Song for Rosaleen by Pip Desmond


Losing and finding a mother in dementia

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A beautifully crafted memoir of a family coping with their mother’s dementia, Song for Rosaleen is both a celebration of Rosaleen Desmond’s life and an unflinching account of the practical and ethical dilemmas that faced her six children.
Told with love, insight, humour and compassion, it raises important questions about who we become when our memories fail, how our rapidly ageing population can best be cared for, and what this means for us all.

Review by Philippa Fletcher – Policy Advisor, Alzheimers NZ

So much of life is about letting go. This book traces the labyrinthine journeys of Rosaleen the mother, letting go of life via vascular dementia; of Pip the daughter, letting go of the mother she knew; and of Pip the author, letting go of her care partner role as she translates it into the written word. For me, reading the book began as a professional task and ended as a gentle reflection on life itself and its meaning and purpose.  Read the rest of the review…


‘A beautiful, honest and deeply moving memoir. I have no doubt this book will resonate with a huge portion of readers — especially anyone who has watched a loved one decline due to a degenerative illness.’ — Mandy Hager

‘An outstanding example of memoir — creative non-fiction at its best. Its compelling narrative flow creates a moving and enriching work that will be an important addition to this country’s literature.’ — Alison Parr

Song for Rosaleen is gripping. It is at one level a personal account, at another a meditation on memory itself, and at yet another an erudite critique of how our society treats the frail, dependent and voiceless. For this latter reason alone it should be essential reading for everyone who works in health: management, non-clinical and clinical staff alike.’ — Sue Wootton, Corpus


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