The Reluctant Carer

The Reluctant Carer

06 July 2023
320 pages


An irresistibly moving, funny and urgent memoir about the reality of caring for your parents, when you can barely care for yourself.

‘Hilarious, bitter, poignant and profound, this is the human condition laid brilliantly bare, 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. He’s not well and he needs your help. Your mum is about to be left at home alone. She needs you too. The answer? Drop everything. Go. Help. The reality? Not so straightforward. Suddenly, you’re a kid again, stranded in the overheated house you grew up in. They need you 24/7, that much is obvious. And you want to help, of course you do. But soon your life starts to unravel almost as quickly as their health.

In between bouts of washing, feeding, cooking and fighting there are days that test you, days where everything goes wrong and days where everyone, miraculously rises to the occasion. And in between all of that, you learn how to care. But this time with feeling.

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.

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.
An astonishing and crucial memoir exploring the outer limits of familial love. The Reluctant Carer recounts a personal nightmare any of us could face with humour, heart and total honesty, asking vital questions of elderly care, where we’re at now, and where, one day, we will all be. How it’s as funny as it is moving is beyond me. I loved this book