Daughter ISBN: 9780192718747
Published by O.U.P., 2001
A harrowing and truthful account of a 14 year old girl and her growing recognition that her mother has Alzheimer's. Sylvie, bright and talented, sees her mom move suddenly from being vivacious, full of life, neat and tidy, and a respected school teacher to having spells when she is zombie-like and forgetful in important ways. Sylvie doesn't feel she can ask her father's help as her parents are divorced and she rarely sees him. Her school work deteriorates, and her best friend, who also needs help with her dysfunctional family, is rejected. When a doctor is consulted, she recognises the symptoms. Dad is brought in, and it is soon clear that his lack of presence in their lives has been due to Sylvie's mom's devious plots, and he becomes supportive. Nevertheless, it is Sylvie who must become chief carer, and it is she who must finally recognise that she cannot cope. An understanding boyfriend helps, and Sylvie and best friend Marissa learn again to depend on each other. Set in Canada, this story impresses by its honesty and detail, and while it is a sad and difficult read, children who have a parent suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's will identify with Sylvie readily.