2 out of 4 stars
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In Quest of Creativity by Sukur Khan, Ph.D. is an enlightening story about the struggles and triumphs of two friends living with Alzheimer’s disease. Maddie and Hank worked together as scientists but lost touch as they aged. Reunited in their eighties, they realize they have more in common now than ever as they each become aware of the progression of dementia in their minds. Although the Alzheimer’s disconnects them from their past, they each have their own ways of remaining tied to the present. The book follows Hank, Maddie, and their friends as they relearn how to live inside their own minds.
I could tell from the first page that the author was deeply connected to the themes presented in this story. He unashamedly begins the book with a description of his own fight with Alzheimer’s disease, and you can tell as a reader that he presents many of his own emotions and experiences through his protagonist, Hank. I enjoyed the scientific information he integrated into the story, and I appreciated that he showed the full experience of an Alzheimer’s patient from Hank’s suspicion of his problem to his diagnosis, treatment, and coping mechanisms.
Hank is a well-rounded character who feels his emotions intensely and chooses to live his life fully in spite of his illness. I couldn’t keep myself from rooting for him throughout the story even though I knew the disease could only be delayed, not stopped. I welcomed all his emotional highs and lows from the frustration he felt when he could feel the Alzheimer’s taking over his mind to the elation he experienced when he realized that he could still live an independent life.
Although I connected with the characters, the story itself was constructed oddly, and I struggled to follow the plot at times. Although the book mostly contains third-person narration, the author occasionally strays into using first-person or second-person narration, which is confusing for the reader. It was hard to tell if this was meant to be a story to enjoy, an informational narrative, or a personal memoir. I believe that, with some editing, it could be a cohesive combination of the three. It certainly needs the help of a quality editor to fix grammatical errors, remove repeated thoughts and events, and make the story flow better, but the author’s passion should carry the heart of the story through these cosmetic changes.
Overall, I would give this book 2 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed the characters, and it’s clear the author is well-informed about this subject. I believe he has something to say that is worth hearing, but many sections of the book don’t fit in terms of style or narration. I believe people who are struggling with Alzheimer’s, caring for family with memory impairment, or are simply curious about the inner life of Alzheimer’s patients would enjoy this book, but those who are frustrated by a lack of cohesion and continuity in a story may want to wait for another round of editing to take place before they give this book a try.
In Quest of Creativity
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