I read In the Garden of Beasts and learned so much about Germany and World War II before the U.S. entered the war. It is a subject I am interested in, but Erk Larson made it even more interesting. He does the same thing in Dead Wake. I learned in high school history about the sinking of the Lusitania and World War I. But I did not learn in much detail.
Larson’s brand of narrative non-fiction is highly entertaining and educational. He tells a riveting story of the voyage, the sinking and the aftermath. I found myself not wanting to put this book down. The stories are heart-wrenching. A mother forced to choose which child to rescue. A son separated from his mother. They are told with an eye for detail and compassion.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWI or the sinking of the Lusitania. But I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, suspenseful, well-written story.
I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and do not reflect anyone else’s opinion. I received no compensation for writing this review.
I really liked this book. It’s not only the story of one women’s descent into Alzheimer’s, but also of a daughter who finally begins to understand her mother. Constance Hanstedt’s family is dysfunctional, to say the least. Her father may or may not have been an alcoholic and her mother was an overly-stern task master with her children. Constance, her brother and sister were raised in a house without expressions of affection.
After Constance’s father dies, she and her sister notice that her mother is acting strangely. It isn’t until she is admitted to the hospital that they find out she has Alzheimer’s. Constance and her sister, Judy, then have to take an inventory of their mother’s house to auction her household items, except for the few things they opt to keep.
The book is written with flashbacks to Constance’s childhood and her relationship with her family. In this way, Constance shows how the damage she sustained in her childhood forged who she became as a parent. She makes a conscious effort to parent her children much differently than she was parented. At the same time, as her mother falls deeper into her disease, Constance gains some understanding of why her mother is they way she is.
The book is not a sad story, but rather the story of a daughter reconciling her relationship with her mother and coming to terms with her family’s history of mental illness. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
I won this book from Goodreads and have received no compensation for my review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.