How Many Camels Are There in Holland?: Dementia, Ma and Me

How Many Camels Are There in Holland?: Dementia, Ma and Me

Phyllida Law

The charming, funny successor to the hugely popular ‘Notes to my Mother-in-Law’, from the inimitable Phyllida Law.

Following Phyllida Law’s wonderful and acclaimed ‘Notes to my Mother-in-Law’ – which comically and tenderly documented the author’s relationship with her husband’s mother who lived with the family for 17 years – we now have a chronicle of Phyllida’s relationship with her own mother who suffered from dementia. Recently widowed, bringing up her own two daughters (actresses Emma and Sophie Thompson) and working as a successful actress herself, Phyllida went up and down to Scotland to spend as much time with her ailing mother as she could manage. During the period she kept a lively and frank journal noting many of the sad yet funny examples of her mother’s faltering grip on reality. The journal includes reminiscences of her own childhood and the tragic death of her only brother.

This book promises to be just as warm and moving as her first and will also be beautifully enhanced by the author’s illustrations.

Reviews of How Many Camels Are There in Holland?: Dementia, Ma and Me

    • Praise for ‘How Many Camels Are There in Holland?’:
    • ‘Handling delicate material with a clear head and a loving heart, Law manages to turn the stuff of tragedies into the most delicate of comedies … Law’s technique ought to be studied on writing courses’ Telegraph
    • ‘I doubted that I could ever read anything that would make me smile gently at the tragic reality of caring for a beloved family member who slips away before your eyes becoming a stranger. Yet Phyllida Law has provided such a book …’ BOOK OF THE WEEK, Daily Mail
    • ‘Phyllida Law has a delightfully natural style, a gift for anecdote and the knack of seeing the funny side of pretty much everything. Someone so accomplished could write a book about their weekly trip to the supermarket and make it highly amusing … funny, brave and heartening.’ Spectator
    • ‘So much merriment courses through Phyllida Law’s account of looking after her mother … Many of their exchanges belong in an Alan Bennett play’ Daily Telegraph
    • ‘The first thing that strikes you about Phyllida Law’s account of her mother’s descent into dementia is how merry and life-affirming it is. The fast pace gives it the immediacy of a diary and from the first page you are thrust into the middle of the tumbling, loving Thompson family…Not once does Phyllida moan, tears are only occasionally mentioned and always cried in private… It is the ultimate in girl power… the perfect (gin &) tonic’ Express
    • ‘Her and Mego’s exchanges often have the ring of a daffy sitcom. At one point she shouts after her glaucoma-afflicted mother “You haven’t got your long-distance glasses on,” as the latter totters out the door for a stroll. “Don’t worry dear,” Mego shouts back. “I’m not going any distance”’ Independent