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.
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.