In Man in the Mirror, Zoe Murdock has done the impossible — she wrote a page-turner of a story centered on a man losing his mind as the onset of Alzheimer’s disease creeps in and begins its slow dance of destruction.
Murdock has the uncanny ability to show Aaron Young’s slow struggle with his consciousness and mental abilities from several points of view — foremost through the mind of the protagonist whose mind ebbs and flows in and out of reality, but also through the agony of his daughter and caregiver Sarah, the estrangement from his son Michael, and even in the diaries of his late wife Laura. Adding to Aaron’s misery is the discovery, in Laura’s intimate journals, that he wasn’t the good husband he’d believed he’d been all those years.
In denial of his condition, or simply unaware of it, Aaron struggles to maintain his dignity and self-reliance by escaping to the plot of Utah desert upon which he’d always dreamed of building a house. His odyssey is an emotional roller-coaster of heinous experiences in the hands of thieves and brutal truck drivers while hitchhiking and a delightful last love affair with Maya, a spirited young woman who embodies the goodness and innocence of the world.
Man in the Mirror has its harrowing moments, but it is a novel with a soul that leaves the reader with understanding, compassion and deep feelings of hope. A must-read.