As one might imagine, we here at Macmillan Audio are all big listeners . . . but we rarely take the time to sit down with one another and discuss a book that we’ve recently listened to. SO, in the spirit of trying new things in a new year, we’re starting an audio book club. And guess what? You’re all invited!
After much deliberation, we selected Sally Hepworth’s The Things We Keep audiobook—read by Therese Plummer and Barrie Kreinik—to be the center of our inaugural discussion. Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives, a tale of love, loss, and whether or not some secrets are best kept hidden, and has written another deeply emotional story in The Things We Keep.
Imagine being a 38-year-old woman with younger onset alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that slowly eats away at the mind and the function of memory, and being admitted to an assisted living residence for senior citizens. After a series of escalating incidents of “forgetting,” this has recently become Anna Forster’s life when she realizes that she cannot be left alone or trusted to take care of others, as her busy paramedic job and role as an aunt required. At the residence, Rosalind House, Anna meets an attractive young man named Luke, who she describes as “scruffy chic,” who suffers from another form of dementia that affects his speech and memories. Simultaneously, Eve Bennett, a recently single mother suffering from her own complications of life, takes a job as a cook at Rosalind House and is intrigued by the youth and blossoming relationship between Anna and Luke.
Told from dual perspectives of Anna and Eve, The Things We Keep is a heartbreaking, cynical, and often humorous story of two young people’s experience of dementia, suffering, and love in a home for the elderly. Anna remembers a question her mother, who also suffered from alzheimer’s, once asked, “if I can’t remember, was I really here?” and finally comes to the answer that maybe if someone else is there to remember and hold our memories and speak our name, then yes you are here and yes you still matter.
If that’s not enough to make you want to listen to this audiobook, perhaps Therese Plummer’s description of her experience recording the audiobook will: “[recording The Things We Keep was] a highlight of 2015. Anna’s sass and childlike sweetness when dealing with her early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 38 was a breathtaking experience to portray. One of my favorites love stories of oneself and another.”
Listen to an excerpt of Sally Hepworth’s The Things We Keep below, and be sure to check back for the round up from our first meeting of our first Audio Book Club!