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Deeply personal

Rated 5 out of 5
May 11, 2022

I found “Winging It” to be deeply personal. I felt at times like I was reading Pauline’s diary revealing her inner most thoughts and then in the same breath worrying about whether the chickens all returned to the barn before a rainstorm. I grew up on a farm and I enjoyed reading about Pauline’s adventures. It made me giggle at some of the challenges she faced and I felt very nostalgic reading about the joys she experienced. By the way, as a child I hated picking eggs and was secretly terrified of the hens pecking my hands. I think there is some lingering childhood trauma.
Pauline’s memoir is brutally honest when it comes to jobs around the farm especially those she tries to avoid. This honestly extends to her description of what it is like to watch her beloved husband Bill slip away before her because of Alzheimer’s. But Pauline doesn’t wallow in despair. Despite the challenges they faced as they dealt with Bill’s illness they continued to live and live fully. Reading about the challenges Pauline faced as she cared for Bill made me think and think deeply. I don’t think anyone knows how they’d react if they received a serious health diagnosis either for themselves or their spouse. I don’t know anyone who has a plan for a diagnosis of Alzheimers. What I learned from reading Pauline’s book was so refreshing. She did her very best and most importantly she did it with love. This is all anyone could wish for. She lived in the moment, worried about today’s issues like the weather, the chickens and the horses but at the same time was able to hold her deep love and concern for her husband’s care and well being. In retrospect that probably was the best medicine any doctor could prescribe.

When someone has health issues the focus is on them and often the needs of the person who cares for them is lost in the shuffle. I was glad to see in the book Pauline explored her life after Bill’s death. How does someone who’s grieving the loss of their partner, who’s spent many years focused on their health issues pick themselves up and move on with their life? No one gives you a manual for this part of life but in sharing how she moved forward Pauline gives us all an opportunity to imagine how we would respond. What would we do?
My mom had dementia and my husband had a serious life threatening health issue but is thankfully healthy again. My journey has been different than Pauline’s but I could see many times where our paths crossed. I know this book is going to be helpful to others who are also on a journey.

Mary Anne Lemm


Rated 5 out of 5
February 27, 2022

Anyone who has cared for a declining loved one will empathize with Pauline. She lays open her own vulnerabilities in a very endearing way. The writing is great and the book is very readable. She paints some most amusing pictures of minor rural disasters, through the eyes of an urban neophyte, and the next minute has you wanting to cry with her when her husband does not recognize her any more. The story is full of love, and loyalty, and sadness, with a generous helping of courage and inner strength.

Sara Shadbolt

Great read!

Rated 5 out of 5
February 8, 2022

Anyone who has experienced loss can relate to this book. An honest story of travelling the road of dementia. Told with love laughs and tears . The reader walks away thinking about the story ,the disease and how we will deal with the hard facts of ageing .


An inspiring and heartwarming true story of love and resilience.

Rated 5 out of 5
February 7, 2022

This is a beautifully written book, full of tenderness and good humour. It is a candid account of a woman who lived with her husband as he developed and ultimately died from Alzheimer’s. At an early stage in his illness, the couple moved from the city to a small farm, to be closer to family and in hopes that rural living would slow the effects of dementia. “Winging It” is how the author often felt as she faced the many challenges of life on the farm and the harsh adjustments that her husband’s illness demanded. The author’s tremendous strength and resilience are evident as she shares with us where she finds herself now, after the loss of her husband, facing the next stage of her life. The book is moving and inspiring. It is an excellent read!

Margaret Stott

Come for the chickens, stay for the compassion

Rated 5 out of 5
January 30, 2022

This is a funny, heartwarming, tragic and always enlightening story about one woman’s perseverance when life didn’t work out as planned. Her frank reflections provide insight into the struggles of living with a “disappearing spouse” as dementia creeps on. Congratulations Pauline for your courage in sharing this story.

Patricia Evans

A beautiful love story

Rated 5 out of 5
January 26, 2022

I bought this book because of the title – I was curious about the 50 chickens. I quickly learned the chickens were part of a love story of an ordinary woman for her husband who was dying of dementia. A sad story but also very uplifting. A heartwarming story well worth the read.

Agnes Armstrong

Heartfelt sadness, laughter, pondering and guidance

Rated 5 out of 5
January 26, 2022

“This book will help so many to nurture others through grief but also enable their self-esteem through their own bouts of humour and uncertainty, disappointment and resolve”.

Rick Antonson

A very nice and worthwhile read

Rated 5 out of 5
January 25, 2022

“Pauline’s voice shines through with humour and wisdom, as she chronicles her story of love, loss, and the progression of Alzheimer’s, all the while navigating the new experience of farm life in the valley. It’s a story beautifully told, that both illuminates and understands the pain and joy of an evolving personal relationship and what it means to accept the inevitable”.
Libby Davies, author “Outside In: A Political Memoir”

Libby Davies

Well worth the read!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 25, 2022

This is a book not only for those who have had a spouse pass away from dementia but a book for all widows and widowers who have had a loved one pass away. The author tells how she handled the situation and things that she might have done differently. The letters that she writes to her deceased husband are very touching.

Betty King
Rated 4.6 out of 5
4.6 out of 5 stars (based on 10 reviews)
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Winging It A Story of Love, Loss and Fifty Chickens by Pauline Buck