Remember Me? is a memoir about caring for a parent with dementia and the memories that resurface in the process.
In her first book, Shobna Gulati sets out to reclaim her mother’s past after her death, and in turn, discovers a huge amount about herself and their relationship.
Remember Me? captures the powerful emotions that these memories hold to both Shobna and her mother; secrets they had collectively buried and also the concealment of her mother’s condition. What ensues is a story of cultural assimilation, identity and familial shame.
I absolutely love it when I find a book that I just can’t put down. I was absolutely engrossed on my travels through Canada by this honest, and important read. I can’t stop thinking about it as I want as many people as possible to pick up this book and be as caught up as I was in this unputdownable portrayal of Shobna Gulati’s life through all the ups and downs and feel like she reaches out through the page to talk directly to you as a reader.
It’s great when a book you pick up really ’speaks’ to you in a voice you can just hear in your mind’s eye and I feel that it allowed me to spend time with Shobna getting to know her and her family through the pages. I just can’t stop thinking about the way that she made me think about both the diffeences and similarities of our very different cultures, and see how there is so much that we have in common, quite apart from the differences. It is a testament to the power of the writing that you are absolutely with her throughout this read and feel like you’ve lived through the difficulties alongside her.
The fact that she speaks so openly and directly about some fairly challenging societal and family circumStances increases our bond with her as we read and you will definitely feel like you have got to know her family, as if you have been part of their story. Shobna’s story and the story of her family was not only immersive but absolutely emotionally compelling too and the writing will keep you turning those pages as you start to see the impact of her mum’s health on the rest of the family and I know that Shobna’s willingness to be so open and reflective in this memoir will strike a chord with many readers who have walked the same path, albeit in slightly different shoes.
The world of caring for a loved one with dementia is so skilfully portrayed that you get to see how this evolves for one family as well as being able to reflect about dementia more holistically and thinking about its impact societally The skillful way that she weaves the many and diverse strands of public and personal in this intensely personal book is superbly done and remains emotionally honest throughout. I found it it so moving in places and it really opened my eyes to the systemic racism experienced by South Asian immigrants both in her mother’s time and also sadly in the present day. It does so in a very unsensational way, which is all the more shocking and impactful in the way it opens your eyes to the way that the way that we experience healthcare, education and support might be quite different if we looked or spoke a different way.
I loved the way that this book wove ideas about both the personal and the community together in a really balanced way which allows you to get more insight into the complexity of life in Britain as an immigrant, and as the child of an immigrant family feeling both part of your own culture and yet part of another country’s culture too. This is the perfect read for the summer break, as its one you can really immerse yourself in, and would be an absolutely amazing book club choice – I guarantee that you’ll be recommending it to so many people afterwards – as you’ll not be able to stop thinking about this emotionally resonant and beautifully written autobiographical tale and you’ll want to see what other readers think as soon as they’ve finished.
If you enjoy a read that challenges your preconceptions, tugs on your heartstrings and tests your prejudices in a fresh and original way then you will love this book as much as I did. I absolutely can’t recommend it enough and feel like I haven’t been so emotionally caught up in a book for a very long time. It will make you rethink your definition of family and open your eyes to the power of love and forgiveness, perhaps even the way that we have to be open to forgiving ourselves…
If you feel intrigued and would like to order yourself a copy and find out for yourself what has had such a huge impact on me, then buy yourself a copy here
Check out these other fantastic bloggers on the tour. Thank you so much to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for the invite – You know that I love an autobiographical read and I love the diversity of books I read each year on her recommendation!
Writer On The Shelf
Shobna became a household name for her role as Anita in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and as Sunita, in Coronation Street. She also appeared as a presenter on Loose Women (ITV), and most starred in Series 1 of the BBC One television show River Walks.
On radio, Shobna hosted her own late night show on BBC Radio Manchester, and has appeared in many plays for BBC Radio 4, most recently in the sitcom ‘The Break’.She trained at Manchester University, Trinity Laban Conservatorie of Music and Dance, Goldsmith’s College, London, Darpana Academy for Performing Arts, India, and has also completed a post graduate diploma in teaching dance from Middlesex University.
Shobna has just finished filming the role of Ray in the upcoming feature film Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.