Only With the Heart
by Alexandria Szeman
Once again Alexandria Szeman (aka. Sherri Szeman) has written a novel that knocks me off my traditional literary perch, and demands that I follow her through the emotional roller-coaster lives of three people as they are forced to embark on the heart breaking journey of dealing with Alzheimer.
As with “The Kommadant’s Mistress”, Szeman makes no excuse for her complete lack of turn signals, stop signs or GPS gadgets to warn the reader she is changing scenery or time. Yet it is this very disregard for rules that empowers the reader to hear, and understand the hearts and minds of the characters she writes about.
In reality our thoughts and musing are seldom, if ever, processed in chronological order. In general they are like a random collection of life experiences that pop into our consciousness with, or without our permission. And Szeman expertly uses this very human trait to help the reader understand (and hopefully), experience some of the conflict, tension and frailty that are at the very core of “Only with the Heart”
As a CMA, I have some medical understanding of the technical reasons behind the disease. But after reading this story, I realize that all the facts in the world have no relevancy for those who
have, or who are currently, living within the wake of its destruction.
Whether a work of fiction or the memoirs of true life events, reading this book cannot help but force the reader to re-examine their own perception of what it is like for those suffering with this terrible, life destroying disease, or of those who have given up their own lives and dreams to care for them.
Again I have to give Szeman five stars across the board. Not only is she a brilliant storyteller, but she is also one of those rare individuals, whose writing has the power to influence the way we think and live our lives for the better.