Robyn Hollingworth’s honest and self-effacing diary of her parental care is both funny and incredibly emotional. Who would have thought a book on dementia and caring for parents would have me chuckling on public transport whilst crying uncontrollably in the comfort of my home?
She’s right when she says: “To be able to return the gift of love that someone bestows upon you is a gift in itself” but it quite often comes at an emotional cost when witnessing the deterioration of those we love so much. Robyn’s writing brings dark humour to those real-life situations where if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Dementia presents so many unusual circumstances that this book helps to lift the lid on what living with dementia means for many. But most of all it’s about the relationship between adult children and parents; when being the adult means growing up and becoming the carer yourself.
Robyn is a gin swigging, twenty-something fashion socialite who ups sticks in London to move to Wales to care for her parents. Her story is endearing and we are privileged to be given an insight into her stream of thought, what we think but never dare to share. The selfish, guilty thoughts we all have when choosing a path that maybe doesn’t suit our career goals or lifelong dreams, the path that chooses love and duty instead.
We truly feel her pain when “out here, no one can hear you scream”, we are torn between laughter and fear when she’s fleeing her Mad Dad with the knife but we do also glimpse the town where her “memories had been made” and fall in love with Robyn, her Mad Dad and her family. A must read weepie!
My Mad Dad by Robyn Hollingworth is out now.