Head Case: My Father, Alzheimer’s & Other Brainstorms

Alexis Orgera’s Head Case

Order your copy of Head Cashere.

Check out the book trailer on the author’s website, here.

“The utmost in love and witness.”

North Carolina writer and publisher Alexis Orgera’s new memoir, Head Case: My Father, Alzheimer’s & Other Brainstorms, is a lyric experiment written in the immediacy of grief during the end stages of her father’s early Alzheimer’s diagnosis at age 52—a disease that is a national epidemic. The book chronicles the visceral and painful experience of a daughter watching her beloved, formerly high functioning father disappear, and explores the stories that unfurl, daily, all around us.

After moving from Los Angeles to Florida to be near her parents as they navigated her father’s deteriorating condition, Orgera spent the days with her father painting, listening to music, taking walks, reading poems, sitting on the porch and later in the courtyard of his memory facility and furiously recording the moments while examining her own memories. To begin to understand the emotional impact of a human unraveling by memory loss, Orgera tells the story through a kaleidoscopic lens of  mythology and religion, visual art, migraines, ghosts, poetry, and science. 

Both a deep lament for a well-loved man and an exploration of what it means to live a good life, Head Case invites you to better understand yourself more deeply as well as the human condition.

Praise for Head Case

“Alexis Orgera’s Head Case is a harrowing, phantasmagoric, and above all unflinching journey into the depths of her father’s suffering, his soul’s last stand in the pitiless grip of Alzheimer’s.  With unblinking honesty, Orgera’s kaleidoscopic narrative folds together family history, medical research, philosophy, theology, art and poetry, in her quest to understand the magnitude of such staggering loss. “What invisible rope connects father and daughter?” Orgera asks. The answer—sustained across the most heartbreaking and unbridgeable gap—is the utmost in love and witness.” —Daniel Tobin, author of Blood Labors

“Alzheimer’s disease disorients not only the patient, but everyone in their orbit. It seems like an impossible task to convey, in writing, what this experience is like. And yet Alexis Orgera succeeds — she submerges the reader in a world of linguistic chaos, blending poetry and medical terminology, memoir and philosophy. I emerged from this book aching with grief for Orgera’s family’s pain, yet grateful for her stark, terrible and beautiful words.”—Sarah Leavitt, author of Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me 

“Head Case is a marvel of a book. Its form: narrative, anecdotal, elliptical and historical, suits the subject perfectly.  In prose that is as beautiful as it is idiomatic, Alexis Orgera tells the story of her 52 year old father’s decline due to Alzheimer’s.  A former all-state football player and a man capable of holding three jobs at once, he withers in mind and body before our eyes.  In a parallel narrative, Orgera recounts her struggle with devastating migraines.  Above all, Orgera’s perceptions keep the narrative moving forward: penetrating, startling, accurate and wise.  This book will make you better understand yourself as well as the human condition.”—John Skoyles, author of Driven and Suddenly It’s Evening: Selected Poems


Head Case in the media:

Buzzfeed’s top 18 books to watch out for from Indie Presses!

Check out the author interview by Deborah Kalb for an inside look at Head Case.


Alexis Orgera is the author of two poetry collections, How Like Foreign Objects and Dust Jacket. Her writing has appeared in Bennington Review, Black Warrior Review, Carolina Quarterly, Chattahoochee Review, Conduit, Denver Quarterly, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, storySouth, Tarpaulin Sky, Third Coast, Vinyl, and elsewhere. She is an editor and cofounder of Penny Candy Books and Penelope Editions, an indie picture book press and young adult imprint that encourage big conversations. Orgera also makes art, wanders, and practices the art of growing plants for food, medicine, and connection.

Visit her at www.alexisorgera.com.