Book Review: “The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time” by Jonathan Kozol

Book Review: “The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time” by Jonathan Kozol

by Marilyn Phillips

The Theft of Memory is a moving account of the life of an extremely competent, dedicated neurologist and university professor, Dr. Harry Kozol, and his long journey with Alzheimer’s. His son, Jonathan, tells the story of his father’s remarkable life, and of accompanying him on the heartbreaking but tender journey through his disease. From early days when Dr Kozol could describe and analyze his own symptoms and discuss them with his son, to the gradual diminishing of his cognitive and physical abilities over a period of 12 years, it is a story of confronting multiple challenges with courage and hope. I was deeply touched by the caring relationship between father and son, and the joys and sorrows they experienced in walking this deeply painful yet in many ways beautiful road together. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the story for me was Jonathan’s increasing sense of closeness to his father even as communication became more difficult. “Somehow,” the author says, “all those hours that we spent trying to fathom something that he wanted to express, or summon up a vivid piece of seemingly lost memory that still brought a smile to his eyes, left me with a deeper sense of intimate connection with my father than I’d ever felt before.” A book well worth reading for anyone who desires to face dementia, or minister to those who do, with courage and compassion.

About the author

Marilyn Phillips is retired and lives in Regina, Saskatchewan with Ron, her husband of almost 50 years. She is a former music teacher, CBM missionary in Brazil, Bible College student ministry co-ordinator, and ministry volunteer in two churches pastored by Ron. In retirement she has enjoyed singing in two choirs and providing musical entertainment in various Regina seniors' residences, volunteering in her church, and spending time with her grandchildren. She is also a member of the CHAT Committee and the Heartland Baptist Women's Executive.

Related Posts