by Sukey HowardMay, 2002
Our beautiful minds
Much has been written about Alzheimer's, from the strictly scientific to the soppy and sentimental. Though moving memoirs have appeared, none have been written, and now in part read, by an actual Alzheimer's sufferer. Tom DeBaggio, a commercial herb grower and former journalist, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in 1999 when he was only 57. At first he viewed it as a death sentence, then, realizing that he had a hell of a story to tell, DeBaggio began to write Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's, an account of his struggle with this insidious, incurable disease as it eats away at his memory and his connections to the world. He braids three narrative lines together a memoir of life before Alzheimer's, an ongoing description of living with it, both read by Cotter Smith and punctuated by sudden barks of disappointment and loss read by DeBaggio, as well as information on recent Alzheimer's research. It is indeed a hell of a story, intensely affecting and sad, made even more poignant by the author's courage and the fact that he and we will soon lose his fine, insightful mind.