The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman – Book Review

Book Title: The Memory Book

Alternative Title: The Day We Met

Author: Rowan Coleman

Genre/Themes: General Fiction, Contemporary, Dementia, Alzheimer’s

Blurb from Goodreads

  • 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…?

Original, heartwarming and uplifting, The Memory Book is perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

My Review

The Memory Book tells the story of Claire Armstrong a young wife and mother who has been diagnosed with familial early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Between the chapters of the novel are journal-type entries from the Memory Book of the title. This so-called memory book is a scrapbook / journal that each member of the family writes in to help Claire to remember and to retain the essence of herself. Each of these entries helps us to understand Claire’s personality and to really care about the relationships that she has with her husband, mother, and two daughters.

The main chapters of the book alternate between the points of view of both Claire and her eldest daughter Caitlin.

The main story deals with Claire’s struggles to remain herself, to retain her memories and to try and still be there as a mother, wife and daughter, and when the book follows 20 year old Caitlin’s point of view we see her struggles with becoming an adult and loosing her mother at the same time.

This book is heart breaking.

Dementia is such a cruel disease; to see someone try to battle against forgetting the people they hold most dear to themselves and trying to battle against forgetting themselves is just so utterly sad.

I can’t really say much else about this book without giving away spoilers. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who likes emotional fiction. Rowan Coleman’s novels are typically very well written, carefully structured, and are enjoyable to read, and this is no exception even if it turned me into a blubbering mess by the end!

I think the following excerpt from the book probably sums up the whole feeling of the story better than I can:

“Decide to be happy…

Trust your heart to know what to do because the world might crumble away around you, your brain and body might betray you, but your heart, your spirit…that is what will stay true. That is what will define you. …

What will be left of us all, is the love we have given and received.”

A beautiful story.

Other Works by Rowan Coleman I’ve Reviewed

My Socials

7 thoughts on “The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman – Book Review

  1. I had to go through my Goodreads books because I couldn’t remember if I read this one or not, I read it under the alternative title! Great review, this book was very heart wrenching. I agree with you anything about memory loss always gets me.


    1. It’s a couple of years since I read this (just transferring old gr reviews to my blog) but I do remember sobbing like a baby. Gosh I hate how they have different names for the same book in different regions though. Or when they reissue a book with a new title. I’ve started to read what I thought were new books by authors I’ve liked with it turning out to be an old book I’d already read. SO IRKSOME!, Just stop please!
      I was on quite the Rowan Coleman kick about five or six years ago. Read pretty much every book I could get my hands on that was written by her and available in my library. Haven’t enjoyed her more recent works as much though. She wrote one called Girl in the Window, or at the window… something to do with girls and windows at any rate 😂😂😂 and I felt like she was trying to break out of the emotional drama genre into a more gothic vibe… but in a way that felt really formulaic and rather dull. Haven’t bothered reading anything else by her since then 😅😅😅


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