A beautiful story about Hannah and her Grandfather, as she comes to terms with the Alzheimer’s disease and stroke which are gradually taking away the person that she has been so close to. There is also a secondary story going back to an event during the Second World War, when Grandad was a child, and the two story lines have been woven together in a heart-warming way . Early on in the book he has asked her to remind him about 18 August, but did not say why and, as his condition deteriorates, he is unable to communicate well and becomes locked in his own world. Hannah is desperate to help him remember and this leads to her uncovering a remarkable story from the past and when 18 August finally comes around there is a remarkable discovery.
This is one of the best stories for younger readers that I have read recently. It is a lyrical and very evocative tale of the relationship between generations and coming to terms with the terrible consequences of conditions such as Alzheimer’s. At the same time this is also about the relationship we have with nature and the positive impact this can have. The story is written in the first person, with Hannah as the focus and Sarah Lean has really made this work. Quite often I have a problem with this and prefer the third person narrative, but this tale is so well balanced that you really do relate to everything happening to Hannah. Whilst Grandad is never going to recover, we are left with the family coming to terms with the future and also having recreated some amazing memories of the past. It is a story which could be used very successfully in supporting young people who find themselves in a very similar situation and should be recommended as widely as possible.