We help raise awareness of dementia this World Alzheimer's Month with these 10 fiction books

Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide.

World Alzheimer's Month is a global opportunity to raise awareness around, educate, encourage support of and demystify dementia.

World Alzheimer's Day is an international campaign to raise awareness and highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia. It is an opportunity for people and organisations to demonstrate how we can overcome these issues and help people live well with dementia.

World Alzheimer’s Day takes place every year on 21 September. It is the focus of World Alzheimer's Month during the month of September. 

Alzheimer's Society has a full list of publications and resources that you can download or order here.

To support this work, and help raise awareness of dementia we have pulled together this small collection of fiction which feature characters with dementia.

Elizabeth is Missing

Elizabeth is Missing

Author: Emma Healey Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2015

Runner-up for the Betty Trask Award 2015. One of the Top 10 Lovereading Reader Review Panel Summer Read selections. Eighty-something Maud is getting forgetful and so writes notes to herself.  ‘Elizabeth is missing’ is one such note which Maud then becomes obsessed with for Elizabeth is indeed missing.  She tells her daughter, the police, anyone who will listen.  Maud is suffering from dementia which gets gradually worse throughout the book.  Her daughter has to eventually take her in … and still, for Maud at least, Elizabeth is missing.  For us, the reader too, only we do discover why.  Slowly we get Maud’s back story and a strange mystery about her sister and her very dodgy husband.  All becomes clear in a startling conclusion. The stages of dementia are thoroughly explored in a thoughtful, impressive manner.  A fascinating debut. ~ Sarah Broadhurst   Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015. Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2014.   The Costa Judges said Healey's book was “Utterly captivating and original.”   One of our Books of the Year 2014.    One of the Top 10 books in the Lovereading Readers’ Choice Book of the Year 2014.

Debut Books of the Month
Still Alice

Still Alice

Author: Lisa Genova Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/08/2012

When Alice finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease she is just fifty years old. A university professor, wife, and mother of three, she still has so much more to do - books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But when she can't remember how to make her famous Christmas pudding, when she gets lost in her own back yard, when she fails to recognise her actress daughter after a superb performance, she comes up with a desperate plan. But can she see it through? Should she see it through? Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short-term memory is hanging on by a couple of frayed threads. But she is still Alice.

eBooks of the Month
The Cookbook of Common Prayer

The Cookbook of Common Prayer

Author: Francesca Haig Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/06/2021

What a devastatingly honest - and brilliant - book this is. Its portrayal of grief and the absurdity of death - the bizarre, unfathomable fact that someone just isn’t there anymore - are simply incredible. Earth-shatteringly raw and resonant, it’s a book that will break your heart and heal it. Set in Tasmania and London, Gill and Gabe are thousands of miles from their son, Dougie, when they’re told he’s drowned in a caving accident in England. They rush to London, deciding to keep Dougie’s death from their daughter Sylvie, who’s seriously ill with anorexia, and leaving their adorable youngest child, Teddy in the care of a close friend and his equally adorable grandfather Papabee, who has dementia. In England, chef and food writer Gill can’t face viewing her son’s body, can’t face the fact of Dougie’s death and so she returns to Tasmania, keeping up the pretence that he’s still alive by writing letters from him to Sylvie - it becomes an obsession. In England, Gabe obsesses over every excruciating detail of Dougie’s death, both of them distracting themselves from the truth. In contrast, Teddy is working to uncover the truth of Sylvie’s illness, believing she’ll get well if he can work out when it began - his love and steadfast determination to save his sister are incredibly touching, and I cannot praise the authentic, tender representation of his relationship with granddad Papabee enough. Inseparable, they have their own “TeddyandPapabee” collective noun. Teddy also perfectly expresses brutal truths about death and grief with piercing honesty: “When Dougie went into that little box, I thought the main bit of his dying was finished. I was wrong. Nobody tells you that being dead just keeps on going… he’s dead every day.” Similarly, in her haunting monologues, Sylvie reveals brutal truths about her anorexia. Peppered with Gill’s heart-breaking recipes (Mediterranean vegetable soup for the day you land in England to collect your son’s body; Roast beetroot salad for the week after your son’s post-mortem results are released), the story reels and swerves to a truly edge-of-your-seat, hold-your-breath conclusion. While the family’s pain and grief always tangible, the buds of healing are too. What a book.

Books of the Month
The Songaminute Man

The Songaminute Man

Author: Simon McDermott Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2018

April 2018 Book of the Month  The nostalgic memoir of a young man, eldest of fourteen, growing up in 40s Wednesbury. The heartbreaking true account of his son struggling to come to terms with his father's dementia. A tribute to the unbreakable bond between father and son.   'At once a touching tribute to a beloved music-loving dad with Alzheimer’s and a poignant portrait of the love between a father and son, this written-from-the-heart memoir will warm the soul, and undoubtedly further the author’s magnificent endeavour to raise awareness of this devastating disease. Simon McDermott’s cherished dad, Ted, was born in the Black Country in 1936 and always loved singing. In his early twenties, following National Service, Ted seized an opportunity to air his voice publicly by becoming an announcer for Walsall Football Club, which provided him with plenty of opportunities to entertain the crowd, while coming up with ideas to draw more women to matches. Also enjoying stints as a Butlin’s redcoat and singing in clubs up and down the country, Ted never lost his love of music - not after settling down and working in a factory, and not after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. In fact, as Simon discovered during drives to calm his dad’s angry outbursts, singing has the power to bring back the old Ted. And so Simon posted a clip of his dad, the clip went viral and now, one single and full-length album later, Simon and Ted have raised over £150,000 for The Alzheimer’s Society. Peppered with moving and amusing family anecdotes from all stages of Ted’s life, and suffused in love and light through even the most harrowing moments, this heart-wrenchingly honest memoir is powerfully compelling, and should offer succour to others in similar situations.' 

eBooks of the Month
Love and Care

Love and Care

Author: Shaun Deeney Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/05/2021

For centuries much has been written about a mother’s love for her son, fewer words have been dedicated to the reverse. When his controlling elderly father becomes a danger to his aged mother, Shaun Deeney takes the decision to place his mother in a charming care home. Later, following his father’s sudden death, he takes the unusual decision to remove her from the care home and to provide for her himself, in the family home, with the assistance of paid-for carers. So unheard of is this, the care home themselves have never heard of anyone doing it before and no-one even knows what forms are required. The softly spoken truth is that residents rarely leave such places until their final journey. What follows is an endearingly candid account of Denney facing down his doubts, and those of others, to provide the very best care for his Mother. In so doing he rediscovers the Mother he loves but hardly knows and forgoes his ‘new-found freedom’ as a divorcee to embrace his role as a dutiful caring son. With diversions into his daughter-assisted forays into internet dating, and his quest for love and a relationship, Deeney writes with engaging honesty and humour on the mistakes and triumphs of his decisions and explores the power of forgiveness, tolerance and understanding in this affecting account of what it means to be a son, a father and a man who faces up to the responsibilities of all three.  His generosity of spirit in sharing the truth of his experience makes this a highly readable tale of redemption and a celebration of love’s many hues. The LoveReading LitFest invited Shaun Deeney to the festival to talk about Love & Care. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Shaun in conversation with Paul Blezard and find out why everyone should read this book. Check out a preview of the event here.

Taking Flight

Taking Flight

Author: JT Torres Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

A gorgeously simple yet heartbreakingly complex debut that strays into magic realism and explores the meaning of family. Tito and his grandmother probe the magic of family bonds, as they grow older, their struggle to keep loved ones close takes its toll. Fairlight Moderns are little gems of books, small and compact, beautiful inside and out, each story packs a punch. J T Torres writes with a compassionate and thoughtful yet penetrating and provocative pen. A chain reaction of emotions ran through me as I joined Tito and his Nana and echoes of Cuba slid into Florida and Alaska. It feels as though the magic of Taking Flight will release a totally different experience to each person who steps between the pages. While readers always take a part of themselves into a book, here that piece of me stayed within it. With a devastating delicacy, Taking Flight delves into the intricate complexities of family, migration, and mental health and has been chosen as one of our Debuts of the Month.

Debut Books of the Month
Toffee

Toffee

Author: Sarah Crossan Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2020

Another insightful and compassionate free verse novel from the queen of this increasingly admired form, this time exploring the transformative relationship between an abused runaway teenager and an elderly lady with dementia. Allison has grown up “stepping on eggshells” to circumvent her father’s violence. While she often wonders whether his behaviour was “all my fault”, one of his outbursts compels her to run away. With nowhere to go, she finds sanctuary in the house of an elderly woman called Marla. Marla has dementia and thinks Allison is Toffee, her best friend from childhood. After spending some time in Marla’s company, Allison decides to “stop correcting her… I like the idea of being sweet and hard, a girl with a name for people to chew on.” Moreover, in meeting Marla, Allison has found an unlikely kindred spirit: “I am not who I say I am. Marla isn’t who she thinks she is… Here, in this house, I am so much happier than I have ever been”. Returning the favour, Allison enriches Marla’s life – she listens, she indulges Marla’s desire to dance - while Marla’s carer and son show no real regard for her happiness, as if she’s beyond life, which makes Allison’s attentiveness all the more heart warming. Both vulnerable, they find strength through each other. With incredibly moving insight, Marla says of Allison’s dad, “none of it was about you. It was about him. It’s always about him. Surely you know that.” The writing is compellingly fluid, flowing freely between Allison’s precarious present and the tragic, abusive circumstances that sent her careering down this path. While fleeting, the impact of their time together is monumental, and I felt privileged to have spent time in their company.

Books of the Month
We Are Not Ourselves

We Are Not Ourselves

Author: Matthew Thomas Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2015

The life of Eileen Tumulty from 1951 to 2011, starting when she is 9 and from her point of view. In her mid-forties her son Connell becomes a teenager and we see how he feels too. Round the middle of this 620-page book Eileen’s 51-year old husband, Ed, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and from then on the disease seizes control of the story. Financial difficulties arise as he has to give up work and extra help is needed in the house. As Ed’s health declines so Connell’s story grows. Dividing into two parts, post and pre-diagnosis, this initially paints Eileen as a very self-centred, materialistic person, later we admire her compassion, tenacity and strength of character. An excellent reading group book for it will provoke much debate on Alzheimer’s, a patient’s decline and the financial impact on relatives.

eBooks of the Month
Grandpa's Great Escape

Grandpa's Great Escape

Author: David Walliams Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/02/2017

The hotly-anticipated next novel from NUMBER ONE bestselling author, David Walliams Jack's Grandpa...*wears his slippers to the supermarket *serves up Spam a la Custard for dinner *and often doesn't remember Jack's name But he can still take to the skies in a speeding Spitfire and save the day...An exquisite portrait of the bond between a small boy and his beloved Grandpa - this book takes readers on an incredible journey with Spitfires over London and Great Escapes through the city in a high octane adventure full of comedy and heart. Illustrated by the award-winning Tony Ross.

eBooks of the Month
How Not to Disappear

How Not to Disappear

Author: Clare Furniss Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/07/2016

August 2016 NewGen Book of the Month. Hattie’s life changes forever when she meets the great aunt she never knew she had. Gloria by name, and glorious by nature, this headstrong former actress, who likes a gin sling (or three), is in the early stages of dementia. “Memories are what make us who we are,” Gloria remarks. “Without them we are nobody,” and so she and Hattie embark on an emotional road-trip, retracing significant paths from Gloria’s past. While Gloria battles memory loss and the turmoil that comes from disturbing one’s ghosts, Hattie has her own problems. She’s pregnant by her close friend Reuben. She hasn’t told him, and he’s just got together with a new “hot” French girlfriend… As Gloria relives and reveals the heartache around own experience of motherhood, there’s a strong sense of time running out for them both. Gloria doesn’t know how long she’ll have her memories, while Hattie has to make a decision about her pregnancy. “You can't be scared of regret,” Gloria advises. “All you can do is make the choice that seems right at the time." And that’s what Hattie does, as Gloria did before her.This is a beautiful, bittersweet story about family bonds, the cycle of life and love in all its forms. ~ Joanne Owen   Publisher Passion Piece: Non Pratt's Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss' remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.  

Books of the Month

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