Book Review: The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray

The Last Days of Ptolemy GreyThe Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ptolemy Grey is a ninety-one year old black man in the early stages of dementia. He's taken care of by his nephew Reggie until Reggie is killed in a drive-by shooting. Then seventeen year old friend of the family Robyn comes in to his life. She cleans up his apartment and shows him unconditional love for the first time in a long time. With a new lease on life, Ptolemy visits a mysterious doctor who offers him an experimental drug that will restore his mind and help him remember things he is desperate to remember but there's a catch – he won't live to see ninety-two.

This was a wonderful story. Race issues are insightfully intertwined in both Ptolemy's flashbacks to his life as the child of a sharecropper at the turn of the century and the present day story. Throughout the book, Ptolemy remembers the wisdom of his childhood best friend and mentor, Coydog McCann. (I'll admit that I didn't understand all what Coydog was trying to say but he was still a great character.) The author does a great job of getting into Ptolemy's mind and showing the reader what it must be like to be suffering from dementia and the indignities that elderly people suffer.

(I received this book courtesy of the publisher and the Goodreads FirstReads program.)