Mamie considered dementia a “judgment” rather than an illness. Do you think other people feel that there is a stigma associated with dementia? Why do you think they feel that way?
Mamie blamed Elizabeth for “making up” the diagnosis of dementia in concert with Dr.Kalansky. How is Mamie’s conclusion consistent with what you know about her background?
Mamie’s illness caused her to turn against Elizabeth despite their once solid relationship. Do you understand why Elizabeth didn’t want to tell other people how her mother was treating her? How do you think you would react in a similar circumstance?
Mamie and her grandson, Davis, had an exceptionally close relationship. Why do you think she avoided contact with him during her cognitive decline?
Mamie’s friend told Elizabeth that people with dementia often turn against the one they love the most. What do you think about that statement?
Memoirs such as Holding on to Mamie are intimately revealing. Why do think authors are prepared to share their experiences in that way?
Elizabeth speculates that her relationship with her brother Neil would have been better if she had not been Mamie’s confidante and ally. What do you think soured Elizabeth’s relationship with her brother Kevin? Why did the animosity continue throughout their mother’s illness?
Mamie's notes are reproduced throughout the memoir. What do the notes tell you about dementia?
Did Holding on to Mamie add anything to your knowledge about dementia or Alzheimer's disease?
After reading Holding on to Mamie what advice might you give to a friend whose loved one was diagnosed with dementia?
How do you think Elizabeth's own illness affected her relationship with Mamie?
What would you ask Elizabeth about the memoir if you were able to talk to her direclty?
Is the title, Holding on to Mamie, appropriate?
Does the cover of the book accurately reflect the story? Do you like the cover?
Does the Epilogue add anything to the story?
After reading Holding on to Mamie are you left with any unanswered questions?