Dadland, Keggie Carew, Chatto & Windus, £18.99 ISBN: 978-1-784-74076-4
YOU love these people from the first page – and you will be a little scared of them, too. Scared of becoming them, either of them: the grown-up child and the dad with dementia.Keggie shows father Tom a photograph: “Who’s that?” You! “The man with the pipe?” Yes. There’s Mum with Nicky, there’s Patrick in the middle, and that’s me. “You were sweet once.” In five minutes he will have forgotten and we can do it again.Parachuted behind enemy lines in France as part of the Second World War Jedburgh guerrilla operation – motto: Surprise, kill, vanish – Captain Tom Carew is a maverick Irishman who caused havoc in Doubs on the border with Switzerland.His Jedburgh training taught him raw snails were just as tasty as oysters and, unfortunately for Keggie, how to pee anywhere, anytime, anyplace – even in her garden. He won the Croix de Guerre and, later, the nickname ‘Lawrence of Burma’ for fighting the Japanese.As Tom’s life falls apart memory by memory, Keggie is picking it up again and her storytelling is spell-binding. Effortlessly readable, it is a delight combining laughter – and tears, yes, quite a few of those.