The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

memory book

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman is my second read of the month.  With fantastic reviews I knew that this book would not disappoint. What I didn’t expect was the story to be so captivating and life like that I simply could not put it down. The Memory Book is based around the character Claire and her family.   Claire is in her early 40’s and has juts been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and is not responding well to treatment.  With her rapid deterioration, a councilor suggests that she starts writing in a memory book.  The memory book becomes a part of the family’s daily routine, a place where they can all contribute their treasured memories and have a place to remember each of their relationships and experiences with Claire before the AD consumes her last memory.

Rowan’s writing is smart in the way that the story is not just focused on Claire and the disease but that also of her family and how they cope, deal and manage the changes going on around them.  Each character is developed in a way that not only do you learn about each of their characters but you learn how different relationships evolve and accept what is happening to Claire.  Claire’s relationship with her mother is a key theme throughout the book and the power struggle that continues between Claire needing help from those around her as she starts to forget who and where she is versus her heartbreaking fight to try and not let the disease take hold of her.  Now not wanting to put you off I have to let you know is that it is not all doom and gloom, as much as it is a serious disease that is being written about. The character of Esther Claire’s youngest child brings laughter and joy to the story.  Being three years of age Esther doesn’t understand what is happening to her mother, but finds it funny that her mum will go into another character and play dress up with her.

In conclusion this book is heartbreaking, sad, informative and a must read for all the book worms out there.  Whilst I have never experienced what the characters in the book are going through, Rowan’s style of writing was so real that I felt fully immersed into each of the characters and felt like I knew them.  I almost want to know what happens next and if they are doing okay….

Finally I want to end this post on a bit of an informative one.  AD has been featured in the news a lot recently and effects up to 850,000 people in the UK alone. We assume that AD only affects the elderly, however such as the story of Claire in The Memory Book there are 40,000 young people living with Dementia in the UK. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Disease click here. To donate money to the Alzheimer’s Society click here.

Mrs J xx

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