The Memory Cage

The Memory Cage

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Ruth Eastham

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  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 14mm | 170g
  • Publication date: 3 January 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1407120522
  • ISBN 13: 9781407120522
  • Sales rank: 123,747

Product description

Alex's grandfather keeps forgetting things, and Alex has overheard his adoptive parents say that they're going to put granddad in a home. His grandfather begs Alex to save him from that, and it's a promise Alex is desperate to keep. But Alex once promised his little brother that he would save him, and in the terror of the Bosnian war, he failed. As Alex struggles to protect his grandfather, he uncovers secrets that his family and the village have kept for two generations. Unravelling them will cause grief, but will they save grandfather, and perhaps help Alex come to terms with his own private war?

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Customer reviews

By MissPageTurner 07 Mar 2012 4

The Memory Cage is a story about a granddad who fears loosing his memories over an illness and his grandson who cannot forget his past, although it's the only thing he wishes for.

This novel is told from Alex' point of view, an ordinary teenager from the outside, that appears to be a troubled child on the inside. Being subject to terrifying memories of his past and psychical games in the present, he still appears very mature and like a grown- up, especially when it comes to protecting his grandad. Alex is very sensitive, caring and responsible always trying to help him.

I do not read many Middle Grade novels, because I always tend miss a connection to the main protagonist, that is much younger than I am, but Alex made me immediately like him. He's the underdog and I care for him.

Alex and his grandfather share a very intimate relationship. And when his parents want to put grandpa in an old peoples' home because his Alzheimer's is getting worse each day, Alex is determined to find a way to scatter their plans and bring back his grandfather's memory not knowing what hidden secrets he might come across.

On their journey, willing or unwilling, to the past Alex and his grandfather ,William Smith have their funny and sad moments. Their relationship warms my heart, because it never appears constructed, but always very realistic. Grandad has his secrets and just as Alex I couldn't wait to reveal them.

I hadn't imagined William's Alzheimer's to be too hard to read about, as I haven't come in contact with such an illness before, but at some point when he keeps forgetting major things and even big parts of his daily life I became extremely sad, unterstanding the terrible impact of such an illness.
Alzheimer's is presented in an informative way, giving for MG appropriate and understandable basic information about the illness.

In addition it also addresses the topic of war, making it accessible with a certain example, discussions and conflict potential within the Smith family.

This novel is such a precious debut because it deals with most important and high sensitive topics that must affect one. The Memory Cage encourages young teens to think about what's important in life, to be an active part in political debates and generational exchanges.

THE VERDICT

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Memory Cage, it made me smile and frown, hope and fear and on some pages I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my face.
This novel has feeling and personality and is not only a recommendable read for Middle Grade students, but for all age groups.

By Mim Waller 19 Jan 2011 5

Ruth Eastham creates an inspiring story that is so believable, it hurts! You can feel Alex's despair and frustration as he struggles to fit in to his adoptive family whilst trying to help his ailing grandfather. Alex's search for the truth was always going to be painful, but the story is full of optimism and strength of character. I was totally gripped from start to finish, and read it in super-quick time, which is sad because I didn't want it to end! More please!

By A reader 15 Jan 2011 5

I have just finished reading 'The Memory Cage' and was compelled to immediately re-read it! It is a beautifully written novel with a mesmerizing storyline and lively characters. Ruth Eastham manages to superimpose the mysteriousness of memory upon the backdrop of war making for a fascinating and smooth read! Issues such as The World War II and the Bosnian War mingle deftly with the present; as I read the book I was reminded of a quote by Doris Lessing: "We are all of us made by war...twisted and warped by war, but we seem to forget it."

However, this novel is ultimately about the power of love and its consequences: Eastham gives us a powerful, real and extremely sensitive portrayal of the love binding grandson and grandfather as well as exploring love and the importance memory can play upon destiny (and destiny upon memory).

'The Memory Cage' is an engaging and intriguing read. It is of no wonder that it has been shortlisted for Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2011!