The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is a book that is sure to get a lot of attention. (Although this review is posting after the book's release, I read it prior to the January 19 release date and am anxious to see if the thoughts I have about it mirror other readers').
This is a story that pulls at the hearstrings a lot. Luke and Anna are two young people (Anna is thirty-eight) who have dementia and are in the same residential facility. When they first meet each other their diseases had not progressed as far as they have over the fifteen months the book spans. At that point they find themselves in a relationship with each other, determined to stay together until the end, even though they may not be aware of each other at that point.
The love story is sweet.
Eve, the cook at the residential facility, has found a job after her husband's suicide (and after they lost their fortune in a Ponzi-like scheme). She and her daughter are trying their best to make it on their own. She meets Anna and decides to help her and Luke's relationship continue despite their families' efforts to keep them apart.
I really liked this story.
there are a few things that are improbable, at least in my opinion.
I am probably super-sensitive on the topic of Alzheimer's disease, having a father currently in the end stages (which, by the way, could go on for years considering he is in good shape physically).
Hepworth makes this disease seem romantic, and I can assure you that the experience my family has had has been anything but romantic.
Little comments like the one about Anna having less than a year left seem unlikely to me. Since she is young and in good health, her disease will most likely string on for years.
Eve's interactions as a cook with the residents also seem unrealistic. She becomes more involved in Anna's life than I have ever seen a residential home worker allowed to be.
This is a work of fiction. And I did enjoy it. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it, because I liked it myself. It's easy to read and if you are in need of a good love story or a good cry, this will fit the bill.
Anyone else want to weigh in on this one? Thoughts?