Friday, 28 August 2015

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman
Release Date: 28th August 2014
Publisher: Ebury Press
Genres: Contemporary Fiction

A gorgeous husband, two beautiful children, a job she loves—Claire’s got it all. And then some. But lately, her mother hovers more than a helicopter, her husband Greg seems like a stranger, and her kids are like characters in a movie. Three-year-old Esther’s growing up in the blink of an eye, and twenty-year-old Caitlin, with her jet-black hair and clothes to match, looks like she’s about to join a punk band—and seems to be hiding something. Most concerning, however, is the fact that Claire is losing her memory, including that of the day she met Greg.

When Claire meets a handsome stranger on a rainy day, she starts to wonder if Greg still belongs in her life. She knows she should love him, but she can’t always remember why. When Greg gives her a blank book, Claire fills its pages with private memories and keepsakes, jotting down beginnings and endings and everything in between. The book becomes the story of Claire—her passions, her sorrows, her joys, her adventures in a life that refuses to surrender to a fate worse than dying: disappearing.

Claire has early onset Alzheimers and feels that her life is slipping away from her. She is desperate to hold onto her memories so she starts to write them down in a memory book. Her other family members contribute and through the book we discover who the real Claire is, her thoughts and feelings and her fears as well as her feelings of inadequacy as those around her, particularly her mother, are forced to take on a caring role to save and protect Claire from herself. We also get to read about what the other family members contribute to the book and how they feel about what is happening to Claire. Each has their own story to tell, their own heartbreak to share.

Well, what can I say about this book except.....WOW! It completely blew me away. I was so hooked that as well as buying the paperback I also bought the audio version so I could listen to it in the car on the way to work each day. Whilst this book covers such a topical and desperately sad issue, there are lots of tears of love and laughter and happiness. And, I will admit to sobbing like a baby each time I opened the book. When I was listening to the audio book in the car I had to pull over a few times to compose myself before I ended up in a ditch. Its that strong a book. Like the character Claire, I was so frightened of missing something. Rowan Coleman has written a book that makes you desperately want to cling onto what is happening to Claire and squeeze as much out of her life as she is trying to do for herself. You become so invested in what is happening in the book that its impossible to put down (or switch off). Claire's desperate attempts to remember her husband and the love she once had for him is totally heartbreaking. I adored EVERY single character in this book which was also rich with amazing dialogue, fantastic one liners and humour in the most unexpected of places.

Having had a father in law who sadly passed away from Early Onset Alzheimers I knew that my mother in law just had to read this book so I bought her a copy too. Equally, she found it pretty amazing. Rowan Coleman is such an amazing and inspiring writer and I am now a total fan! Highly highly highly recommended! I notice that the book was published 1 year ago today so happy 1 year anniversary to a fantastic book! 

I am taking part in this years Memory Walk to raise funds into Alzheimer's research. You can sponsor me here

*This book was also published under the title of THE DAY WE MET.

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