The Memory Book
‘The Memory Book’ is a beautiful, though sometimes painful read. Its portrayal of a woman falling apart as a result of early-onset Alzheimer’s is spot on and heartbreaking.
Based on the premise and the blurb, I thought this book would have me in tears by the end, but in fact it had me crying from about page 50 onwards.
Throughout the book we follow the narrative of Claire – who has just had her worst fears about her medical condition confirmed – and Caitlin, her daughter. Caitlin, it turns out, has plenty of problems of her own to grapple with as well.
We are also shown the contents of the ‘Memory Book’ – a notebook bought for Claire by her husband Greg to try to help her keep hold of the things she can still remember. Through this book we also get to see the thoughts of Greg and of Claire’s mother.
In some ways the story is tragic, but it is written with such humour and compassion that it is also uplifting. As a reader, whatever else you feel for Claire, you won’t feel pity.
And that is the genius that shines through in the writing of this book. We get to see into Claire’s life as it slowly falls apart and the portrayal of her Alzheimer’s-related memory lapses are portrayed so realistically that as the reader you feel like you are experiencing them with her. And yet her personality and strength assert themselves so strongly that they defy you to feel sorry for her.
The ending of the book leaves a few questions unanswered, a few things unsaid. And that is as it should be. One mystery though is solved in the most beautiful and unexpected way – cue for more tears.
Whatever you are left feeling about the ending, and whatever you think happens next in the story of Claire and those who love her, one thing is certain - Claire will still be there.
Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.
You can find out more here.