Before you Forget, written by Julia Lawrinson, focuses on Amelia who is in year 12 at a specialist art school. She is facing the usual teenage issues of friendship, future pathways and family issues. The difference for Amelia is that her father has Alzheimer’s and is forgetting who he is, who she is, and the family is changing.
Julia Lawrinson captures Amelia’s character really well – a rich young woman who is battling her way through the sadness as best she can. Amelia’s character matures along the way, but maintains her vulnerabilities and immaturity in a great balance that seems so realistic. Amelia is also facing losing her best friend to an eating disorder which is confusing and again managed really well with each character’s exploration of this disease built on realistically, carefully and accurately.
The absolute heartbreak for me in this book are the relationship and short conversations between Amelia and her father. I shed many tears at the tenderness of these exchanges with each other. Amelia’s fear of being forgotten, and her father’s ability to dredge the memory and feeling up from his disease is beautiful but so, so sad. Again Julia Lawrinson captures the need and love within their relationship, as well as the sadness and loss for both.
Before you Forget is as good for adults as it is for young adults – covering relationships, eating disorders, illness, transition to adulthood and the loss of those close to us.