Join Nancy as she introduces Brain in a Jar to the world from her
home bookstore in Burlington, Vermont. Nancy will read a chapter from
the book and sign copies. Cake included!
About the Book: Brain in a Jar is a memoir of family obsession and Alzheimer’s disease. In this unflinchingly honest memoir, Bercaw recounts her life with her father, Dr. Beauregard Lee Bercaw, or “Beau,” who became a neurologist in response to watching his own father deteriorate and die with Alzheimer’s.
For many years Beau kept an autopsied brain in a jar on the desk in his office as a constant reminder of the struggle that he waged against the disease first with his patients, and then ultimately for himself.
This is also the story of Nancy Bercaw’s own struggle to establish her identity and life and to navigate the treacherous and ever-changing emotional terrain of her relationship with her father, as she literally traveled the world in her quest to make sense of both of their lives.
“An American-gothic tale of love, grief, genetics, obsession, adventure, fear and courage. The Bercaws might break your heart, but they’ll also remind you why Alzheimer’s disease must take center stage in politics, medicine and art.”
—former US Senator Bob Kerrey and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,
co-chairs of the Alzheimer’s Study Group
“Surprisingly, given these dark themes, this is often a very funny book, tragicomic in the manner of real life that fiction can never equal. Beau is such a vivid, complex and often infuriating character that if you were to encounter him in a novel you might dismiss him as too unlikely to be real; while Nancy’s own travels and adventures can seem almost too much to have been crammed into a single, still very much ongoing life.”
—Larry W. Moore, Publisher, Broadstone Books
“My friend, classmate and colleague, neurologist Beauregard Bercaw MD, watched his father deteriorate with Alzheimer’s disease and thus knew what may be in store for him. Whereas the stoic philosopher Seneca wrote, “Fore-knowledge is fore-sorrow,” this knowledge about his father’s demise helped motivate Beau to spend his life helping other people with neurological diseases. When he developed the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Beau did not succumb without a valiant battle. This wonderful book written by his daughter describes her relationship with her adoring father, his work as a neurologist and his fight with this terrible disease.”
—Kenneth M. Heilman MD, The James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor,
Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine
Nancy Stearns Bercaw lives with her son David and husband Allan Nicholls in Burlington, Vermont. Her work has appeared in newspapers around the world from the Korea Herald to the New York Times. She is a frequent contributor to Seven Days, Vermont’s alternative news weekly. Nancy has written extensively about Alzheimer's disease for a wide variety of publications. She also speaks frequently on issues of Alzheimer's and identity, among other topics surrounding the disease.
Nancy co-authored Cradle Will Rock: The Movie and The Moment (HarperCollins 1999) with director/actor Tim Robbins about the making of his film, “Cradle Will Rock.” Bercaw is also a national championship swimmer. She was inducted into the University of South Florida’s inaugural athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.