(Review) The Day We Met
The Day We Met by Rowan Coleman
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Genre: Adult Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 Stars
The name of your first-born. The face of your lover. Your age. Your address…
What would happen if your memory of these began to fade?
Is it possible to rebuild your life? Raise a family? Fall in love again?
When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. In her mid-40s, Claire is scared and increasingly confused by the world around her, struggling to hold onto her identity as thoughts of her mother, her daughters, and her husband grow fuzzier every day. Fearing what will happen if those memories fade altogether, her family’s gift of a red sketchpad is her most treasured possession. As they fill it with scenes from a joyous life lived together, Claire again experiences the ecstatic highs and terrible lows of a life well lived: full of heartbreak and love, tears and laughter.
I almost hate it when books come with the tagline of "If you like _____ then you'll love this book!" and I'm always disappointed when the book is nothing like the book they've compared it to. This book was compared to the like of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. A little background about THAT particular book: it left me in the fetal position when it was over.
So, The Day We Met is mostly from Claire's point of view. We meet her after she's already been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and she's already begun to forget things. Some of the time it's difficult to read her point of view because her thinking shifts so much, but also because knowing that she used to have feelings about her husband and seeing how much she loves her children is sad.
Claire's husband Greg gives her a memory book to fill out for when she starts to lose more of herself and some of the memories are written by Claire, her mother, and Greg. Each of their relationships is strained because of Claire's illness. Claire is at war with her mother who only wants to keep her safe, and can't remember that she loves her husband.
When Ryan enters the picture it almost made me angry at Claire even though she was having a difficult time and having someone in her life that didn't know everything about her seemed to be good for her. I liked this part of the storyline, even though it felt a little unrealistic in the end.
I do love the way the relationships grow and change in this one, and I especially liked to see how Caitlin's story played out. She and her grandmother, Ruth, are really the glue that holds the family together during everything that's going on.
As far as I could tell the ending was a happy one, even though we don't really know Claire's fate. I don't personally know anyone with Alzheimer's, nor have I ever been in this situation that Claire and her family were in, but I think that this book was done well given the content.
This was a really great story with a lot of family dynamics. (And, yeah, it made me cry.)