12 April 2017

We Are Not Ourselves Book Club: Week 6


I feel for Eileen's weird encounter with Virginia. I feel like everything she's been doing, the house, the jobs, etc. have all been in anticipation of this and it went so poorly. Virginia didn't even recognize her. I also love how she won't admit to feeling hurt about it as if even to us readers she's trying to save face. I also felt a bit of sympathy for her when she is commenting on how she hopes Ed's sense of humour is the last thing to go... Alzheimer's is the actual saddest thing and I wouldn't wish my worst enemy's partner to get it.

I also am having major anxiety about all of this health insurance/retirement stuff and then for his work to force him to retire before his 30 year pension is BRUUUUUTALLLL. Especially since they're in so much debt. I can't imagine the stress Eileen must be in, even though she really put all of them in that position financially. And she has nobody to talk to about it or help... Ed is sick, she has no parents, etc. I'd be calling my daddy crying and begging him to fix it. But then she goes ahead and decides she needs a nice car... I really don't know her thought process.

One of my favourite quotes from this section: "she couldn't sign onto any system that said it had all happened for a reason" and no... you couldn't.

I'm liking that these sections are short it makes it easy not to get bored of the book.


I know I have no idea how I would act if my own dad was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s, but I hope to god it wouldn’t be the way Connell does. The passage where Connell is talking about euthanasia and about how his dad would be a candidate was horrible: "You want to know what's the best example you could have, Dad? You are. With your Alzheimer's. Think about it. If we euthanized people at will, maybe you would have been taken out already. For the good of the herd." Poor, poor Ed.

I also felt crushed by the talking about whether or not Ed will lose his sense of humour and hoping it is the last thing he is able on hold on to. It's when he cracks a joke about "what's Alzheimer's," and Eileen says: "Lord, don't let this part of his personality die just yet. If you need ideas for other parts to take away first, I can make a list." I can't even imagine how much someone's personality must change when they are going through this ... This book just keeps getting more and more depressing. Though I'd rather be depressed than bored to death reading Moby Dick!

I also really liked the section in Chapter 57 where Eileen is wondering why this happened to Ed:

"Why Ed? Why now? Why so young? There was the obvious answer - it was random, senseless, genetic, environmental - but she didn't like that one. She also knew she couldn't sign on to any system that said it had all happened for a reason. So she took a third path, the pragmatic one. It hadn't happened for a reason, but they would find something to glean from it anyway. There didn't have to be a divine plan for there to be meaning in life."

Probably the only thing I find interesting about Eileen is her relationship to religion and science. She married a scientist and spent her entire life working in hospitals and watching people die. But she also goes to mass every single Sunday. She is Irish Catholic. So it is sort of surprising that she doesn't attribute Ed's illness to God's will, blah blah. 

I’ll end this week with saying just when I finally started to feel some sympathy with Eileen she starts suggesting that maybe she will buy a sporty, two-door car.

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