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 brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.
About the Author
Wendy Mitchell spent twenty years as a non-clinical team leader in the NHS before being diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia in July 2014 at the age of fifty-eight. Shocked by the lack of awareness about the disease, both in the community and in hospitals, she vowed to spend her time raising awareness about dementia and encouraging others to see there is life after a diagnosis. She is now an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society. She has two daughters and lives in Yorkshire.
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 *
Remarkable ... Mitchell gives such clear-eyed insight that anyone who knows a person living with dementia should read this book -- Siobhan Murphy * The Times *
The world could do with more Wendy Mitchells ... This is a book from which we can all learn -- Jackie Annesley * Sunday Times *
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 *
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'
With humour, truth and grace, this book [gives] a unique insight into what it's like to live with Alzheimer's * Spectator *
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
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
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
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'