Emma Healey tells the poignant story of a woman in her 80's struggling with dementia and being unable to care for herself any longer. Healey uses the first person narrative of the main character, Maude, as she struggles with her reality and how to communicate with her family. The story alternates between Maude's life now as she is thinking her best friend is missing and Maude's life in 1946 when her sister actually went missing. Unable to differentiate between what is currently happening and what are her memories, Maude has difficulty communicating with her family in what she ultimately knows and what she doesn't understand.
Most writers take on Alzheimer's and dementia from the caretaker's perspective. Miss Healey skillfully shows the devastating and heart-rendering effects of dealing with dementia from the first person perspective. This novel, at points, were difficult to read, because the main character and her struggle is written well. Miss Healey is able to show Maude deftly in both incoherent moments as well as in very lucid moments, showing her personality and her true reactions when people do not take her seriously or mock. Secondary characters were also smartly written, which helps keep the story moving and believable.
Definitely a book worth reading.