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Alzheimer’s, A Love Story

Scribe Publications, Melbourne , 2009

RRP $32.95

Reviewed by Rev Dr Marian Zaunbrecher, Associate General Secretary of the Queensland Synod


  Author Vivienne Ulman decided to journal her mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease.

As it became harder to communicate with her mother she wrote her letters.

These letters became the basis of her chronicle.

As we read each letter we also read about the events leading up to the letter and their aftermath.

It was the title of this book that grabbed me initially.

“A love story”?

How does one have a love story with Alzheimer’s?

At first I thought this was about her relationship with her mother and then I realised the love story was that between her father and her mother, who having wed when she was 18 and he 24, continued a love that only deepened with the advent of Alzheimer’s.

Her mother lost the ability to recognise anyone except her beloved husband.

Her eyes shone when she saw him and he stayed by her side for the whole long journey.

I am not easily moved by a book but Alzheimer’s, A Love Story moved me.

Even if, unlike me, you have never had any contact with the disease, it will move you. The book traces the life journey of her parents as immigrant Jews in Melbourne to the establishment of the famous Glow-Weave shirt factory and becoming leading lights of the Australian Labor Party, to the nursing homes and hospital.  

But fame, money or status is no protection of this horrific disease.

Alzheimer’s, A Love Story is a beautiful book. It made me cry.