Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman



The name of your first-born. The face of your lover. Your age. Your address...


What would happen if your memory of these began to fade?


Is it possible to rebuild your life? Raise a family? Fall in love again?


When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold on to the past when her future is slipping through her fingers...?




Claire has early onset Alzheimers Disease (AD). She also has a husband and two daughters,one a teenager and one of three years.
A counseller suggests that Claire writes down all her thoughts in a memory book and soon the whole family is using the book to record their own thoughts and memories.
Claire is trying hard to remember everyday objects and routine and sometimes she does have lucid moments where she's back to her old self and feels she can do everything as usual and that's when things go wrong.
Esther her little daughter has some great times with her mum as Claire looses her inhibitions and acts more like Esther's friend than her mother.
Caitlin,should be returning to university but with her mum's illness, she feels she should be looking after her but she's also worried that she may inherit the disease. She also has a huge secret she's keeping from everyone, how will she cope?
Sadly the first person Claire is torn apart from by this terrible disease is her loving husband Greg and it breaks his heart as she pushes him away, throws his clothes from her bedroom and can't understand why a strange man is in her house. Love finds a way and so does Greg and you will be amazed at how he does it.
It is so difficult for Claire to relinquish her life to others but gradually she accepts that's the way it will have to be.

We are told the story by the people who write in the memory book,Claire,Greg Caitlin and Claire's mother who has moved in to look after the family.We read how they all cope with what is happening to Claire.
I had a huge lump in my throat from the first page of this book until the last. I have tears streaming down my face as I type this and relive this book. I was emotionally drained when I finished it. I hasten to end that it was not all sad, there are some very funny escapades and funny lines in this book so you will be laughing between the tears.

Throughout the book I was thinking,"How would I cope if it was me?" I had no answer.
When my mother in law was in a care home there was a woman in her early forties being cared for, she had AD and  seeing her in a home for very elderly people with dementia all living in their own world was one of the saddest sights I have ever seen.

I can't recommend this book enough and I would give it ten stars if I could. I'm not telling you any more of the story as I want you to read it for yourself.
Apart from a good story this book will raise awareness of Alzheimers Disease as Claire tells her story of how it feels and how she sees the world. It will perhaps make us all a bit more tolerant.
 A word of advice, have a box of tissues at the ready.

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4 comments:

  1. Oh goodness, Anne. I read a short story about this by Rowan, and I was deeply moved by it. It's one of the most memorable short stories I've ever read, so I'm guessing this is a development of this story, as I think the characters were also Claire and Greg. I shall be getting this one for sure, but I've already got a lump in my throat just from reading your review. I'd better buy a case of tissues!

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    1. I didn't know it came from a short story. This is the first of Rowan's books I have read but I'll be reading more of them.

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  2. As soon as I started reading this review, I started thinking...what if it was me? Then saw you also wrote the same thing. I'm going to get this as I want to read it. Thanks for sharing.

    Nas

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    1. Hi Nas,yes It's very thought provoking.

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