Feb 7, 2015

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

When time is running out, every moment is precious…

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 onto the past when her future is slipping through her fingers...?

A Sunday Times bestseller and Richard & Judy Autumn Book Club pick, The Memory Book is a critically acclaimed, beautiful novel of mothers and daughters, and what we will do for love.

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Tanya's review
Wow Wow Wow this is another great book that I have read this year and it’s one that will stay with me for years to come. I must say a big thank you to Suzanne for gifting me this book during her fabulous visit to Wales. It will be a book that stays on my keep shelf and be re-read many times especially when I want reassuring about the importance of life. 
The book is about Claire and her families’ struggles and fight against early onset Alzheimer’s. Since having her oldest daughter at the age of 20 Claire has learnt to be independent and has always worked hard to have what she has in life. She recently married Greg, they met when he was doing some building work for her. They have a three year old daughter together called Esther and she seems to be the only one that does not recognise the daily struggles for the family. Claire’s mum, Ruth, has started to live with the family to take care of Claire during the day. The change in her behaviour is a big shock to the family as well as herself as her struggle to remember the simplest of tasks and words.
The idea of the memory book is for Claire to record the memories that she has of her life, as a child and an adult and she finds this a great help.  The rest of the family start to contribute towards it as well. Hopefully it will be something for the family especially Esther to look back on in the future. 
As well as the story of what happened in the past being put in the memory book there is also stories that run through the book about what is happening to members of the family during the current time.  These are varied and again quite hard to read but are told in a fantastic way in that you can’t help but read and want to know what happens next.
The book is told in alternate chapters by different members of the family. Sometimes it is in present time sometimes it is about what is being written about the past to go in the memory book. You really need to read the titles of the chapters to find out whose eyes you are seeing the events through and when it is set.
I loved all the main characters in this book and wanted to hold them close and tell them it would all be ok when in reality I suppose it really was not going to be.  I am blessed that I have never faced Alzheimer’s in real life and after reading this it gives me some insight into how things feel for the person and the family. If you have face this in your life I imagine this book may be difficult to read as it left me in tears at many points.
Thank you to Rowan Coleman for opening my eyes to this terrible condition and for such a great book on the subject.

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