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Remind Me Who I Am, Again [Paperback]

Linda Grant
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Remind Me Who I am, Again Remind Me Who I am, Again 4.4 out of 5 stars (14)
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Book Description

30 Mar 1999
In "Remind Me Who I Am, Again, " Linda Grant tells the story of her mother's gradual but devastating mental deterioration, her diagnosis as a victim of Alzheimer's disease, and her family's struggle to come to terms with the catastrophic impact of the disease. Iimmensely moving, at times darkly comic, and searingly honest, it combines biography and memoir in a unique examination of the profound questions of identity, memory, and autonomy that dementia raises.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (30 Mar 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862072442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862072442
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 612,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Linda Grant was born in Liverpool on 15 February 1951, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. She was educated at the Belvedere School (GDST), read English at the University of York, completed an M.A. in English at MacMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario and did further post-graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, where she lived from 1977 to 1984.

Her first book, Sexing the Millennium: A Political History of the Sexual Revolution was published in 1993. Her first novel, The Cast Iron Shore, published in 1996, won the David Higham First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Remind Me Who I am Again, an account of her mother's decline into dementia and the role that memory plays in creating family history, was published in 1998 and won the MIND/Allen Lane Book of the Year award and the Age Concern Book of the Year award. Her second novel, When I Lived in Modern Times, set in Tel Aviv in the last years of the British Mandate, published in March 2000, won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize and the Encore Prize. Her novel, Still Here, published in 2002, was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her non-fiction work, The People On The Street: A Writer's View of Israel, published in 2006, won the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage. Her Booker Prize shortlisted novel, The Clothes On Their Backs, was published in February 2008. Linda's most recent book, The Thoughful Dresser was published in March 2009.

She has written a radio play, Paul and Yolande, which was broadcast on Radio 4 in October 2006, and a short story, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, part of a week of stories by Liverpool writers commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Beatles, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, broadcast in July 2007.

She has also contributed to various collections of essays. Her work is translated into French, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Czech, Russian, Polish, Turkish and Chinese.


The Clothes On Their Backs Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008
Winner South Bank Show Award

The People on the Street:
A Writer's View of Israel Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage

When I Lived in Modern Times Winner, Orange Prize for Fiction 2000

Shorlisted: Jewish Quarterly Prize

Encore Prize

Remind Me Who I Am, Again Mind Book of the Year 1999

Age Concern Book of the Year 1999

The Cast Iron Shore David Higham First Novel Prize

Shortlisted Guardian Fiction Prize

Product Description

About the Author

Linda Grant was born in Liverpool on 15 February 1951, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. She is the author of several works of non-fiction and four novels, including When I Lived in Modern Times (Granta) which won the 2000 Orange Prize for fiction. She lives in North London. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
My mother and I are going shopping, as we have done all our lives. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memory as Bereavement 26 Feb 2004
This is a beautifully written book, exploring the consequences of loss - the gradual loss of memory because of illness, the loss of time, of the past, of meaning. Linda Grant's mother had a particular form of dementia - Multi-Infarct Dementia - but this is a book which will have a meaning for anyone touched by Alzheimer's.
This is an exercise in archaeology - in taking people for granted, in wanting to be a teenager, to become an adult in your own right, to escape from your parents. It's only when you lose them you begin to ask the questions you wish had recognised while they were around. Roots. Identity. Where did the family come from, what was their history, how did they cope, how did they live?
Linda Grant's family were immigrants, fleeing from oppression in 19th century Europe. They reached England by accident or design, some on forged documents. They changed their names. Those who remained behind were consumed by the Holocaust. By the time Linda Grant began speculating on her roots, only her mother was left ... and her mother's memories were colander secure ... they were leaking away.
It is a sense of loss to which I can relate: I'm illegitimate; I lost half my roots before I was born. My mother died suddenly - no wasting disease for her. But I'd never talked to her, asked her the sorts of questions I wish I had. How many of us do ask the questions? How many of us do take the time to inquire, to treat our parents' and grandparents' lives and histories as significant?
Linda Grant, and countless thousands of others, have to endure watching a loved one ebb away. It's as if they fade, become invisible.
This is a book on which you can hang your heart and emotions. It is never clawingly sentimental. It does not explore the practicalities of coping.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Why is this book such a success? whether one is interested in dementia or not, families and this one in particular, there is something right about this book. So seemingly effortless is it's fluency, it's grasp of detail, that the impression given is not so much of partial human artifact and all the artifices associated with it, but of self-authentication and integrity. there is little or no ingratiating embellishment so easy when matters of deep emotion are being dealt with.
Scenes recalling the homes for the elderly, old childhood haunts, childhood routes through cities, all these, just ARE, manifest in the present tense of her writing.
No rancour or bitterness for the way things are with an ill and difficult mother, but a calm recognition of our own histories as determining ourselves, the rotten bits included.
Never have i read a book so calm, yet so full of lively recall not shamefully damaging nor confessional and there are enough of those sorts of books. a truely fascinating retelling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 12 May 2010
This book is a fantastic read - I had already started reading a library edition when I realised that this is one of those books that I wanted to be able to share with others and to hold on to for years to come. So much is contained within the book that is relevant to our own lives - but is also an interesting and honest portrayal of the author's experiences. Well worth reading for anyone who has a family member with dementia and/or mental health issues and to know that you are not alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chink of light in a dark journey 5 Feb 2010
I found this really helpful as I was struggling with understanding the state of mind of a close relation. It doesn't give any answers, only insights, but helps one to realise that the changes in a loved one are not personal and idiosyncratic but are recognisable symptoms of a medical condition. Well written and very readable
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, heart-rending account a must-read 5 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This is the best book I've read in years. It deals with the descent of Grant's mother into the oblivion that is dementia, and the nightmare that is getting her rehoused. Moreover, it is a savage indictment of the Grant family's re-invention and bid to escape from its Jewish roots. This is a woman who knows "mental illness" at first hand, and boy, does she compel the reader. Had me screaming with laughter and shedding tears galore. GET IT.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly depressing book by a brilliant writer 25 Aug 2002
Linda Grant is a fine author and, I think, a brilliant writer, but, unlike other reviewers, I did find this book mildly depressing - perhaps because there was no happy outcome for any of the figures in the book - indeed no happy outcome would be possible.
Grant's confusion about the veracity of her past - were the stories, handed down oral traditions, about the various members of her family and incidents of her childhood - true? - interpretations according to the teller? - utterly fabricated? was an interesting angle which must chime with many of us - how can we ever know the truth of much of what we are told about our background and childhood, especially when, as in Grant's case, there is an almost pathological need in her mother to present things in the most acceptable (to herself) light and not "tell everyone our business".
I empathised with Grant's anger and frustration with the Social Services and their appalling 'Catch 22' policies, and with her frustrated irritation with her demented mother - a mother, moreover, who has not been a great mother or even a particularly loving one and who is consequently difficult for Grant herself to love. I appreciated her honesty about this, but found Margaret Forster's novel on a similar theme, "Have the Men had Enough?" more moving.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written family 'biography' relating o memory and identity
I have a relative who is suffering from memory impairment and this deals with the author's own memory of family and in particular that of her parents'. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Nick Sisssons
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of insight
Very pertinent for anyone with a relative suffering from dementia. Truthful and insightful. A must read which highlights the problems of those coping with the disease.
Published 10 months ago by D
3.0 out of 5 stars A difficult story told, unfortunately, in a confusing manner
When I reviewed another of Linda Grant's books (When I Lived in Modern Times) I felt the storyline frequently drifted, occasionally quite seriously, from the underlying theme. Read more
Published 18 months ago by T. D. Dawson
2.0 out of 5 stars Another Dementia Book
A confusing book. It tries to deal with dementia, memoir and Jewishness, but doesn't do any aspect very well. Read more
Published 19 months ago by P. Hewett Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
A real insight into Alzheimer's. Read it in conjunction with "Keeper" (which is even better, albeit harrowing) -- and weep.
Published 19 months ago by Oliver4Stuff
5.0 out of 5 stars calm down and laugh
helps to share the experience and lighten the load. for anyone with parents who get on your nerves
Published on 25 Jan 2010 by fran
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and interesting reading
This tittle catched my attention because my mother has a mild dementia, so I am interested on the subject and other cases. Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2009 by Maria Joao Frazao
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny
This story is highly entertaining, witty and full of life. A great book to enlighten people whose lives have been touched by vascular dementia.
Published on 18 Oct 2008 by Cally O'Connor
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