Monday, April 24, 2017

The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden Review

In The Wide Circumference of Love Marita Golden explores what happens to a family when an admired and loved father becomes unrecognizable because of an illness that strikes quickly and leaves emotional wreckage in it's wake. 

The foundation of Diane's and Gregory’s relationship is based on Diane's admiration for Gregory's seemingly 'better' genes because of his fair skin, which she believes will improve life for herself and any potential children that they may have. Golden attaching Gregory's fair skin to his attractiveness for Diane is very well done, especially since his genes also came with the devastating result of Gregory developing Alzheimer's. Colorism in the African American community is touched on, but isn't over done. The focus of the story stayed steadily on the fall out of how Alzheimer's uniquely affects each member of the family 

The Wide Circumference of Love is an intriguing look into what 'in sickness and in health' means when the person that you have committed your life to is no longer able to be a functioning partner in any way. How far is far enough to fulfill your obligation as a spouse? Where is the line between selfishness and self-care? How does a spouse accept that the person that they love has moved beyond their ability to care for physically and emotionally? 

Golden also explores the dynamics between Gregory and his children. Gregory was able to build an impressive reputation and legacy for himself, but sometimes at the expense of his relationships with his children. I would have liked to have had more of the tension and dynamics of Gregory's relationship with his children, but what was given was enough to let the reader understand the different dynamics between Gregory and his daughter compared to Gregory and his son. 

The Wide Circumference of Love is a moving and insightful story focused on the impact of Alzheimer's on an African American family. It's a short book that reads quickly, but still manages to feel complete. This could have very easily been a much longer story that delved a bit deeper into all of the relationships, family and social dynamics, and the impact of Alzheimer's. Although this is a story that centers around the impact of Alzheimer's, it is also a story that is unique to the African American experience. Golden weaves in themes of colorism, class, and social mobility that directly affect this specific African American family as part of the background of this family's Alzheimer's story. Marita Golden was able to make a painful and frustrating challenge for a family relatable in a way that made me wonder what my choices would have been. I will be looking to pick up more stories from Marita Golden in the future.

**I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.**


You just can’t plan for this kind of thing.

Diane Tate certainly hasn’t. She never expected to slowly lose her talented husband to the debilitating effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As a respected family court judge, she’s spent her life making tough calls, but when her sixty-eight-year-old husband’s health worsens and Diane is forced to move him into an assisted living facility, it seems her world is spinning out of control.

As Gregory’s memory wavers and fades, Diane and her children must reexamine their connection to the man he once was—and learn to love the man he has become. For Diane’ daughter Lauren, it means honoring her father by following in his footsteps as a successful architect. For her son Sean, it means finding a way to repair the strained relationship with his father before it’s too late. Supporting her children in a changing landscape, Diane remains resolute in her goal to keep her family together—until her husband finds love with another resident of the facility. Suddenly faced with an uncertain future, Diane must choose a new path—and discover her own capacity for love.


  1. I am partway through this book and am a person in the Early Stage of Alzheimer's.

    I have disagreements with some aspects. In the diagnosis section, the author seems to have mixed up the process and results of a PET scan with the neuro-psych test.

    I don't think, but am not sure that his inappropriate touching of a female employee would be something seen at that stage.

    1. Thanks so much for the input Mimi. I do not have any real knowledge about the diagnosis process for Alzheimer's, so I didn't catch that. I haven't gone through the experience of having someone close to me having a Alzheimer's diagnosis, so the scene with the nurse didn't stand out as out of place for me. But, I am glad to get your take on this. Thanks so much for stopping by.


Find Book Goodness (I'm an Amazon Affiliate!)