Book Club Discussion: The Memory Book (SPOILERS!)

5 Comments The Memory Book


So – it’s time now to chat about The Memory Book, which has been our first 5:2 Book of the Month. If you haven’t finished the book yet,

DO NOT read on as there are likely to be spoilers…

The Memory Book – how was it for you?

I chose this book so I really love it but I’d love to know what you think! Unlike a face-to-face book club, we don’t have wine to share, but help yourself to a glass or a cup of something and have a ponder of the following questions – the author, Rowan Coleman, has said she’ll pop in to answer any specific questions, so do add them below!

Rowan Coleman


Which character did you feel the greatest emotional connection to and why?

The colour red is important in the novel. Can you think of some ways it is used? What do you think it symbolises?

The book recreates the experience of having Alzheimer’s by staying in Claire’s point of view. How did you feel during these episodes, when you knew that something was wrong, but Claire didn’t?

How do you think Caitlin, Claire and Ruth are similar, or different?

If you were Caitlin would you want to know if you had the gene that could lead to Alzheimer’s?

What is your most precious memory and how has it shaped you?

How did you hope the book would end – and how did you feel about the actual ending?

What do you think happens after the novel finishes?

And do feel free to add your own questions! There’s no time limit on the discussion… I’d love to hear your views. To contribute, click on the ‘Comment’ button at the top of this post, next to the date.

PS: if you enjoyed this month, then keep an eye out on here and the Facebook group for an announcement about our next book, for March!

  • KateHarrison52

    I deliberately didn’t give my views in the main part of the post, but I did have a sense from the first page that there couldn’t be a traditionally ‘happy’ ending – yet I felt very tearful and very uplifted at the same time…

    What I loved most about the book was the fact it WASN’T sentimental. It could so easily have been mawkish, but there was enough humour and reality to go with the sadness to make it feel less manipulative and more poignant.

    I don’t know if I’d want to know if I had that gene. I think, perhaps I would but then to spend my life thinking it was ‘starting’ on the many occasions I forget my keys etc, would probably be too much.

  • Gill Roberts

    Not my normal read but I really enjoyed this book.
    The character I felt the most emotional connection with was Claire’s husband Greg. It must be heart breaking watching the person you love turn away from you because of the disease. She manages to hold her connection to her daughters and her mum albeit tentatively, so to be the only person that ‘frightens her’ must be devastating. Although you know the ending is never going to happy I thought the way it was handled was brilliant. Very uplifting and a lovely twist. I’m not sure if I would be able to get the test or not, I agree with you Kate about wondering if ‘it’ had started but equally I’m not sure I could live without knowing either. It’s a very difficult decision. A great choice for our first foray into a book club!

  • Sue Draper

    I loved this book. I’d been worried that it would be too emotional for me because it’s just over a year since my Dad died from Dementia, but there was enough humour in there to keep me going. The parts written from Claire’s point of view seemed really true to life. I’m sure that Dad had no idea who I was, but he always knew I was someone special in his life. If I have the gene, I wouldn’t want to know. I put my house in order by giving my children Lasting Power of Attorney over my health and financial affairs if needed, but worrying about it more than that would be really depressing.
    I like to think that Claire is continuing her journey, not always knowing where she is or who she’s talking to, but still having flashes of her quirky sense of humour. Dad could still come back with a quick one-liner (as a true Scouser he always had an answer!) even 5 years into his Dementia and just days before his death. I think the book ended at just the right point, although I still wonder how the characters are coping with their new lives.
    A great choice for our first book!

  • Jacqueline Baird

    I really enjoyed this book, but I don’t think it is one I would have normally downloaded onto my kindle. I am so glad I did as it makes you think about what families go through when one of their loved ones are struck down by Alzheimers Disease. I don’t think personally that I would like to know if I had this gene as it would be depressing to think of your future time being spoiled. I think you would read too deeply into little moments of forgetfulness and put more significance on them than they might merit. Really good read. When I mentioned this book to a friend she said that she couldn’t read it as it would bring back memories of her late mother. My late parents didn’t suffer from this so can’t comment about that aspect.

  • Kirsty Splatt

    Will add this to my list of books to read!