This book began as an attempt to hold on to my witty, storytelling mother with the one thing I had to hand. Words. Then, as the enormity of the social crisis my family was part of began to dawn, I wrote with the thought that other forgotten lives might be nudged into the light along with hers.
Dementia is one of the greatest social, medical, economic, scientific, philosophical, and moral challenges of our times. I am a reporter. It became the biggest story of my life. (Sally Magnusson)
Regarded as one of the finest journalists of her generation, Mamie Baird Magnusson's whole life was a celebration of words - words that she fought to retain in the grip of a disease which is fast becoming the scourge of the 21st century. Married to writer and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson, they had five children of whom Sally is the eldest.
As well as chronicling the anguish, the frustrations and the unexpected laughs and joys that she and her sisters experienced while accompanying their beloved mother on the long dementia road for eight years until her death in 2012, Sally Magnusson seeks understanding from a range of experts and asks penetrating questions about how we treat older people; how we can face one of the greatest social, medical, economic, and moral challenges of our times; and what it means to be human.
An extraordinary and deeply personal memoir, a manifesto and a call to arms, in one searingly beautiful narrative.
©2014 Sally Magnusson (P)2014 John Murray Press
"Touching... There are many moments of heartwarming sentiment. Literary snowdrops grow out of the barren earth.... This book is the constant, tenuous, but vital reconnection between a child and its mother.... A fine book." (The Sunday Times)
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"Very much appreciated."
I am sure the book is just as good.
Hard to pick - so many.
Knowing it was the author narrating such a personal story made it more compelling and enjoyable.
As our family is on the same journey - it did both ... and more.
Very helpful story and resource for those families on the same journey. Thank you Sally.
"Compassionate, dispassionate and groundbreaking"
Yes, to consider some of the philosophical issues raised about the nature of being and the role of memory in defining a person.
The love, warmth and intelligence.
I listened to an Audible version of this book, narrated by Sally Magnusson. In addition to enjoying her excellent narration, I admire her courage in reading this deeply affecting and personal account.
Dementia is a difficult and poorly understood subject, but one increasingly likely to touch many of us one way or another. Sally Magnusson's account is a touching tribute to her vibrant and vivacious mother whose descent into this disease is meticulously recorded. It's heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking but filled with warmth, insight and humour. The narrative flows seamlessly back and forth between time and people, with a richly detailed look at both her mother and father, the family background and relationships. We learn a great deal about Scottish and Icelandic influences and Maimie Magnusson's skill with words. I was unaware of her journalistic background and she was clearly held in high regard by press magnates in her early career. Her love of language appears to be something that remained with her, even during darker moments when other parts of her mind had unravelled. Those moments often provided humour but also insight into the person a d her probable awareness. A fitting and memorable tribute to a remarkable lady.
Sally Magnusson's research is extensive. The narrative is filled with fact and figures. Much of it is stark food for thought. But she also raises some challenging philosophical questions about the essence of being; the role of memory and the extent to which it defines 'being'. For that alone, I'm recommending it to everyone. It's a truly remarkable narrative.
"It made me cry"
Combination of genuine honest emotion and we'll researched facts
The insight into the family relationships and the beautiful narration by Sally Magnusson
The description of family togetherness and mutual support at the time of Magnus's illness
It was both beautiful and heartbreaking. A real triumph to so sensitively capture the essence of Mamie through the dramatic and frightening changes. Sally your mum would be proud !
"Heart warming and breaking"
This was a wonderfully entertaining and yet heart breaking story of Mamie Magnusson's struggle with dementia. It is beautifully written and read and has inspired me in so many ways. It is well worth listening to
"A Story of Love"
This story of a wonderfully bright and intelligent Mother read beautifully by her daughter could show so many people in the Healthcare profession and outside how precious life is even when a loved one has become almost unrecognisable. Memories of music and songs can keep those threads alive almost to the last when every other contact seems to be lost. Please read this book to be reassured how strong a force love is.
"Very personal and engaging but overly long"
I learned a bit more about dementia generally and it was very interesting and moving to understand the impact on the author, her mum and the wider family. Overall engaging and Sally is a lovely narrator, However this is very much a memoir and one I personally found overly long and as a memoir only marginally interesting.
The ending was understood and no surprises.
I haven't listened to any others.
On balance yes I would say it was.
"Moving Interesting Terrifying"
It was not enjoyable but it was interesting.
The book tells the story of a loved mother's gradual decline into dementia over 8 years. She has 4 children, a sister and grown grandchildren to look after her at home. They are wonderful but they found it exhausting and stressful as they tried to share her care. The change to her personality is distressing especially the anger that develops toward her twin sister. Eventually she fails to recognise her children and grandchildren.
I found the whole thing terrifying. The lack of care and understanding by nurses and doctors, the lack of good home care workers, the standard of care in some care homes. Scary. It made me want to make sure it never happens to me or my loved ones. To be honest it made me feel depressed. Maybe because I am nearly 70.
"Sensitive and thought provoking"
Fascinating insight written so honestly. Couldn't stop listening, compelling insights and at times scarily honest facts about the lack of care in dementia services. Amazing family, amazing work.
"a tragic account of a loved one crumbling"
My mother is also on this journey and I found this tale all too familiar. So much so, I could not finish the book. If you have no experience of dementia this will show you how it progresses with all the dead ends and wishful thinking involved. If you are at the start of a similar journey it will hopefully help you navigate.
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