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The Resource The house on Beartown Road : a memoir of learning and forgetting, Elizabeth Cohen

The house on Beartown Road : a memoir of learning and forgetting, Elizabeth Cohen

Label
The house on Beartown Road : a memoir of learning and forgetting
Title
The house on Beartown Road
Title remainder
a memoir of learning and forgetting
Statement of responsibility
Elizabeth Cohen
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Award
  • Library Journal Best Books, 2003.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2003
Review
  • In this moving yet unsentimental memoir, Cohen chronicles the year her aging father, Sanford, suffering from mid-to-late-stage Alzheimer's, came to live with her and her baby, Ava, in a New York State farmhouse. The three endure a cold winter, Ava's teething and the ravages of Alzheimer's. Sanford, a retired economics professor, retains his physical health while his mind deteriorates, a process Cohen—a Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin reporter—describes in detail and with compassion, even as he loses the ability to know her ("I am having something of a blackout. Perhaps you can remind me who you are?"). Ava learns to walk and talk while Sanford forgets how to climb stairs and struggles with his vocabulary (when he can't remember the word "water," he substitutes "the liquid substance from the spigot"). "Daddy walks around now this way, dropping pieces of language behind him, the baby following, picking them up." Naturally, life's difficult. Sanford misses his wife, who lives with Cohen's sister on the other side of the country; Cohen's husband abandons them early on and she struggles to find help from local social services. Even though "each day arches numerous times toward disaster," the trio survives, even thrives. Cohen takes pleasure in her daughter, outings in parks, friends' and neighbors' generosity and the "memory project"—her attempt to catalogue her father's stories from his childhood, war years in the Pacific and teaching career. With splashes of humor and occasional—and understandable—self-pity, Cohen's fluid prose lifts her forceful story to a higher level, making it a tribute to her father and her family. (Apr.) --Staff (Reviewed February 17, 2003) (Publishers Weekly, vol 250, issue 7, p63)
  • /* Starred Review */ When Cohen's father was in the early stages of Alzheimer's, he came to live with Cohen, her husband, and her baby daughter after her mother decided she could no longer look after him. Shortly afterward, Cohen's husband left the family for another woman, leaving her to look after a young child and an elderly parent alone in an old farmhouse in the wilds of upstate New York. A newspaper columnist and author, Cohen faced mounting household and caregiving responsibilities while working part time, a situation that left her exhausted and depressed as winter set in. Nonetheless, she observed with wonder the swift development of her daughter's memory and ability to learn as her father's own cognitive skills gradually declined. Cohen's beautifully descriptive book recounts the anonymous kindnesses of her neighbors, recollections of her own childhood, and anger at her husband during her small family's struggle to get through a harsh rural winter. Beautifully written and moving, this compelling memoir will be enjoyed by all readers. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.] --Karen McNally Bensing (Reviewed September 15, 2003) (Library Journal, vol 128, issue 15, p86)
  • /* Starred Review */ Lyrical, gripping tale of the year Cohen's life went to hell.One minute she was living an idyll, lazing through her days as a rural-upstate New York reporter and nights in a secluded farmhouse with a loving husband and infant daughter; the next, her Alzheimer's-afflicted father had moved in, her husband had moved across the country to shack up with an 18-year-old, and winter buried the house in snow. Cohen and her youthful husband had been a Manhattan couple with an active social life. After the move to Beartown Road and Dad's appearance, her city sophistication was entirely irrelevant in the endless battle to keep her father and daughter fed, dry, and safe, to get through the winter without freezing to death (apparently a surprisingly easy thing to do in a civilized North American town), neglecting her family, or losing her job. Cohen takes what could be a self-indulgent sob story and turns it into the stuff of high adventure. When she lies to her father about the eldercare group he attends, telling him he is the group's teacher, the reader prays the fiction will hold so that she can go to work secure in the knowledge that he won't accidentally burn the house down while smoking unattended. When neighbors plow her driveway after big snowfalls, we're swept with gratitude for the author's sake. Cohen frames the whole of her messy, absorbing year in the framework of how we learn and forget. As her daughter gains words, her father loses them. As her daughter acquires motor skills, her father stumbles. As she describes the waxing of her daughter's personality and the waning of her father's, the fact he cannot remember her name or learn her daughter's, Cohen manages never to resort to sentimentality.The adventure and peril of everyday living captured in language that's light, beautiful, and razor-sharp. (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003)
Biography type
autobiography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
158480
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Cohen, Elizabeth
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Cohen, Elizabeth
  • Cohen, Sanford
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Caregivers
  • Mothers
  • Alzheimer's disease
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
a memoir of learning and forgetting
Label
The house on Beartown Road : a memoir of learning and forgetting, Elizabeth Cohen
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
451862
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
270 pages
Isbn
9780375507274
Isbn Type
(acid-free paper)
Lccn
2002036758
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375507274
  • (Sirsi) ADJ-4444
  • IG$ 2002036758
Label
The house on Beartown Road : a memoir of learning and forgetting, Elizabeth Cohen
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
451862
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
270 pages
Isbn
9780375507274
Isbn Type
(acid-free paper)
Lccn
2002036758
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375507274
  • (Sirsi) ADJ-4444
  • IG$ 2002036758

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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