connected with this book

My grandmother refuses to go get checked out. My mom has now become a live in caretaker with her. I stumbled upon this book by chance, by interest in the title and ultimately have recommended it to my mom. When you know someone walking into the realms of dementia (there are different types/diagnoses) their symptoms can make you feel like you are losing your own mind trying to peice together theirs. The thing that stuck out most for me was how the author posed each chapter to divulge each characters' unique perspective. It made it easy to follow which can be difficult when their are so many perspectives to represent. 4 stars for story. Just a matter of opinion, but I wished it went into deeper detail. As a matter of works of writing and creativity, definitely 5 stars.

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  • discerning_buyer
  • 24-08-18

Engaging story, educational, fantastic performance

To begin, this is the most wonderfully performed audio book I have listened to yet (roughly 20 books). I can recommend it on this alone almost, but I don't have to thankfully. The story feels real and close. It feels like you are part of the family. It is sad and depressing to listen to how things deteriorate for them all. I learned a tremendous amount about this disease and I enjoyed it very much.

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  • Dr Jan Bieschke
  • 17-08-18

Good information regarding the Alzheimer's journey

milky. using the different story perspectives, it allowed the reader to follow how one incident impacted each family member in different ways.