One Puzzling Afternoon

From Fictionophile:

Memories can sustain us, or alternately they can injure our psyche to such an extent that we can bury them deep. Such was the case with Edie Green. At the tender age of sixteen Edie’s friend goes missing. Edie knows what happened, yet she cannot divulge the circumstances. She MUST keep Lucy’s secret.

Now, Edie is eighty-two and suffering from the early stages of dementia. She is frustrated daily by the loss of her memories and laments her loss of independence. A former English teacher, Edie now forgets how to spell certain words – even forgets the words for everyday objects. Her son, daughter-in-law, and beloved granddaughter want her to move with them to Devon where she will live in a ‘granny annex’. Edie doesn’t want to leave the town where she grew up and the house where she has spent her entire married life. Now widowed and alone, Edie’s grasp on everyday routines is slipping. One day she ‘sees’ her friend Lucy in town. Lucy has not aged at all… Edie’s mind is playing tricks. It is this sighting that spurs Edie to try to discover what happened to Lucy all those years ago. Does she know? Has her mind hidden the truth from her all this time?

Written in dual timelines, this novel was poignant and I felt for Edie’s plight. Her tenuous grasp on her memories, and her confusion about how her life is playing out, seemed very real. Let’s face it, we all know of someone who is suffering from this terrible disease and it is an eye-opener to experience it from the perspective of one who is coping with it from the ‘inside’ as it were.

It was interesting to note just what can spur memories to return. A certain smell? A word? A taste?

In the 1950s timeline, we come to realize that Edie’s early life was traumatic. She lost her beloved father in a drowning accident right after the war. Her mother was eccentric, had a history of mental illness, and had aspirations of a higher social class. Meanwhile she held seances as a way of earning some much needed income. Then, Edie’s mother remarried. Reg, Edie’s new step-father, was an odious man.

Link to the rest at Fictionophile