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Review of This Ragged Grace by Octavia Bright

This Ragged Grace is a beautifully written memoir traversing Octavia Bright's experience with alcoholism and her father's decline into dementia. Bright charts the similarities between how they each lost themselves: her to an addiction that made her seek danger and self-destruction and her father to a diseased mind that robbed him of his memory and then his agency.

What I loved about this book was the intricacies of their father-daughter relationship and how heartbreaking it is to see the parent-child dynamic turned on its head. Octavia discusses how difficult she found the shift between seeing her father as someone to rely on and have extensive meaningful conversations with to someone who depends on her for basic care. It's a love letter to him (and indeed to herself) that is written with brutal honesty and astonishing self-reflection, not missing out the messy bits in the face of shame nor grief. I always think it is a testament to the power of a book when it provokes a physical reaction to the reader, and I found myself crying through the end chapters here. I can't recommend this enough as a memoir that will move you. I know it will stick with me for a long time.

Review by Abi.

This Ragged Grace was published on 01/06/23 by Canongate.

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