Greg O’Brien: On Pluto
Saturday, September 22
Join author and investigative reporter Greg O’Brien for a reading and book lecture in the Library’s Marc Jacobs Reading Room on Saturday, September 22 at 2:00 pm. O’Brien will discuss the new, expanded edition of his book On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s. On Pluto, an international award winner when initially published in 2014, is the first book written by Greg O’Brien, embedded inside the mind of Alzheimer’s, chronicling the unbroken progression of his own disease.
Drawing on cognitive reserve, O’Brien—who has served on the national Alzheimer’s Association Early Onset Advisory Group, is a patient advocate for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund of Boston, and is a board member of the distinguished UsAgainstAlzheimers in Washington, D.C.—writes eloquently in this updated edition, an illuminating, naked and honest account of living with Alzheimer’s. The dying part, he writes, comes later. This updated edition of ON PLUTO breaks new ground in this journey, and offers an innovative resource guide in an epilogue. It also explores, in real time, a sequence of ongoing progressions, the penetrating narratives of others nationwide in this disease, the counsel of world experts, and first-person reflections from family and caregivers about the hope of living with Alzheimer’s, the struggles of the journey, and the peace of unconditional love. Alzheimer’s, indeed, is a disease of the family.
O’Brien would know. Alzheimer’s stole his maternal grandfather, his mother, and his paternal uncle. And before his father’s death, he, too, was diagnosed with dementia. Now the disease has come for O’Brien, diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s after the onset of vile symptoms and two traumatic, almost life-ending, head traumas that, doctors say, unmasked a disease in the making. He also carries the Alzheimer’s marker gene, APOE4.
The Pluto allegory, O’Brien writes, is a metaphor for the penetrating isolation of Alzheimer’s—the numbing memory loss, the chilling hallucinations, loss of self, the piercing rage, loss of judgment, inability to problem solve, withdrawal from family, friends and social activities, inability to process noise, loss of filter, and changes in personality and mood.
Greg O’Brien has more than 35 years of newspaper and magazine experience as a writer, editor, investigative reporter, and publisher. Over the years, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Runner’s World, Time, Denver Post, Associated Press, UPI, USA Today, The Arizona Republic, Boston Herald American, Boston Metro, New York Metro, Philadelphia Metro, the Providence Journal, Cape Cod Times, Boston Irish Reporter, and Boston Magazine, where he was a senior writer. The author/editor of several books, O’Brien has published 17 books by other writers, and was a founding managing director of Community Newspaper Company, initially headquartered in Boston. He is president of Stony Brook Group, a political and communications strategy company, and lives in West Brewster on Cape Cod with his wife, Mary Catherine.