Cover Image: A Place for Everything

A Place for Everything

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Member Reviews

I read this book over two days; even though I thought I knew where the narrative was going I was compelled to read on and was transfixed by Anna’s story.
It’s such an honest account of caring for vulnerable elderly relatives and the turmoil and emotional strain that this must bring.
I’ve already recommended this to others
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This memoir by Anna Wilson is a brave, honest, unflinching and completely engrossing read. 

It focuses on Anna's difficult relationship with her mother who is finally diagnosed with Aspergers in her 70s. Anna grew up in a loving home with her sister Carrie, her adored father and her difficult and demanding but loving mother. The memoir goes back and forth between Anna's childhood and adult years and we see how her mother was someone who was always anxious, demanding, controlling  and unpredictable but also beautiful, funny, intelligent and loving. Once her mother reaches her 70s her behaviour becomes increasingly more manic and irrational and things begin to fall apart when Anna's father who has always been a calming ad balancing influence on her mother becomes ill. 

Anna's complicated emotions shine through in this book - her feelings of love for her mother  alongside the hate for her mother's condition,  the love for her father and the absolute anger and frustration of attempting to get a psychiatric assessment for her mother. The latter illustrates the failing of our system to support older people with mental health issues. Anna movingly ends the book  with acceptance of her mother and her plea for the world to accept, understand and accommodate those like her mother. 

This is a beautifully written and heartfelt book that completely  grabbed hold of me and captured my heart for 2 days and has stayed with me long afterwards. It made me angry, it made me cry and I had so much empathy for Anna and her family.  I would highly recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital ARC
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A Place for Everything by Anna Wilson is an affecting and very readable memoir about a daughter being a carer for her elderly parents. It wasn’t quite what I expected as the subtitle led me to believe it was about the author’s mother having Asperger’s and yet there definitely seems to be something more than that going on.
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This was an unputdownable, harrowing read. I can't help but agree with the author that her mother's late-in-life diagnosis of Asperger's was of little use to the mother herself, who was at death's door by the time a psychiatrist diagnosed her. I can understand that it helps the author and her sister to have the diagnosis and that this is a huge contribution to them getting over their incredibly difficult childhoods with a compulsive perfectionist. Late in life diagnoses of autism in women are a bit of a trend at the moment - women with Asperger's are better at 'masking' and have traits that aren't easily compared to Rain Man, The Curious Incident etc. - but every case is different, and this book opens up as many questions as it answers. With each chapter opened by a quotation about autism or by someone with autism (again, these appear to be from different people every time and so don't add much) one has to ask whether this book might distress people with autism or put them off having children. What you take away from the book is not so much that Anna's mother was autistic but that she was abusive. I am not saying that the author is adopting a 'one size fits all' approach to autism, but anyone with a working knowledge of it would struggle to share in her surprise.
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