This book grabbed my attention within the first few pages and I finished it in one day. I have seen the cruelty of ALS and I am currently watching a friend deal with it and it is heartbreaking.
Richard is a world-famous concert pianist who is divorced from Karina and has a barely existent relationship with his college aged daughter Grace. He comes off slightly narcissistic and in an early interaction with his ex he essentially calls her a farm animal due to her tastes for wine. Not impressed.
He cancels his tour as the early symptoms of ALS manifest in the paralysis of his right hand. He privately continues to play with his left hand but cruelly, that is the next to go.
Putting piano in front of everything, he has ostracized himself from nearly everyone in his life. He is left to count on home health aides as with his rapid deterioration. One day he mistakenly calls his ex, Karina for help and she arrives without hesitation to help him and clean him up.
It’s at that point that they both realize he needs more help than he can afford and cannot live in his 4th story walkup condo.
So he moves back into their family home with his ex-wife. Um, no thank you. 😳
The rest of the book is the descent into ALS hell and while it’s an important topic to give awareness to, the characters get lost on the shuffle a bit. But for the cause, I was fine with the shift in focus.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The writing was excellent and you can tell that it’s well researched as the author is a neuroscientist.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a book with a medical plot and a dose of forgiveness and redemption.
Book review over…
The backstory of Richard and Karina’s divorce is a common one. He was unfaithful, abuse was alluded to, he was absent, she grew resentful, and their daughter chose her mother’s side.
I have been happily remarried for 12 years but there are a lot of similarities between the marriage/divorce in the book and my own life. The biggest difference is that I left when I was pregnant. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I was presented with the situation in the book and tasked with caring for my ex-husband in any way. But what struck me was when one of the home healthcare workers pulled Karina aside and told her that she needed to get to forgiveness, not for Richard’s benefit, but for own benefit.
I’m nearly 14 years on the other side of divorce but I clearly remember being given similar advice. It was one of the hardest walks I have ever been on. But it was necessary and made me better for it. My second marriage is better for it as well. Forgiveness is essential in any relationship and even a great marriage is still two flawed individuals who build a life together and without forgiveness, it would be a tougher road.
Parts of my first marriage were absolute hell and leaving him while pregnant was one of the scariest things I have ever done. But to this day, I still tell people that I would do it ALL over again. It made me who I am today, it gave me my daughter, and I learned how to forgive. I didn’t understand the part about the forgiveness being for me when the advice was given but now I do as forgiveness is a vital part of any good relationship.