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‘Out of Time’ by Steve Hawke and reviewed by ‘Old Mate’.

Steve Hawke knows a fair bit about dementia – his mum suffered from it, and Steve saw the disease slowly steal her away from him and the rest of the family.

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This book isn’t about Hazel, but it’s still clearly a very personal story, and for all of us, as we progress through the debate about voluntary assisted dying. And most of us will know someone who is affected or has been affected by dementia.

The story looks at the disease and how it affects those suffering from it, and the terrible impact that it has on their family and friends. Steve tackles these issues with great sensitivity but also with humour and compassion.

Joe is an architect. He and his wife Anne are looking forward to their retirement; however, Joe starts to realise that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. At first, Joe attempts to ignore it and finds ways to hide the symptoms he’s experiencing. But of course, it becomes increasingly hard to do so. Eventually, he comes clean and tells Anne and his daughter Claire what’s happening. The way Joe decides to break it to his wife was one of those moments where I had to stop reading, stare at the ceiling, and take a few deep breaths.

I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in this story – they’re all very likeable and endearing.  Along the way, Steve gets you to think about some pretty tough ethical questions without lecturing you.

This is quite a confronting book in many ways and I think there are times when Steve seems to let his anger and heartbreak at the way his mother lived her final months come through.

I think you should all read it.

Anyway, that’s enough rabbiting on from me about it – I’m going to head off. If I could just remember where I left the car…

Greg Leaver is a director at Strange Company and the man behind the bar, behind the Strange Editions Winter Book series at Strange Company, ‘Out of Time’ by Steve Hawke is the final book this season.

Steve will be at the bar to discuss his book on Tuesday 24th September from 6pm. Join the discussion and RSVP HERE 

Word: Greg Leaver - Director at Strange Company

Imagery: Detail and friends