My Bonnie: How Dementia Stole the Love of My Life

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9780007328420: My Bonnie: How Dementia Stole the Love of My Life

Earlier this year John Suchet revealed that his beautiful 67-year-old wife Bonnie, the love of his life, is suffering from Dementia. During the past three years he has gone from lover to carer, and he has found his new job exceptionally tough. In this moving and bitterly honest account, the newsreader reveals his loneliness and his despair. For John, it was love at first sight. For many years he had admired Bonnie from afar, hoping and dreaming one day she would feel the same way. Nearly a decade after they first met, their passionate and romantic love affair began. They married in 1985—head over heels in love—and have enjoyed more than 20 years of love and laughter. Both had been married before (she had two children and he had three) but both felt, the day they married, they finally joined their other half. In March 2004, John began to notice strange quirks in Bonnie's behavior. She underwent her first set of neurological tests in March 2005, which brought back no definite results. Then, in February 2006, following a second set of tests, she was diagnosed with Dementia. For three years John personally cared for his beloved wife, keeping her condition secret from all but family and close friends. But in the middle of September this year, more than 26 years after his life with Bonnie began, John made the agonizing decision to move his wife to a full-time care home. Written in passionate and vivid prose that captures both the warmth of the good times and the utter despair of the bad times, John weaves together a series of moving and heartfelt stories. In this combination of present day descriptions of life with Bonnie as her carer and memories of the romantic years they shared together, John gives a unique—and at times stark—insight into the pain of witnessing a loved one lose their memory. This is a story of pain and despair, of anger and guilt. But above all, it is a story of love; a story of devotion, dedication, and the pleasure that those little moments of recognition, those glimmers of joy, can give—even in the hardest times.

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About the Author:

John Suchet is a Scottish newsreader and television presenter. Best known as a newsreader for ITV News, John worked for the channel for 32 years, between 1972 and 2004. He retired from ITN in 2004 but made a welcome return to television news in 2006, presenting Five News. In February 2009 John appeared on BBC Breakfast to talk about his wife Bonnie's dementia and to raise awareness for the disease and the charities supporting it. He is now the patron of For Dementia.

Review:

"He has written a courageous and valuable book – one that both throws light into some hitherto curtained corners and honours the life they had together." John Preston, Daily Mail

"The story of a blissful marriage, cross-cut with a raw commentary on the progress of his wife's disease... It's the exhausted voice of carers everywhere – exasperation, loss, fear, frustrated love." Elizabeth Grice, Daily Telegraph

"What is likeable about the memoir is Suchet's lack of a stiff upper lip. He writes about love in the tone of a schoolboy, trying to make sense of an overwhelming crush...the memoir is an act of loving resistance." Kate Kellaway, The Observer

"Heartfelt, vivid and true" Sunday Times Culture

“The writing is honest and the emotions he has been put through over the last four or five years are ones which many carers will recognise in themselves. However, it is not all gloom, and he intersperses his account with the story of how he fell in love with his wife...if you were to look at the photographs in the book, you might think his life with Bonnie has been one long party.” The Spectator

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Suchet, John
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