Book Review of Wendy Mitchell's Somebody I Used to Know
This week I've been spending time back in Broughton and just chilling with family. It isn't wild, but is very lovely. In the gaps I've managed to read the memoir, 'Somebody I Used to Know'. I came across it online as I follw Wendy Mitchell's blog, 'Which me am I today?' She is a woman who (or is it whom?) I hugely admire. Diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers, she has set about showing the nation that her illness is just like any other, something you live with and maange rather than a reason to give up on life. this is a super memoir about dementia.
Wendy is something of a force of nature. In all honesty, I bet she is a real 'go-getter'. She gave an animated interview on Jenny Eclair's and Judith Holder's 'Older and Wider' podcast which I really enjoyed and inspired me to learn more about her and dementia, specifically Alzheimers. (episode 20 I think). In her book she shares how she travels up and down the country, raising awareness about dementia and meeting both like minded people, and also people, who need educating. Significantly, she describes her emotions of living with the illness and how she manages the difficulties it imposes. She is very frank and honest, so consequently it is a really moving and powerful read.
I've actually recently reviewed the book on my goodreads acccount if you're interested. As an aside, if you haven't come across goodreads, I can't recommend it enough. It is a great way of keeping tabls on your own reading and getting recommendations from others. You can follow your favourite authors, share reviews and all kinds of book related things. I'm completely addicted to it - wild woman that I am!
I actually recently reviewed a different book, Sally Magnusson's Where Memories Go, also about dementia, on the goodreads site. Strangely they are the only two books I've given a five star rating this year. I guess it is because I think they so successfully fill the gap in the market for intelligent well-written social commentary on this emotional topic. Where Memories Go focused on sharing the author's story of how she helped care for her mum with dementia. It was a hugely insightful and inspiring text to read.
Sally Magnusson's Where Memories Go - Review
Summing Up of Dementia Books including I Love My Grandpa
So, if you're not sure what to read this summer and you do like memoirs, these are two great reads on an under explored topic. Dementia is slowly starting to get more attention in the media, but there is still a long way to go. I should also mention a children's book that explores dementia that is proving to be very popular in libraries, schools and care homes. I love My Grandpa, is getting great reviews and is able to buy here.
If anyone else has any recommendations for other interesting summer reads about dementia I'd love to hear them.