I’m delighted to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for devastatingly moving memoir Remember Me? by Shobna Gulati. Thank you to Anne Cater and Octopus Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this beautiful book.
About the book:
A heartbreakingly courageous and tender memoir on losing a parent to dementia which captures memory at its most fragile and its most revealing from much-loved actress, Shobna Gulati.
Remember Me? captures the powerful emotions that these memories hold to both Shobna and her mother; secrets they had collectively buried and also the concealment of her mother’s condition. What ensues is a story of cultural assimilation, identity and familial shame.
Shobna sets out to reclaim her mother’s past after her death, and in turn, discovers a huge amount about herself and their relationship.
About the author:
Shobna became a household name for her role as Anita in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and as Sunita, in Coronation Street. She also appeared as a presenter on Loose Women (ITV), and most starred in Series 1 of the BBC One television show River Walks. On radio, Shobna hosted her own late night show on BBC Radio Manchester, and has appeared in many plays for BBC Radio 4, most recently in the sitcom ‘The Break’.
She trained at Manchester University, Trinity Laban Conservatorie of Music and Dance, Goldsmith’s College, London, Darpana Academy for Performing Arts, India, and has also completed a post graduate diploma in teaching dance from Middlesex University.
Shobna recently filmed the role of Ray in the feature film Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
From the heartachingly beautiful cover to the moving and unflinching honesty held within its pages, Remember Me? by much loved actress Shobna Gulati is a memoir unlike any other I’ve ever read before. Deeply moving yet written with humour, it takes the reader on an emotional journey of discovery that stays with you long after the final page has been turned. It’s difficult to put into words how profoundly moving and enlightening this book is as any words I write could never do this stunning book justice. As someone who’s lost a loved one to dementia myself, I felt every emotion as I read, knowing only too well the devastation caused by this horrific condition and how it feels to see someone you love slip further and further away.
Shobna Gulati’s writing is astonishing as she takes us on a journey not only through her mother’s life but also her own, beginning with her parents traditional arranged marriage and their move from India to England. Shobna then talks about her own birth in Oldham, with a wider family who were disappointed she wasn’t a boy after two girls had already been born. We follow Asha’s life through Shobna’s eyes as the mother she loves goes from caring for her to the one being cared for by her daughter as her illness begins to take hold. Shobna writes with unflinching honesty about dementia and the disagreements she and her siblings sometimes had when it came to Asha and her care. As Asha’s illness progressed she became everything to Shobna, their relationship evolving into something even more profound than it was before.
But Remember Me? isn’t only a book about Asha’s battle with dementia, it’s also a book about Asha as a woman coming to England from India and everything that entailed, from racism to cultural assimilation and familial shame. It shows how being from an immigrant background affected Shobna’s life and how she had to come to terms with the loss of her father. And then it becomes something else entirely, as the woman Asha once was begins to slip away, the love of her daughter surrounding her as their lives become inextricably entwined in the most beautiful way possible.
Told with raw honesty and humour, Remember Me? is like a love letter from a daughter to her mother. Shobna has done Asha proud, bringing the woman she was before dementia took hold vividly back to life, the love between the two plain to see even if they never did feel the need to actually say the words out loud.
It’s a testament to Shobna’s strength of character that even after everything she’s had to cope with in her life, she’s somehow still managed to forge a successful life for herself, becoming a much respected actress and well loved household name in the UK. A strong and inspirational woman who Asha must have been so proud of.
Remember Me? is a powerful and moving memoir of the enduring love between a mother and daughter. Highly recommended.
Remember Me? by Shobna Gulati is available to buy now: