The Reluctant Carer

The Reluctant Carer

23 June 2022
406 pages


'Incredible. One of those rare books that should be dispensed on prescription to every household.' - Lucy Easthope, author of When the Dust Settles
'Hilarious, bitter, poignant and profound . . . like an existential soap opera - only with more laughs.' - Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan

It was the kind of phone call we all dread. Your elderly father has been admitted to hospital. Your even older mum is now at home alone. The answer? Simple. Drop everything, go back and help. The reality? Not so straightforward. Suddenly, you’re a kid again, stranded in the overheated house you grew up in. Soon they need you 24/7. And you want to help, of course you do. But now your own life starts to unravel almost as quickly as their health. And then there is nowhere else to go.

In between bouts of washing, feeding, cooking and fighting there are times that test you, days where everything goes wrong and moments when everyone, miraculously rises to the occasion. And amidst all of that, this strange second childhood offers up a shot at redemption - if you can just stop everyone from falling down.

Irresistibly funny, unflinching and deeply moving, this is a love letter to family and friends, to carers and to anyone who has ever packed a small bag intent on staying for just a few days. This is a true story of what it really means to be a carer, and of the ties that bind even tighter when you least expect it. This is The Reluctant Carer.

Blissfully well written . . . This is a wonderful book: funny, moving, real and brutally honest. Every child of ageing parents should snap up a copy. Every ageing parent should probably read it, too. Far better to look at the slippery slope from the top than when you're already halfway down …
It's the wisest, funniest, bravest and most essential life story I've read. I bloody love this book.
Brave, unflinching and funny . . . This is a troubling but important read; an honest, warts and all glimpse into the reality of unpaid caring. It left me full of respect for those who care and seething that the system isn’t giving them the support and encouragement they so obviously need.