Book Review: The Day We Met by: Rowan Coleman

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: March 31, 2015

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: 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.

Review: When I was younger, my friends and I would play the game of which would be worse: going blind or going deaf? Now I know there is something much worse…losing yourself. THE DAY WE MET is the story of Claire, a middle-age woman who is struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Everyone in her life is affected by her disease– her husband (Greg), her teenage daughter (Caitlin), her toddler (Esther), and her mother. Claire’s mother had to go through the same thing with her husband, Claire’s father. Claire had been putting off going to the doctor, but when she finally does she’s told the disease is progressing much faster than originally anticipated. She’s afraid of her husband, confusing her daughters, and acting like a rebellious teenager with her mother. She’s also drawn to a mysterious man she’s recently met named Ryan, but she doesn’t know why. I thought THE DAY WE MET was a tenderly sweet story, but I didn’t feel too much of a connection with many of the characters. I enjoyed the dynamic between Claire, Caitlin, and Claire’s mother. THE DAY WE MET makes readers realize what is really important in life – making good memories which will hopefully last long after you’re gone (in one capacity or another). I got caught up in Claire’s pain, frustration, and anger stemming from herself slipping through her mind’s fingers. I thought it was unlikely Claire would be suddenly 100% lucid and back to her old self at certain points and I didn’t always understand the Ryan angle (even when it was explained later). Still, THE DAY WE MET is a touching and poignant story.

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