Alzheimer’s is a strange disease. It has no known cause, and no known cure. Yet it is by no means rare. Millions of people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s, and there have been biographies and autobiographies and diary entries published about their lives and struggles.
Today we have the review of a book that put a spin to this – it’s a middle grade from the point of view of a pre-teen, who along with his own coming of age troubles has to deal with his grandfather’s Alzheimer’s.
Title: This Last Adventure
Author: Ryan Dalton
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Publishing Date: February 1st, 2022
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
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Archie’s grandpa has always been his hero. But after Grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the confident and adventurous man Archie’s known all his life starts disappearing. He’s not just losing his memory. He’s losing pieces of himself.
But there’s a limit to the power of the fantasies. And not all the memories recorded in the journal entries are happy. When Archie learns a painful secret about Grandpa’s past, he questions everything he thought he knew about his hero.
As Grandpa’s condition worsens, Archie has to come to terms with the reality of what he’s losing and decide what it truly means to live a life worth remembering.
Thank you to the author for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This Last Adventure follows Archie, who is trying to navigate through a difficult period in which his grandfather gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease which slowly eats away at a person’s mind and leads to confusion and memory loss. There are so many important and heavy themes in this book, and we shall pick them up one by one in this review.
One major feeling that is prominent throughout the book is that of helplessness. Archie felt angry and frustrated because despite knowing that his grandfather was slowly losing parts of himself, he could not do anything to help him. Even the grandfather himself was no longer fully in control of his own mind, he often felt lost and confused, and on his good days he too felt helpless against the disease.
Then there was the constant battle for Archie between fantasy and reality. For a while, Archie relied on spinning adventurous fantasies for his grandfather to get his memories to come back for a few moments, but soon he realized that a few moments of active consciousness from his grandfather were not actually helping anyone.
Through the course of the story, Archie learns to accept that his grandfather would never be the man he was again, and he’d have to live with that because it was nobody’s fault. This gradual acceptance was something I found inspiring and realistic, since i’m pretty sure nobody gets over their loved ones fading away quickly (cough*deaths in fantasy books* cough).
The story also touched on the fact that someone you idolise need not be perfect, they can have their flaws and you can still look up to them.
Overall, This Last Adventure is an emotional and poignant coming-of-age contemporary which I’d recommend to anyone looking for a quick read with lots of learning. Quick, add it to your tbr because it releases on February 1st!
Have you read This Last Adventure? Any other books based on Alzheimer’s? Let me know in the comments!