Vice put out this interesting non-fiction piece about dementia. The writer gave his Dad (who has dementia) a copy of Jonathan Franzen’s “How To Be Alone” and asked him to annotate it. The results are both poignant and fascinating.
The first 46 pages have been torn out. I hadn’t thought about what part of the book this missing chunk was until my mom approached me later that same day with a page from the opening essay, “My Father’s Brain,” which is about Franzen’s own experience with his father’s Alzheimer’s. The rest of the essay has disappeared: either thrown out at some point or otherwise demolished, maybe even eaten. (One of the few things that seems to hold up consistently in his mind is food, though sometimes he can’t tell the difference between what is meant to be eaten and what’s not.) “It’s funny what he gets into,” Mom says, holding the “Father’s Brain” page, too tired now from the range of days to register surprise as something more than common breath. “Sometimes I think he knows exactly what he’s doing.” I left the page out on the counter there again. The next time I came into the room the page was gone.