What do you lose when you lose your memories? What do you value when this loss reframes how you’ve lived, and how you will live in the future? How do you conceive of love when you can no longer recognise those who are supposed to mean the most to you?
When she was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of fifty-eight, Wendy Mitchell was confronted with the most profound questions about life and identity. All at once, she had to say goodbye to the woman she used to be. Her demanding career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run – the various shades of her independence – were suddenly gone.
Philosophical, profoundly moving, insightful and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know gets to the very heart of what it means to be human. A phenomenal memoir – the first of its kind – it is both a heartrending tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.
- A real-life Still Alice – Oscar winning actress Julianne Moore based her characterisation on Wendy and thanked her in her Emmy acceptance speech
- For readers of Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing (almost 450,000 TCM), Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air (150,000 TCM), Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm (over 150,000 TCM), Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal (over 123,000 TCM)
- It is the first of its kind and should become a classic, changing the way people understand those who live with dementia for years to come
- Brilliant prize-winning co-writer Anna Wharton will be intrinsic to helping Wendy Mitchell chronicle her experience
- Will be boosted by a huge marketing and publicity campaign
“A brave and illuminating journey inside the mind, heart, and life of early onset Alzheimer’s disease” – Lisa Genova, author of ‘Still Alice’
“Nothing is more frightening than dementia, says Wendy – and yet, every day, she chooses to face her fears head on. By sharing her story Wendy challenges assumptions and ignorance about dementia. Read this amazing book. It will change a lot of people’s minds about what it means to have the disease” – Professor Pat Sikes, University of Sheffield
Wendy Mitchell spent twenty years as a non-clinical team leader in the NHS before being diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia in July 2014 at the age of fifty-eight.
Shocked by the lack of awareness about the disease, both in the community and in hospitals, she vowed to spend her time raising awareness about dementia and encouraging others to see there is life after a diagnosis. She is now an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society. She has two daughters and lives in Yorkshire.
Anna Wharton is a veteran newspaper and magazine journalist, most recently as an executive editor at The Daily Mail, and is now a ghostwriter and editing consultant. She lives in Tunbridge Wells.