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The Notebook


The Notebook

Comments by Kenneth Lyen

I watched "The Notebook" last night. It’s a tearjerker about a rich girl falling for a poor boy but she encounters parental objections. The story is told as a series of flashback, read from a handwritten notebook, hence the title. But the rich girl has Alzheimer’s in her old age, and except for occasional lucid intervals, cannot recognise her husband or family. I read the book by Nicholas Sparks upon which the film is based, and cried reading it. The film has captured the story extremely well, and is just as sad.

The story has special meaning for me, because my Mum also suffered early Alzheimer’s before she passed away. She sometimes mixed up family members, and could not remember what she had just said or done only moments earlier, and she repeated them again. Alzheimer’s is a very harrowing disease, because when you lose your memories, your entire past is washed away. I felt very sorry for Mum especially when she struggled so hard trying to remember that you are her son.

Alzheimer’s Disease is very well captured in several films, including "Iris", a film about the writer Iris Murdoch. It is heartbreaking watching her loving husband John Bayley give her the support and care, and watching her fade away over the years.

The other film I like very much is the Swedish film, "A Song for Martin", about an orchestra conductor with Alzheimer’s trying to compose a symphonic score, and his love affair with a violinist. All these films are very sad, but well worth watching for the insight they give you about this baffling and tragic illness.