“A brave and illuminating journey inside the mind, heart, and life of a person with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.”—Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice

Wendy Mitchell had a busy job with the British National Health Service, raised her two daughters alone, and spent her weekends running and climbing mountains. Then, slowly, a mist settled deep inside the mind she once knew so well, blurring the world around her. She didn’t know it then, but dementia was starting to take hold. In 2014, at age fifty-eight, she was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s. 

In this groundbreaking book, Mitchell shares the heartrending story of her cognitive decline and how she has fought to stave it off. What lay ahead of her after the diagnosis was scary and unknowable, but Mitchell was determined and resourceful, and she vowed to outwit the disease for as long as she could.

As Mitchell learned to embrace her new life, she began to see her condition as a gift, a chance to experience the world with fresh eyes and to find her own way to make a difference. Even now, her sunny outlook persists: She devotes her time to educating doctors, caregivers, and other people living with dementia, helping to reduce the stigma surrounding this insidious disease.

Still living independently, Mitchell now uses Post-it notes and technology to remind her of her routines and has created a “memory room” where she displays photos—with labels—of her daughters, friends, and special places. It is a room where she feels calm and happy, especially on days when the mist descends.

A chronicle of one woman’s struggle to make sense of her shifting world and her mortality, Somebody I Used to Know offers a powerful rumination on memory, perception, and the simple pleasure of living in the moment. Philosophical, poetic, intensely personal, and ultimately hopeful, this moving memoir is both a tribute to the woman Wendy Mitchell used to be and a brave affirmation of the woman she has become.

Praise for Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know is both an indispensable guide for people grappling with the consequences of a dementia diagnosis and a stirring account of courage in the face of devastating loss.”Booklist (starred review)

“This is an eloquent and poignant book. Those of us who have gone on the heartbreaking journey of losing a loved one to dementia have wondered what they were feeling. Wendy Mitchell’s courageous and unflinching account lets us know.”—Patti Davis, author of The Long Goodbye
Somebody I Used to Know is both an indispensable guide for people grappling with the consequences of a dementia diagnosis and a stirring account of courage in the face of devastating loss.”Booklist (starred review)

“A brave and illuminating journey inside the mind, heart, and life of a person with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.”—Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice

“This is an eloquent and poignant book. Those of us who have gone on the heartbreaking journey of losing a loved one to dementia have wondered what they were feeling. Wendy Mitchell’s courageous and unflinching account lets us know.”—Patti Davis, author of The Long Goodbye

“I am so impressed with Wendy Mitchell’s attitude and ability to explain her experience—she is both an inspiration and a guide. I think this book will be extremely helpful to people who are trying to come to terms with dementia, in their own lives or the lives of their family and friends.”—Michael Palin

“Remarkable . . . Mitchell gives such clear-eyed insight that anyone who knows a person living with dementia should read this book.”The Times (London)

“A landmark book . . . The best reward for [Mitchell’s] courage and candour would surely be fundamental changes in the way people with dementia are treated by society.”—Financial Times

“This memoir, with its humour and its sense of resilience, demonstrates how the diagnosis of dementia is not a clear line that a person crosses; they are no different . . . than they were the day before.”—Nicci Gerrard, The Observer

“Read this amazing book. It will change a lot of people’s minds about what it means to have the disease.”—Pat Sikes, professor of education, University of Sheffield

“An extraordinary book about a disease we know so little about, awe-inspiring, courageous, and insightful . . . I would recommend it to everyone.”—Rosie Boycott, activist and author of A Nice Girl Like Me

“A sensitive, affective, and moving chronicle of how a woman with Alzheimer's has refused to let the disease completely rule her life. . . . In this moving, well-written memoir, [Wendy] Mitchell relates how her life inevitably changed. . . . [She] obviously refuses to give up, as evidenced by her writing this poignant statement of her life after the diagnosis.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“This is a book from which we can all learn. And its lessons go beyond treating those living with Alzheimer’s with less pity and more respect.”The Sunday Times (UK)