Book Review

Where Memories Go

Sally Magnusson


Sad and funny, wise and honest, Where Memories Go is a deeply intimate account of insidious losses and unexpected joys in the terrible face of dementia, and a call to arms that challenges us all to think differently about how we care for our loved ones when they need us most. (Amazon)

Reviewed by

Note: the group decided numerical scores were not appropriate to their group discussion so no score was attached; 3 has been added to avoid a zero rating.

Not all the group read the book as they found the subject matter too close to home. Of those that did all agreed that it was well written and interesting and informative. the subject matter is the decline, care of and inevitable death from dementia of the author’s mother.

The book relates the family history, her father was Magnus Magnusson, her parents’ marriage and family life, close and happy, and then her mother’s illness and decline. Also included is the scientific research into Alzheimer’s, some of the group found this labourious, others interesting and the provision of care – in many instances woeful. There is also debate about the nature of memory and self which draws on literary quotes and extracts. Sally obviously researched her book well. The factual parts of the book are objective and fascinating but the personal as her mother’s illness progresses are emotional and a more difficult read. Dementia is on the increase and as the population ages will affect more families. This book considers how society can, and should, provide loving, compassionate care for the sufferers and the carers especially as not all have children, who can and will or money to support care within the family home. Research has shown that music is a powerful resource to sooth and calm and Sally has founded a charity to support its provision.

Not a book to enjoy in the traditional sense but one which the group who read it found worthwhile for its insight into and its effect on the individual and their family.