Sunday, 16 September 2018
A Long Goodbye - Anthony Le Moignan
It's taken me a while to gather my thoughts on this book and even now after a few weeks this beautiful story is still at the very forefront of my mind.
On the outside Simon has it all. He's a successful accountant, funny, handsome, financially comfortable and he's still only in his forties. But on the inside he's falling apart as he's been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. Determined not to become a burden to others he has been busy preparing for his uncertain future and checks himself into Orchard Care Home where he hopes no-one will find him and he can quietly live out whatever remaining time he has left.
Emma is the manager at Orchard Care Home. She takes pride in what she does and she is supportive of both the residents as well as her team of staff. She's worked hard to get to her current position of manager and she met her husband, Michael, through her work earlier in her career. The couple are forced to spend a lot of time apart as Michael has now moved further up the career ladder and this has put a lot of strain on their marriage.
When Simon and Emma meet it's obvious that they are attracted to each other but of course this is a situation that is never going to end well for a whole host of reasons.
I was totally immersed in the story and it's characters. I loved Emma as she clearly loved her job caring for those who were unable to care for themselves and watching her relationship with Simon flourish knowing that there would only ever be one possible outcome really tugged at my heartstrings.
Simon was a character that will stay with me for a number of reasons, one of which being that a close family member had dementia, so I fully appreciate how difficult it can be to deal with. Seeing his decline from the humorous, happy go lucky guy at the start of the novel through to when his condition really starts to take a hold made for some really emotional reading but the fact that it was so beautifully written somehow made it easier.
A Long Goodbye is one of the best, if not THE best book that I've read this year. It's a highly emotional, poignant and thought provoking story which is based on real life experience of this heartbreaking condition as Anthony Le Moignan's father was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and this first hand experience is very obvious in his writing. I'm not ashamed to tell you that this book completely broke me to the point where I was ugly crying into my pillow. I honestly can't recommend this highly enough and proceeds from the book will help to support the Jersey Alzheimer's Association so you'll be helping a great cause as well as getting a wonderfully touching, funny, heartwarming and hopeful story at the same time.
This is an impressive debut novel from Anthony Le Moignan and I'm looking forward to reading more from him.
With kind thanks to Piers Le Moignan and NetGalley for my review copy.