I found “The Things We Keep” to be an emotional adventure. Months after finishing it, I still think about the main characters and what happened to them, especially Anna. See what you think…
Coping with Alzheimer’s is hard enough with adults over the age of 65. In The Things We Keep, the main character Anna, realizes in her late 30’s that she has a form of the disease, and decides she should live in an assisted care to avoid harming herself or her family. While there she meets Luke, another younger person facing a different form of Alzheimer’s, and the two develop a relationship, much to the surprise and dissatisfaction of her twin who is not affected by the disease. Anna and Luke’s friendship slowly evolves while her capacities deteriorate, adding some unexpected dimension and plot lines to the story.
A separate storyline involves a woman named Eve, who is facing her own obstacles after her husband defrauded people through a Ponzi Scheme. Facing life after privilege, finding a job, a new home, and trying to raise a daughter while coping with the aftermath are all pretty tough. Eve finds work at the assisted living care facility where Anna lives, and eventually, their lives intersect.
The book’s chapters alternate between the two different stories, as well as in the past and present, which gives the reader insight into the main character’s decisions, actions, and behaviors. I liked each plot, though as I was reading each, it was at times hard when a chapter ended, and I had to switch gears for a different character or time period. Emotionally, I felt awful for Anna, Eve, and Eve’s daughter. The losses they faced were not caused by anything they did, yet they had to deal with the fallout. There is a sense of injustice throughout the book, yet it is largely resolved by the end.
I think this book would be very good for book clubs, as well as for someone facing adversity or unexpected challenges. The author does a good job conveying feelings, and the reader leaves satisfied.