• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom writes with brutal honesty about her heartbreak and her determination to support her husband Brian Ameche's desire to end his life on his own terms.

In her memoir In Love, author Amy Bloom shares the story of an impossible situation: the pending loss of her husband Brian Ameche, first mentally and then physically, to Alzheimer's disease.

Ameche begins showing cognitive loss, and when a diagnosis is established of Alzeimer's disease, he considers the cases of those he has known who suffered for many years from the disease--and their caregivers alongside them. He becomes determined to participate in an assisted suicide program while he is still showing enough cognition to enter into the agreement.

Bloom details the reasoning behind his decision and explores the importance to him of taking an active role in determining the time and place and conditions of his death. She considers how she can best support his wishes, even as doing so will take him away from her.

The astute, clear-eyed, heartbroken Bloom addresses complex issues surrounding assisted suicide, including autonomy, criminalization, bureaucracy, judgment, and the panic brought on by a ticking clock that seems to be erasing options with each moment. She notes that six million people in the United States are suffering from Alzheimer's at any given moment--and that two-thirds of them are women, as are two-thirds of their caregivers.

In Love includes dark humor; some self-flagellation and brutal honesty about what Bloom perceives as her own instances of weakness and pettiness; intense kindness from others in desperately needed moments; and the dogged determination from various individuals to help Ameche's vision of taking control of circumstances surrounding the end of his life occur.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Bloom is also the author of the wonderful White Houses (stay tuned for that upcoming review, ICYMI), as well as other books I haven't yet read: Away, Lucky Us, Come to Me: Stories, and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You: Stories.

I listed other heartbreaking and beautiful memoirs about facing death and loss in the Greedy Reading List Six Powerful Memoirs about Facing Mortality, and Kate Bowler's No Cure for Being Human is another excellent book about facing mortality and was a five-star read for me.