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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas


This was an unusual book.   Dealing with the difficult subject of coping and living and being at peace with one's decisions in difficult circumstances.

Eileen and Ed are Irish American. They meet and marry and it is only after marriage that Eileen realizes that her American dream is not that exactly of her husband. She has drive and go and wants to see the benefit of hard work in a material form with comfort and assurance. Ed is willing to live the way he always did and sees no need for change. This is frustrating for Eileen who feels she has to cajole or maneuver to get what she wants.

In his very early 50s things are not quite right with Ed. It is apparent in small doses initially with his students, then with his son and finally with his wife. The early onset of Alzheimer's and the rapid deterioration of Ed forms the second half of the story.

How a family copes - and this family is far from perfect is what makes you empathize with all. Coping skills have to be found from some inner strength and one has to face life however difficult the situation may be. How they all manage despite setbacks, is very well handled by this author.

The story with its steady burden of sadness and the thread of practicality which ran throughout did not take away the fact that this was a refreshing read.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Thank you.


  1. I've read enough sad books lately, but I do like the sound of this --maybe in a few months I'll try it.

  2. I am so NOT wanting to read sad books at this stage of my life. But contrary wise, I don't mind the sadness if it's in non-fiction historical form. Which is probably a good thing since when I'm reading non-fiction, I seem to gravitate to historical biography and books set in and around WWII.

    But as I like to say, Mystica, old ladies are entitled to their quirks.