I finished reading this book feeling saddened yet invigorated, and deeply, deeply moved. It’s a terrific read.-Roddy Doyle
When Ronan Smith was in his twenties, his father, the theatre impresario Brendan Smith, developed obvious signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease but steadfastly refused to acknowledge it. Brendan ran the Olympia Theatre and had founded the Brendan Smith Academy of Acting and the Dublin Theatre Festival. A theatre and film actor, Ronan later became a producer and manager, and part of the worldwide phenomenon of Riverdance. It fell to Ronan to protect his father, and eventually, as Brendan’s condition became more challenging, to commit him into care, a traumatic but pivotal event in their father-son relationship.
So in 2014, when Ronan himself was diagnosed with the same illness, he knew exactly what the coming years would hold. But, unlike his father, Ronan chose to face his future positively, turning from work towards family, improving his diet and advocating for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. In doing so, Ronan’s radically diff erent approach to this all-too-common disease has significantly changed the narrative around it in Ireland.
Written in real time, If Memory Serves Me Wrong is a rare first-hand account of the experience of being both a family carer and of living with dementia. It is also a heartrending, sometimes harrowing and very often humorous memoir about the power of love in facing an uncertain future.
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About the Author
RONAN SMITH (born 1957) has had a distinguished career as an actor, director and producer, working in most of the major theatres in Dublin and with many of Ireland’s leading companies on projects big and small, from The Gaiety Theatre pantomime to the iconic Riverdance. He has served in a voluntary capacity on many boards in the fi elds of education and health as well as in the arts, and later became an advocate for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and a founding member of the Irish Dementia Working Group. Ronan lives in Lacken, County Wicklow, with his wife Miriam and their two children Hannah and Loughlin
SUE LEONARD is a journalist and bestselling ghostwriter and is the co-author of two number-one bestsellers: An Act of Love with Marie Fleming (2014) and Whispering Hope: The True Story of the Magdalene Women (2015). Sue has written extensively for the Irish Independent, the Irish Examiner, the Evening Herald, Image magazine and numerous other publications. She has interviewed countless authors, including eleven winners of the Booker Prize. Sue was born in Oxford, and lives in County Wicklow.