I remember Georgia Blain being in the year level above me at school for one year. I knew of her, but didn’t know her. About twenty years later I discovered one of her books in the library and loved it and devoured everything she had written at that time. Since then I have read most of her fiction and non-fiction for adults, and one of her young adult novels. She is one of my favourite authors and I believe she was under-recognised and awarded in her lifetime.
I read Georgia’s mother, Anne Deveson’s book Tell Me I’m Here many years ago and I was profoundly affected by it. I had the pleasure of meeting her when I was bookseller for one of her events. She was the most gracious writer I have ever dealt with.
I was stopped at the traffic lights when the news came on the radio saying that Anne had died. I knew that she had had Alzheimer’s but was still very sad. They then went on to say that Georgia had died two days before. I knew too that she had cancer but I had been living in hope that somehow she would live to write many more wonderful books. I could not stop the tears.
This book is another great piece of writing about life, the ghastly illnesses that can diminish and then end a life, and of family and dear friends. In her succinct and straight to the point way, she shares her own experiences, her memories, her frustrations and her joy.
As she said of her diagnosis, that of her close friend Rosie around the same time, and that of her mother ‘If this were fiction, I would say it was too far-fetched’. That these three women were affected by conditions that impacted on their brains, particularly the language centres, makes it all the more tragic.
Read this beautiful book, and her other work, and her mother’s.