I’ll be honest with you. Books about Alzheimer’s are not top of my list. Which is stupid, because it’s not as if the topic makes them all the same. Some will be good, others might not be. This one – The Memory Cage – by Ruth Eastham is absolutely fantastic.
Sometimes I suspect that the brownie points you hope to get by tagging a book with a certain topic could backfire. I will most likely still avoid Alzheimer’s books. I won’t expect the next one to be as fascinating and funny as Ruth’s.
Grandad is trying to kill the family, if only by being so lost that he doesn’t always know what he is doing. He’s doing it for the best. But it means that Alex’s mum and dad are about to put Grandad in a home, against his wishes.
Alex desperately wants to help the old man to remember and to help him stay at home. But Grandad has a lot of painful memories, many of them very well hidden indeed. It doesn’t help that Alex has some of his own, having been adopted from Bosnia when he was younger.
Both of them have been to war, and there are brothers everywhere. Brothers matter. Love them, fight with them, miss them. This is a family with plenty of hidden skeletons. The whole village is full of wartime skeletons, and not just in the graveyard.
There is so much love here. Hate too. But Alex realises he needs to make a scrapbook for Grandad to help him remember who he is. Who Alex is, even. And sometimes it’s not best to let sleeping dogs lie.
At this rate I will have to create my own memory scrapbook. Just to keep me going. We all have skeletons of some kind. But more than that, we have lots of good things to remember, too. And plain ordinary memories.
This is a wonderful story!