Friday, 24 April 2015

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

When Claire begins to write her Memory Book she already knows that this scrapbook of mementos will soon be all her daughters and husband have left of her. But how can she hold on to the past when her future is slipping through her fingers?

Initially, this book begins with a familiar premise. Claire has a successful career as a teacher, she is married to the man of her dreams and has two beautiful daughters. Whilst this sounds like the outline for any number of chick lit novels this book is far from what it initially seems.

Claire has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer ’s disease and as we witness her mental demise alongside the effect that his devastating disease has on her family I found I became completely immersed in the characters and how they were dealing with the multitude of issues caused by the disease.

Indeed, it is the multiple narratives that run through this book that allows us to empathise with each of the characters. The majority of the narration is provided by Claire herself but alongside this there are chapters written from the point of view of her daughter, mother and husband. For me, this was what made this book stand out from the rest as we are able to witness the gradual demise of Claire's understanding of any given situation and compare it with the actual events as told in the chapters narrated by her family.

I learned much about this disease by reading this book. I am thankful that I have not had any family or friends who have suffered from this disease so I found this book informative.

I do not want to give the impression that this is a depressing book because it really isn't. Clearly, it is a difficult theme that the book deals with but there are times when we can see the humour in the situation particularly when we see the effect her illness has on her relationship with her young daughter, Esther.

Ms Coleman treats her novel with great sensitivity. She is an intelligent author who can couple sadness and light heartedness together seamlessly and, therefore, enable the reader to understand the heartbreak and hope that the novel conveys.

I highly recommend this compelling novel and I am looking forward to reading more of Rowan Coleman’s work.

ISBN:  978 0091953119

Publisher: Ebury Press

Price (based on £3.85

About the Author: 

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and five children in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family which includes a very lively set of toddler twins whose main hobby is going in opposite directions. When she gets the chance, Rowan enjoys sleeping, sitting and loves watching films; she is also attempting to learn how to bake.

Despite being dyslexic, Rowan loves writing, and The Memory Book is her eleventh novel. Others include The Accidental Mother, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud and the award-winning Dearest Rose, a novel which led Rowan to become an active supporter of domestic abuse charity Refuge, donating 100% of royalties from the ebook publication of her novella, Woman Walks Into a Bar, to the charity. 

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