My Two Elaines Book Review

Written by Dr. Pat Zook

March 26, 2024

Title and Author: “My Two Elaines” by Martin J. Schreiber

How many stars would you give it: 5 stars

Would you recommend the book? Yes.

Who would this book be good for? Professional? Caregiver? Persons living with dementia?: All of these people should read this book for some great practical advice and supportive information that almost all adults will find useful at some time in their lives.

Review: While author Martin Schreiber, former Wisconsin Governor and politician, has never really represented an “everyman” among us, he honestly presents his 18+ years of dementia caregiver experience with the love of his life and wife Elaine, in his book, “My Two Elaines”. A love story that tells all, this is a must-read for caregivers and families dealing with dementia as best they can but also for the rest of us who can all expect to be touched sooner or later in some way by dementia and its consequences among our own family, spouse, friends or neighbors.

Governor Schreiber candidly owns up to his own missteps and vulnerabilities along the way but in his own love language describes first his favorite things to love about Elaine and how she supported him and all his political events and election campaigns. He eloquently paints a picture of their mutually happy and supportive relationship and how it hurt all the more when he one day realized that he was gradually losing it all. Though no two dementia journeys are exactly the same, he covers many of the commonly experienced problems that are so hard to find a confidant to talk about including his loneliness, anger, loss of intimacy and outside friendships while offering his personal advice to caregivers with “What I wish I’d known” snippets throughout the book. Also helpful, Schreiber posts phrases copied from Elaine’s own personal diary throughout the book – sort of an after-the-fact point-counterpoint for additional reader insights. As he documents the difficulties of their journey for both of them, he talks about the moment of crossing over to become more caregiver than husband, but remarkably describes nonetheless how he begins and continues to love his “second Elaine” and how this love seemed to sustain them both – even after her move to long term care.

I highly recommend this story especially for newly realized dementia caregivers. Our clients and caregivers always want to know what to expect on their journey with their loved one. “My Two Elaines” will offer you some real valuable practical information and advice via one man’s very personal experience and inspirational growth as a dementia caregiver.