Forgetting Foster (Dianne Touchell, A&U)
Brutally honest and unflinching in its examination of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on an entire family, Forgetting Foster is a beautiful, heart-wrenching book that will stay with you. Seven-year-old Foster is the first to notice when things start changing for his dad, and his childish honesty makes him the perfect observer of his father’s illness. Foster’s narration highlights the grief and loss, but also the moments of happiness and humour that can creep into the darkest of situations. Foster brings a necessary lightness to the story and Dianne Touchell’s use of his voice is masterful. All the characters in this book are almost tangible. From Foster’s mother forgetting to check in with him to Foster telling his school friends that his father is crazy, every character in this book is so believably human and flawed. There are certainly no heroes here, and it makes for powerful reading. Touchell has a habit of writing books that don’t go easy on the reader but are absolutely worth the pain, and Forgetting Foster is no exception. Highly recommended to fans of Wonder and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, this is a book guaranteed to get people talking.
Meg Whelan is the children’s and young adult book buyer at the Hill of Content bookshop in Melbourne