Navigating a Disease

The Long Good Night chronicles one woman's father's journey in Alzheimer's

Daphne Simpkins's overprotective father devoted his life to preparing his four daughters to cope with potential disasters and emergencies. Yet he couldn't prepare them for the most difficult scenario of all—his slow descent into Alzheimer's.

The author, who teaches writing at Auburn University, portrays the grim realities of her role as caretaker, including her father's violence ("daddy wants to hit me"), sexual innuendoes, and paranoid delusions. As she and her sisters navigate the different dimensions of Alzheimer's disease, Simpkins learns, "If you don't like this stage of Alzheimer's, don't worry. It will pass. But another one will take its place."

Rather than hopeless, her story is luminous with love: the love between sisters, between fathers and daughters, and the power of love and faith to sustain a family.

Simpkins writes, "Right now, I've learned how to be content with nothing but a broken heart and the remains of a man who is dying slowly, messily, unpredictably."

Cindy Crosby is a regular contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Related Elsewhere

The Long Good Night is available from and other book retailers.

The publisher offers reviews, an excerpt, and an interview.

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