Somebody I Used to Know (Paperback)Wendy Mitchell (author)
Mitchell's powerful memoir about being diagnosed and living with dementia is an unflinching personal journey, a moving love-letter to lost identity and a triumphantly hopeful assertion of what remains.
A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
Brave, illuminating and inspiring, Somebody I Used to Know is the first memoir ever written by someone living with dementia.
What do you lose when you lose your memories? What do you value when this loss reframes how you've lived, and how you will live in the future? How do you conceive of love when you can no longer recognise those who are supposed to mean the most to you?
When she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of fifty-eight, Wendy Mitchell was confronted with the most profound questions about life and identity. All at once, she had to say goodbye to the woman she used to be. Her demanding career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run - the various shades of her independence - were suddenly gone.
Philosophical, profoundly moving, insightful and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know gets to the very heart of what it means to be human. A phenomenal memoir - the first of its kind - it is both a heart-rending tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a courageous acceptance of the woman dementia has seen her become.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 224 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
The world could do with more Wendy Mitchells ... This is a book from which we can all learn - Jackie Annesley, Sunday Times
With humour, truth and grace, this book [gives] a unique insight into what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s - Spectator
Remarkable ... Mitchell gives such clear-eyed insight that anyone who knows a person living with dementia should read this book - Siobhan Murphy, The Times
A landmark book - Financial Times
Revelatory - Guardian
Usually the experience of someone living with dementia is lost; known only partially even to their loved ones. The miracle of this work is that it managed to capture the experience, and hold it up for the rest of us to see - Telegraph
A lucid, candid and gallant portrayal of what the early stages of dementia feel like ... This memoir, with its humour and its sense of resilience, demonstrates how the diagnosis of dementia is not a clear line that a person crosses; they are no different than they were the day before - Nicci Gerrard, Observer
I am so impressed with Wendy Mitchell’s attitude and ability to explain her experience - she is both an inspiration and a guide. I think this book will be extremely helpful to people who are trying to come to terms with dementia, in their own lives, or the lives of their family and friends - Michael Palin
How does it feel to start to lose your memories, your identity? Mitchell, who discovered at the age of 58 that she had early-onset dementia, tells us in this remarkable book - Summer Reads, Mail on Sunday
Fluent, lucid and illuminating ... The difficulties are clearly daunting and distressing, the future unpredictable and frightening. Yet Mitchell’s sparkling book is hugely positive and uplifting. It should be required reading for all health professionals and anyone touched by dementia - Literary Review
An absolutely compelling account of life with dementia ... A testimony to human spirit and ingenuity - Jan R Oyebode, Professor of Dementia Care, University of Bradford
A remarkable memoir – remorselessly honest yet with more mirth than misery. Though she is fully aware that her story will not end well, the author describes vividly how she works around her growing mental disability with the help of family and friends - Summer Books of 2018, Financial Times
An extraordinary book about a little-understood disease. Awe-inspiring, courageous and insightful. I would recommend it to everyone - Rosie Boycott, writer and activist
Nothing is more frightening than dementia, says Wendy - and yet, every day, she chooses to face her fears head on. By sharing her story Wendy challenges assumptions and ignorance about dementia. Read this amazing book. It will change a lot of people’s minds about what it means to have the disease - Professor Pat Sikes, University of Sheffield
A brave and illuminating journey inside the mind, heart, and life of young-onset Alzheimer's disease - Lisa Genova, neuroscientist and author of 'Still Alice'
This is an eloquent and poignant book. Those of us who have gone on the heartbreaking journey of losing a loved one to dementia have wondered what they were feeling. Wendy Mitchell's courageous and unflinching account lets us know - Patti Davis, author of 'The Long Goodbye'
In Somebody I Used to Know [Mitchell] describes life after her diagnosis – one that, despite looming loss, remains full of purpose - Radio Times
The only memoir of Alzheimer’s disease written by someone suffering from the illness. Wendy Mitchell describes what it’s like to begin to forget who you are. Heartbreaking stuff - Love It!
Extraordinary … [Mitchell] decided to chronicle her experiences of living with dementia to show others what it really feels like and the result is a rare and moving memoir about losing memories, no longer recognising people you love, and saying goodbye to her career and independence. It also energetically and vividly affirms the reality of the new woman that Mitchell has had to become - Radio Choice, Book of the Week, Daily Telegraph
Remarkable … Frank, angry, practical and, just occasionally, funny - Gillian Reynolds, Sunday Times
Fascinating and groundbreaking … Her urgent present tense articulation of her day-to-day struggles, set against fragmented memories of the woman she used to be, is so close to the bone that it’s chilling. At the same time, however, it’s also an amazing testament to Mitchell’s tenacity, an account of how she’s developed coping mechanisms to continue living as independent a life for as long as possible - National
Astonishingly acute … For all the honest rage, Mitchell has written a remarkably hopeful book. Her mission is to remind readers that people can live with dementia as well as suffer from it … Mitchell is a mine of practical tips … Making this book is both a testament to the author’s intense will to live, and also a living will - Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph
[Mitchell’s] amazing memoir is a real insight into what living with dementia is really like. It’s very poignant and beautifully written - Woman's Weekly
One of the bestselling new books this year is Somebody I Used to Know, Wendy Mitchell’s assiduous account of her early onset dementia … In the same way that people seek out cancer chronicles in the hope that they might prove instructive, so Mitchell’s has resonated for similar reasons: the longer we live, the more likely dementia becomes. We read to see how others cope in the hope that, if our time comes, we might cope, too - Nick Duerden, Guardian
Astonishingly acute - Summer Reads, Daily Telegraph
Wendy Mitchell’s Somebody I Used to Know was not only sad, but also should be required reading by all professional carers, and especially by doctors and medical staff. Who better to help us understand dementia than the person themselves, as demonstrated by Wendy Mitchell in her brave account of her experience of living with the illness - Radio Times
An unusual memoir … Life is tough when your memory is going and you are having hallucinations. Brave woman - Summer Books, The Times
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