Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Shades of Grace

Shades of Grace by Barbara Delinsky

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book up last year at book fair because I have just finished the author's current (at the time) book, 'Not My Daughter'. I liked this book a lot.

The story is about Grace Dorian, a famous advice columnist. She is well respected and has plenty of money with a very large house. Her divorced daughter, Francine, and young adult granddaughter, Sophie, both work for her and live with her, each with their own section of the house. At the beginning of the story, Grace becomes distracted and forgetful. She is diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease by a young doctor. Both she and her family reject this diagnosis, and Grace does her best to hide possible symptoms. Gradually though, things become unexplainable and the family has no choice but accept the diagnosis. The daughter, Francine, becomes involved with the neurologist, and at times, this gets quite steamy, so be aware of that if you are offended by this type of writing. It is a very small part of the story though. There is also a priest, Father Jim, who is a very close family friend, and always there for the family in a crisis. And a very nosy reporter, Robin, trying to dig up info on Grace, who is in the middle of writing her biography.

As Grace becomes worse, daughter Francine takes over as The Confidante, the advice columnist. She is also working with Grace to complete her book before her memory is totally gone. At times, Grace says things that make no sense, as Alzheimers patients do, and becomes agitated when questioned about her past. Francine begins to suspect there is more to Grace than she ever knew growing up. The story becomes very interesting as Francine searches for clues to Grace's past. It also is sad at times as we watch Grace deteriorate. The insight into what Grace (and other Alzheimers patients) may be thinking seem very real, and sad.

Ultimately, Grace becomes worse, barely knowing who she is or recognizing anyone around her. This is real and does not make for a 'happily ever after' ending. But like life, there are also happy times. The book is realistic and a pretty quick read. Perfect for summer relaxing!

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