The Things We Keep – Sally Hepworth

 

Wow, wow, wow!

Ok. Have I got your attention??

This week I delved into the world of audiobooks.  Why, you may ask?  Well, I’ve been having a problem of late with some of the books I’m borrowing from the library.  A few of them have been new releases which incur a 2 week maximum hire before you have to return.  Some of these books have been long and I’ve not been able to finish them, leaving me frustrated. I’ve then been buying them on my kindle to finish, which is becoming a costly exercise.

I then had a brainwave, I would download an audiobook and listen while I was walking and driving – the problem here was that to buy and download a best seller was pricey too – the one I wanted was $45!!!!

However, at my last library visit, I was scanning through the Audiobooks on CD – not the same as having it on my phone; but I do spend about an hour a day driving around, so I grabbed one – The Things we Keep – by Sally Hepworth.

the things we keep

In the space of a week, I have listened to 17 hours, 8 CD’s of this truly heartwarming story.

The story revolves around Anna Forster, who at 38 is slowly loosing her mind and memory to Alzheimers. With the help of her family, she moves into an assisted living facility – Rosalind House; chosen by her brother as it is the only facility that has another Alzheimer sufferer of similar age.  His name is Luke; or “the young guy”.

Also new to the facility is Eve Bennett, a single mum who is newly widowed.  She comes arrives as the overqualified but desperate cook and ends up becoming the person that understands Anna the best.  She struggles with the moral dilemma of the relationship between Anna and Luke though. Her heart tells her one thing while her head, boss and Anna’s family tell her something else.  She puts a lot on the line to follow her heart.  All this goes on while she is trying to get her own life back on track after she found herself at rock bottom.

Eve is mother to vivacious 7 year old Clementine.  She is feisty on the outside, but on the inside she is grieving the loss of her father and struggles to come to terms with what he did that lead to his death.  She is subjected to some schoolyard bullying because of what her dad did; but is such a sweetheart to the residents that live in the facility.  It is great to hear part of the story through the eyes of this youngster.

The audiobook is narrated through the eyes and chapters of Anna, Eve and Clementine.  All having their own thoughts and emotions, they are weaved beautifully through their lives at the facility.  The voices change with the characters, and I loved the expressions used throughout, it really added to the listening experience.

Anna’s story is so moving. I’ve not experienced anyone with dementia; but this gave me a real insight into what it might be like to live with it or love someone that has it. Her story is about love and hope. It’s about overcoming obstacles that are so desperately hard to overcome and being trapped in your own mind. Its about being with “the young guy”; about Eve’s role in making sure they are together.  There is also tragedy in Anna’s world. Suspected suicide attempts leading to broken bones and fractured hearts.  I was constantly deep in thought about what I would do in this situation or how I would react to situations if I was the family member on the outside.

dementia

The lives of the remaining 10 residents at the facility are developed supremely throughout the story of Anna, Luke, Eve and Clementine. Along with the staff and the extended family members; there are some real characters that bring light and humour. There is so much compassion and wisdom, and the life lessons are many.  I found myself making excuses to go driving somewhere just so I could listen to more of the story. I found myself thinking about the characters long after I got out of my car and turned the engine off.

This is by far the best book I’ve finished in a long time.

Am I sold on audiobooks – YES.  I’m definitely a convert for CD’s the in car. I’m continuing to look into what I can get onto my phone to listen to at a reasonable price. I’m not paying $45 for new releases – no way ho-say!!

This story gets my first /5

Do you listen to audiobooks? Can you recommend any to me?

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