Archives for dementia

#Bookreview ‘File under Fear’ by Geraldine Wall #genealogy #mystery

Second in the series about probate researcher turned genealogy detective Anna Ames, File Under Fear by Geraldine Wall takes off running from where the previous book left off. This is a well-written, page-turning series that combines family history, crime, family and secrets. But for me, the touchstone that makes it special is the sub-plot of Anna’s home life and her husband Harry’s dementia. If you haven’t read book one in the series, I suggest you start there to see the full emotional depth. Anna’s new contract sounds boring: to write a business report on Draycotts, the company which makes Drakes lurid orange and green drink, analysing how the family members coordinate together to run a successful business. But there is a secret element to her contract, to locate a missing person for CEO Gerald Draycott. This case sees Anna physically and emotionally intimidated and encompasses bullying, illegal smuggling and rape. An intense story with red herrings and wrong assumptions made about family members, the actual crimes being committed and in which Anna questions who to trust. Backing her up are her very likeable family and the multi-talented more-than-workmate Steve. Some of the resolutions fall into place a little conveniently at the
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Categories: Book Love.

Flash Fiction: Paris

In the thing where I keep the small metal circles I give the man in the shop where I buy bread, I find two papers I do not know. Why don’t I know them? This is my thing, it is mine because inside is a yellow paper with my name. Mary. Inside is my purse, this is where I keep the small metal circles and sometimes large paper things with people’s faces on. The lady at the bank, Annette, gives me the paper things every Friday. She says “Hello Mary, have you come for your money?” and she gives me the paper things. She always smiles and is ever so kind. I look at the two papers, they do not have my name on them, on one side there are words and on the other is a picture of two grey men. Who are these men? What are they doing in my thing? Someone must have put them there when I was asleep? I mustn’t go to sleep. People want to steal things. My Bill bought it for me, he said I needed a thing to keep my money in. Perhaps the papers are not mine. They do not have my
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Book review: Somewhere Inside of Happy

Yet again, Irish author Anna McPartlin tackles difficult issues. Grief – as in the superb The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes – dementia and homophobia. And there is laughter and tears. It is a thoughtful book with strongly drawn characters, Irish humour and a fair amount of ripe language. It is the story of Maisie Bean, a single mother who has fought bravely to escape a violent husband and raise her two children, Jeremy and Valerie. The story starts, on January 1, 1995, when Jeremy disappears. Ever since his mother found the strength to leave her abusive husband, Jeremy has been the man of the family. He has been responsible, thoughtful, helpful, caring for his grandmother Bridie who suffers from dementia, keeping an eye on his younger sister Valerie. In doing so he has repressed who he is because he doesn’t really understand who he is, all he knows is that he is different. Somewhere Inside of Happy is an examination of generalisations, assumptions and misunderstandings, how the crowd dynamic and a troublesome media can turn a whisper into fact. How a community looks the other way whilst a drug-addict father neglects his son and how gays are referred to
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Categories: Book Love.

A poem to read in the bath… ‘Forgetfulness’

The two first lines of this Hart Crane poem [below] grabbed me, will grab anyone in their middle years who starts to forget the odd thing, will grab anyone who has watched by as a loved on is taken by dementia. ‘Forgetfulness’ Forgetfulness is like a song That, freed from beat and measure, wanders. Forgetfulness is like a bird whose wings are reconciled. Outspread and motionless, – A bird that coasts the wind unwearyingly.   Forgetfulness is rain at night, Or an old house in a forest, – or a child. Forgetfulness is white, – white as a blasted tree, And it may stun the Sybil into prophecy, Or bury the Gods. I can remember much forgetfulness. This is the first Crane poem I read, found in an anthology. He committed suicide in 1932 at the age of 32, but that hasn’t stopped him being hailed as ‘influential’. His most ambitious work is The Bridge, an epic poem described as being similar to TW Eliot’s The Waste Land.   ‘The Complete Poems of Hart Crane’ by Hart Crane [Liveright]  Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:- ‘Cloughton Wyke I’ by John Wedgwood Clarke ‘Runaways’ by Daniela
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Categories: Book Love and Poetry.

Book review: Elizabeth is Missing

Can there be a more unreliable narrator than an 81-year old woman with dementia? Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey is a brilliant debut. Maud lives on her own, she has carers visiting, they leave prepared food for her and tell her not to use the cooker. But she does love toast. There is a rebelliousness about Maud which immediately made me connect with her. She reminded me of my mother, who suffered from dementia. I was impressed with the way Maud’s condition is portrayed, in convincing detail, slowly deteriorating as the story progresses. Maud writes herself notes, as memory prompts, and keeps them in her pockets and around the house. The note she re-reads most often is ‘Elizabeth is missing’. Elizabeth is Maud’s friend, and she is not at her house. The story has a cyclical motion as Maud finds the note, goes out to hunt for Elizabeth, and then is told by someone that Elisabeth is not missing, that she is fine. And then Maud finds the note again, and the cycle re-starts. Interwoven with Maud’s search for Elizabeth, is a narrative strand set in 1946 when she lives with her parents and lodger Douglas. People are displaced
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Categories: Book Love.