I received this digital ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Jessica Kingsley Publishers for choosing me to review Dear Dementia by Keith Oliver.
Dear Dementia Synopsis
The first in-depth memoir by a man with dementia.
Dear Dementia Book Details
Author: Kevin Oliver
Publication Date: 18th April 2019
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishing
Genre: Health, Mind & Body Non-Fiction
First Chapter Impressions
Reading the foreword and ‘Dear Reader”, I feel like this book is going to be emotional but needed. I think it will educate us on how someone will feel with early-onset dementia. I can tell that Keith is an emotionally strong person as he is confronting his fears without being emotionless.
It was interesting to discover that he was a teacher as it gave me something that I could relate to. I also can’t imagine how devastating it might be to have to leave your career due to a disease but I like that he still remains active within education. It reminds you that those with dementia haven’t always been that way. Most will have had normal lives until they got their diagnosis and maybe even for a while afterwards. It puts life into perspective.
He discusses his symptoms before his diagnosis, getting a diagnosis and life after the diagnosis. It is mostly matter of fact and he doesn’t delve too deeply into the emotions but it is still human. The most human aspects are his yearly ‘Dear Dementia’ letters that he writes to his disease. I really enjoyed reading these.
The more I read, the more bored I’m getting. He starts describing his days more and I’m not too interested. He doesn’t really talk about how it feels but is more just a matter-of-fact diary. I can imagine it would be nice to read if you are a matter-of-fact person who has just been diagnosed with dementia but for me, I prefer a more raw approach.
My Favourite Quotes
The letters…are designed to help confirm that I am not easily giving in to the clutches of the disease.
I can see strength and fear. Fear of the knowledge that this disease slowly takes you away from who you think you are, but a strength that he is going to try & do as much as possible while he can to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
Key influences in my decision making include wanting to lead and teach and not to judge; to nurture and not to criticise; to create and not dismantle; and to encourage and not demean in an environment over which I and similar-minded colleagues at least have some control over.
Not really relevant to the dementia aspect (this was leading up to his diagnosis), but it rings true with me as an educator. To always remember the real reason we went into teaching, to teach, nurture and encourage young minds.
I’ve decided to start reading more about dementia, because if that is what I’m contending with, I want to know more about it so that I’m better prepared, and better able to deal with what it throws at you.
I think this is important not just for dementia but for many things such as Mental Illness. Reading about it (both fiction & memoirs) can bring both education and comfort. The knowledge that you’re not alone & that there is always hope that it won’t be as bad as how you imagine it in your head.
Recommendation & Where to Find It
I would recommend this book those who have a family member with early-onset dementia or those who want to learn more about what it is like from someone who is actually going through it. I rated it 3/5 stars.
You can pre-order Dear Dementia here. It will be released on 18th April 2019.
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