When I was down in London recently for some meetings, it felt right and proper that I should make best use of my journey by reading a work appropriate book. Down went the Iain M. Banks, and was replaced by Where Memories Go by Sally Magnusson. I knew it had been a bestseller in a number of countries, and having met the author in person (when she signed a copy for me at our Annual Conference), I thought I’d start here.
In true Magnusson spirit, I started it… so I finished it. Two planes, four trains and an hour’s lunch break in a park allowed me to finish the book in one day. Never have I had a day quite so moving, physically and mentally.
An incredibly touching book, Magnusson manages to bring the reader into her family life, and share the experiences of a mother, grandmother, wife, sister and highly respected journalist, and her fight with dementia. The atmospheric storytelling approach means one cannot help but be drawn into the doctor’s office when test results are fed back, or feel the pain when a daughter’s face is forgotten. The reader truly shares the ups and downs of a family providing care and support The moments of levity only adding to the sense of involvement – I spent large parts of the book wishing I had been on the invite list for one of the Magnusson family Christmas get-togethers.
The personal story is interspersed with chapters looking at the history of dementia, and what different approaches were taking place across the world to try and improve the treatment of the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed. This allows the reader to learn more about the how and why of dementia, but also allows a brief respite before returning back to the story at hand.
Where Memories Go is a fantastic read; an engaging insight into caring for a person with dementia, but with moments of humour and education giving it a well-rounded feel.
Research, Policy and Communications Officer, QNIS