sunshine and stardust
The Memory Cage by Ruth Eastham is a brilliant story. Ruth Eastham has been compared to Michael Morpurgo and The Memory Cage did remind me of his writing style. Alex’s grandfather William suffers from Alzheimer’s. Most recently, he set his pillow alight and it is only because Alex put it out that the house didn’t burn down. However, Alex loves his grandfather so much that he protects him and covers for him as much as possible.
Alex knows this can only work for so long. When he overhears his parents discussing the Sunflower Home, Alex is in a race against time to stop his parents from sending his grandfather away. Alex decides to make a scrapbook of William’s life, to help him remember everything. However, the more secrets Alex learns about his grandfather, the more he learns about himself.
The Memory Cage is a highly emotional and engrossing story. The mystery of William’s life interested me and I found myself constantly turning the pages to find out more. At some points, I did figure out things about William before Alex did, however, as The Memory Cage is aimed at readers younger than myself, this is not a criticism. Alex was a great character. He loved his grandfather and is always supportive of him. He is keen to uncover the mystery surrounding William’s life, not knowing how it will affect the whole family and community.
The intricate family dynamics that Eastham explored in The Memory Cage were written very well. I loved learning more about World War II, Alzheimer’s and the Yugoslav Wars. It is incredible how Eastham managed to write about all these complex issues in a sensitive fashion. Furthermore, Alex was adopted by his family six years previously and the issues surrounding this were discussed.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Memory Cage as it was an emotion-filled book. Alex’s and William’s story resonated with me. I loved how the past, present and future all interlocked. Alex grew as a character. He made a real difference by finding out the truth about William. Ruth Eastham is a great author and I can’t wait to read more from her.
Wonderful review, thank you, Kulsuma!