Cover Image: In Love

In Love

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Member Reviews

Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. In Love tells the tale of a couple that had their life turned upside down by a medical diagnosis. This book shares love, heartache and a descent into Alzheimer's that few do. Amy discusses the hoops she and Brian had to jump through in order to fulfill Brian's wish to end his life with Dignitas in Switzerland, instead of declining and disappearing "naturally". Ultimately this is a book about human relationships and how far we will go for the ones we love.
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This was an emotional read from beginning to end. The author does an amazing job of sharing her husband’s experience from being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s through the decision to choose death in a dignified and intentional manner. You get glimpses of life before the diagnosis as well as how Amy responds to her husband, Brian, once they are aware of his condition. The way they travel together through the effect the disease has on Brian, the struggles they experience, the effort put into being permitted to have an assisted suicide, etc. are admirable. Amy Bloom does not paint herself as a saint. She is open and honest about her response to Brian and the many people who become part of his life because of Alzheimer’s and his choice of assisted suicide. She shares her pain, her anger, her frustration, her impatience, her never ending attempts to fulfill her husband’s final wish ... all while the tears flow down her face. This was an informative book, but the personal aspects are what made it a moving read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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After an Alzheimer's diagnosis, Amy Bloom's husband is determined to end his life on his own terms rather than endure ten or twenty years of progressive deterioration. Bloom is tasked with the arduous process of researching what that means and what is needed to proceed accordingly. This book chronicles the early decline of a larger-than-life man and the author's unfiltered account of how this change impacts their relationship of fifteen years, as well as how it impacts her. I have always enjoyed Bloom's fiction writing, but this memoir may be her most remarkable in all of its heartbreaking beauty.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
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I believe I first became aware of Dignitas, a Swiss organization that provides “accompanied death”—i.e., euthanasia—to those of sound mind who wish to end their lives, in Richard B. Wright’s 2007 book <u>October.</u> That novel revolves around a character who is asked to travel to Switzerland with a now terminally ill man he knew in his youth. Amy Bloom’s memoir, focusing on her accompaniment of her husband, Brian Ameche, deals with another kind of “terminal illness.” Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in his mid-sixties (and believed to have had the condition for the preceding three years), Brian resolves almost immediately  to end his own life before the inevitable full erasure of self occurs. His determination is clear and unflagging; however, he needs his wife to manage the project as his memory and executive function fail.

Bloom structures her memoir around the four days the two spend in Zurich that lead up to and include Brian’s drinking the lethal sodium pentobarbital cocktail that bring his life to an end. Chapters about their time in Switzerland are interspersed with sections explaining the process and documentation Dignitas requires of its applicants, as well as details of Bloom and Ameche’s fifteen-year marriage, Brian’s diagnosis, and the challenges of dealing with someone with this devastating condition.

I have read a number of memoirs about Alzheimer’s Disease. This one is unique in that it addresses the lack of options available to those who wish to forego “the long goodbye.” Bloom says Brian wanted her to write about their experience, yet the book feels less a passionate plea for this option to be available to Americans than a document testifying to the challenges families face when they have to jump through so many hurdles and travel so far to meet death on their own terms.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy for review purposes.
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What an eye-opening, beautiful memoir about Bloom helping her husband die on his own terms when he is diagnosed with Alzheimers. Anyone who has watched a loved one mentally deteriorate from illness will connect with this book and the decision that Bloom and her husband decided to make. The focus on the happiness and love in their family make a book that could be very sad an overall joyful book to read.
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Told in the voice of the author, Amy Bloom, we watch the journey of a couple fighting the heartbreaking reality of Alzheimer's. We get a front row seat to the all the feelings that Amy goes through as she and her husband walk the journey of assisted suicide.  

This was a painful story to tell and I can't imagine taking this walk.  While I don't agree with their decision, I can appreciate the open honesty that she shares while making this difficult choice.  At times I did a feel a disconnect emotionally, but that could be more coping mechanism for her- the story felt anecdotal instead of personal.  I didn't feel as though I knew either person very well by the end, so maybe that is partly where the disconnect stems from as well.  

Again, I appreciate her willingness to share.  Just didn't work quite as well for me.  Vacillating between 2 and 3 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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* Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

Unsparing, honest, heartfelt, poignant, yet never tips into pathos.

Amy and Brian are cuddled up in a business-class flight to Zurich. They drink champagne, stay in a 5-star hotel, binge on chocolates and long walks. It sounds like a celebration. But three years earlier, 12 years into Amy Bloom and Brian Ameche's middle-aged marriage, Brian began to struggle at work. He forgot things, names, appointments, where local things are. Things that used to light him up didn't any more; he made odd purchases, started calling all four of his step-granddaughters "darling" instead of by their names. Finally, Brian - the admiring, engaged reader of all Amy's writing - leaves a script forgotten on the floor, and confesses he just couldn't follow it very well... The neurocognitive tests are clear: Brian has early-onset Alzheimer's. Brian exits the neurologist's office with his mind made up: he will go out while still on his feet, not wait till he is on his knees. And Amy will figure it out for him.

She does. And this book tells us how. The doctor's appointments, the psychiatric evaluations, the nearly obsessive watching of films and videos about Alzheimer's (Amy rolls them in furtive fits and starts when Brian isn't home), the internet trolling, the collapses into grief, fear, exhaustion, resentments, and great waves of love - for Brian, for family, for friends, the kids. The quest leads them to the Swiss organization Dignitas - the only way there is for an American to privately, peacefully, painlessly and legally end their life of their own accord, on their own terms, with medical aid, sympathy, and respect. Even those states with right-to-die laws have requirements of residency, a confirmed terminal diagnosis and life expectancy of less than 6 months (Alzheimer's can take years to finally put you out), restrictions on appropriate drugs, and other barriers. A friend of mine has said, "I figure as long as I have a car and a garage, I have a way," but Bloom learns that with the advent of pollution controls and catalytic converters, even that may not work.

Dignitas it is. Screening is careful, many many documents are required; a wrongly categorized diagnostic code for an MRI nearly scuttles the whole thing, until Bloom's heroic therapist steps in; a supportive sibling provides unstinting financial and emotional support - as do family members and friends on all sides. Bloom herself is a clinical social worker by training and practice, and perhaps a certain amount of... not distancing, but realistic, clear-eyed observation of what's happening to her and Brian enabled her to write this experience with truth. She acknowledges failures, needs, frustrations, and fears; discusses how they decide what they will tell the young granddaughters about why their Babu didn't come home from that trip. There is little in the way of polemics about why a voluntary death of this nature is made so difficult; simply telling their story in unvarnished, clean prose says all that needs to be said, and shows us how one couple made their way to the quiet, decent ending they sought and deserved.

An elegant, brave addition to the literature of terminal illness and death.
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I'm a little behind in posting this book review since the book came out earlier this month, but here it is: Amy Bloom's new book In Love came out earlier this month! In this memoir, Bloom recounts her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis and his decision to ultimately end his life by assisted suicide.

It's a heartbreaking story, though one I'm not sure was told in the best possible way. Each chapter takes you back and forth between the past and present, so one moment you're reading about Bloom and her husband in Switzerland preparing for his death and then you're taken back to the process of applying for the Swiss program, Dignitas, and then you're reading about how Bloom and her husband met, and then it's flash forward a bit to when Bloom first started noticing "off" things about her husband's behavior.

For me, the constant back and forth made it hard to keep track of what was happening and who the people were. It was very stream-of-consciousness, but I needed something a little more linear. Perhaps Bloom was trying to capture the stressful feeling of that time in her life or attempting to put the reader into a dementia mindset. 

I did find it interesting how relegated death is in America, and I applaud Bloom for writing about her husband's very difficult and very personal decision, as well as her decision to support him. 

In Love is published by Random House and is available to purchase now. I received a free e-ARC in exchange for this review.
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One of the most powerful memoirs I've read.  Dementia is an awful disease that steals so much.  Bloom and her husband make the ultimate sacrifice.  Poignant and compelling and utterly heart-wrenching.
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This is the third book in March that read that chronicles the loss of a husband. Two were for the Modern Mrs Darcy Book club and this one, because I love Amy Bloom. While difficult each one was beautifully written and gave a different view on this difficult topic.

Amy’s husband was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and quickly decides he wants to end his life on his own terms. Bloom spends time in this memoir to share their love story but ultimately the process of finding Dignitas in Switzerland and all the lengths they go through to get accepted by their organization.

She does not hold back at all about her feelings, and at times this felt like a study of how this process works. This is not an easy topic at all and I understand not everyone will agree with the decisions made on this journey. I imagine it was very cathartic for Bloom, but also this might just help other families who are facing similar situations. My heart goes out to her for the decisions she had to make, and ultimately supporting the man she loves, to choose to end his life on his own terms and timeline. Ultimately knowing how it will end, gave him strength, but also allowed his family to be part of this process with him.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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"In Love," by Amy Bloom, is her account of her husband Brian Ameche's diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's disease, his decision to end his life, and Bloom's struggle to discover a legal way for him to do that. The beginning of the book makes it clear that they eventually found a way to accomplish Brian's wishes, as "In Love" opens with the couple heading to the airport for one last trip together--to Zurich, where a Swiss nonprofit called Dignitas has provisionally approved Brian's application for "accompanied suicide." But this opening and Brian's eventual suicide, although wrenching enough, is not the real story of "In Love." Rather, the book moves back from this beginning to chart the story of a couple and their fierce love for each other, told in flashbacks (from their courtship to their marriage to the onset and steady worsening of Brian's illness) that are so beautifully and viscerally rendered that the reader feels Brian's deterioration, and Bloom's loss, all the more acutely by the time the book reaches Zurich again near the end. "In Love" is certainly not an easy book to read, but it is a rewarding one and one that has stayed with me in the weeks since I finished it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review.
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What a generous writer Amy Bloom is. A long-time reader of hers, this personal story hit me hard and was also a balm for my soul. She is so human. So real. Thank you.
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This is beautifully written book full of heartbreak and love. The story of Amy Bloom and her husband, Brian Ameche, is a story full of courage, compassion, and sacrifice. This book made me laugh and mostly cry numerous times.
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Amy Bloom writes about her husband struggle with Alzheimer, his slow deterioration and firm decision "to die on his feet." I admire author's courage to support her husband in this difficult decision. I feel her grief and emotional struggle. It is a very moving memoir and at the same time teaches as about different ways people approach this devastating disease. I loved the book- it is one of the best ones I have read in years.
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Achingly painfully beautiful true love story. 

I wish this loving couple shared more memories and years together, the end came too quickly for both. Their love and respect is palpable. An intimate and sensitive subject presented with grace and dignity.
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Apparently Amy Bloom never heard the expression, "We plan, God laughs." Ms. Bloom has to be in control of every situation, all the time, day in and day out. The one thing she cannot control is her husband's Alzheimer's disease. They choose an arranged/assisted suicide and must leave the United States in order to achieve this end. Using her meticulous control, she engineers the arrangements. The story felt flat, a recitation of facts, rather than the heart-rending journey many families of Alzheimer's patients find themselves traveling.
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I've loved many of Ms. Bloom's novels and, despite what looked to be a difficult subject matter, couldn't wait to read In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss.
You'll learn a lot by reading this book. The book includes some of the initial tests used by doctors to diagnose memory loss, lots of details about Dignitas, and also about the limitations of states that do allow individuals to end their own lives. But, equally significant, you'll learn about Amy and Brian and their love story and life before and after Brian's diagnosis.
It's a book that will raise conflicting emotions: sadness. joy, poignancy, anger, and even humor. Shortly after his diagnosis, Brian's brother offered to shoot him. "...when Brian declines and points out that his brother could go to jail, his brother shrugs. "I'd be fine in jail. I don't go out much anyway."
And, of course, the book is beautifully written as you might expect.
Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for the opportunity to read In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss in exchange for an honest review. Also sending many thanks to Ms. Bloom for the strength to write this wonderful book. Wishing her peace and love.
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This book brings the subject of Death by Dignity to the forefront and will have you understanding the daunting process the patient and family go thru, from broaching the topic to finding help, acceptance of the decision and the aftermath, not only of the act itself but peoples opinion of it.  I found it brutally honest as to the emotions that go into such a monumental decision..denial, disdain, fear, reluctance, acceptance.  While not as maudlin as I feared, I found this book a brutally honest account of a loving couple faced with the horrific diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the patient’s capacity to understand and make a correct decision for himself and the caregiver’s ability to see this and understand the need for this path forward, regardless of her opinion. Could I make this decision?  Could I assist my loved one with this decision?  I seriously don’t know, and hope I never have to find out.  

Thanks to Ms. Bloom, Random House and NetGalley for this ARC. Opinion is mine alone.
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This is the honest and raw story of the end of life of someone with a terminal illness and the quest for a dignified death. It is a beautiful story of love and loss.
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This book is beautifully written and emotional.  Amy Bloom tells the story of her husband, Brian, who decides to use the services of Dignitas, an end-of-life company in Switzerland. The way Amy describes Brian allows you to feel him jump off the page.  He's the out going former football player who is devoted to Amy, her kids and grandkids.  He's smart, funny and likes his partner's independence.  
And then Brian learns that he is slipping into Alzheimer's.  And he makes the decision that he wants to end his life before his mind and memories are out of reach.

Obviously, this is a difficult topic. In truth, I don't know how I personally feel about it, but that does not matter.  This book is beautifully done.  It explores the couple's journey (not an easy one) to Dignitas, their love, their family and difficult decisions.  What was striking was how Brian had the ability to chose to end his life on his terms, although it was s difficult process.  Whether we agree with his decision is not the point.  The point is he was in control of his life and its terms.
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