Dementia Booklist

True Stories

Julia Kelly – Matchstick man

Julia and artist Charlie Whisker’s relationship was passionate and extraordinary. Their friends were writers, artists and rock stars; they lived a glamorous life of exhibitions, parties and concerts and became parents to an adored daughter.  But Charlie suddenly changed, becoming forgetful, angry and confused. This is an unbearably honest, unsentimental and heartbreaking description of a brilliant man's mental disintegration and its effects on his family. 

Robyn Hollingworth – My mad dad

Heartbreaking and darkly comic moments litter the messy road from cared-for to carer, a journey that Robyn finds herself on when she's only 25 years old. Leaving London to return home to rural South Wales, Robyn finds that it's her old life but so much has changed.  Her dad, the proud, charmingly intelligent, self-made man who made people laugh, was in the grip of early onset Alzheimer's. His brilliant mind, which saw him building power stations and literally bringing light into the lives of others, had succumbed to darkness.

Simon McDermott – The Songaminute man

The nostalgic memoir of a young man, eldest of 14, growing up in 40s Wolverhampton. The heartbreaking true account of his son struggling to come to terms with his father's dementia and a tribute to the unbreakable bond between father and son. As Ted retreated into his own world, Simon and his mum Linda desperately tried to reach him until at last: an idea.  Simon hit play on Ted's favourite song 'Quando Quando Quando'. 

Wendy Mitchell – Somebody I used to know

When Wendy Mitchell was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 58, she had to say goodbye to the woman she once was. Her career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run - the various shades of her independence - were suddenly gone. Yet Wendy was determined not to give in. She was, and still is, propelled by a need to live in the moment, never knowing which version of herself might surface tomorrow. In this phenomenal memoir, Wendy grapples with questions most of us have never had to consider. 

Tony Husband – Take care, son

When Ron Husband started to forget things - dates, names, appointments - daft things, important things - it took a while to realise that this was 'a different form of forgetting'. But it was the first sign of the illness that gradually took him away from the family he loved.  This is the touching, illustrated story of cartoonist Tony's father and how dementia slowly took him away from his family.

Chris Graham – Five minutes of amazing

Having lived through a troubled childhood, Chris joined the British Army at a young age and found that the life of a soldier provided him with a much-needed sense of stability. However, his world was turned upside down when, at just 34 he was diagnosed with a form of early onset dementia.  

Arno Geiger – The old king and his exile

When his father - who was never an easy man to know - develops Alzheimer's. Arno Geiger must finally get to know him: a man happy to never leave his village in the Austrian Alps. Geiger's growing understanding that his father's character hasn't been vanquished by Alzheimer's will offer solace and insight to anyone coping with a loved one's aging.

Adult Fiction

Emma Healey – Elizabeth is missing

'Elizabeth is missing', reads the note in Maud's pocket in her own handwriting. Lately, Maud's been getting forgetful. She keeps buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she's made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.

Lisa Genova – Still Alice

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. A Harvard professor, she has a successful husband and three grown children. She soon finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease. Her short-term memory may be hanging on by a couple of frayed threads, but she is still Alice.

Teenage Fiction

Lara Avery – The Memory book

Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she's going to win the national debating championship, then she's going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer. But when Sam discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, Sam sets out on a summer of firsts.

Clare Furniss - How not to disappear

Hattie's summer isn't going as planned – she’s stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum's wedding. Oh, and she's also just discovered that she's pregnant. Then Gloria, Hattie's great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria's fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery.

Children’s Fiction & Picture Books

Matthew Snyman – The dementia diaries

Brie, Fred, Sarah, and Sam tell you what it's really like to care for a relative who has dementia. Funny, moving and honest, their illustrated diary entries will completely alter your understanding of dementia.

Jessica Shepherd – Grandma

More and more children are encountering dementia and its effects on their families. This touching picture book, told in Oscar's own words, is a positive and practical tale about the experience.

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