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Book Review – “Five Minutes of Amazing” by Chris Graham

We are very pleased to share with you our first book review from our YPWD Library.  Our thanks on this occasion go to David Fisher who is one of the charity’s Trustees. David took ‘Five Minutes of Amazing’ by Chris Graham and has provided his in depth review below.

If you like the sound of the book following David’s review you can borrow the book from our library. All you need to do is to email and we will mail the book to you.

Book Review – “Five Minutes of Amazing” by Chris Graham

The title says it all!  A 38-year-old, long serving army veteran, still in the prime of his life with his career marching out ahead of him, and a pregnant fiancée, suddenly finds that he is the proud owner of the “daft gene” – a rare genetic form of Early Onset Alzheimer’s that has seen his father and brother reduced to a shadow of their former selves, and ultimately an early death.  The news turned Chris’ world upside down – his army career finished, a future with his beloved Vickie threatened and a baby son facing the ultimate genetic possibility of inheriting the “daft gene”. 

So, what does he do? Sit around, bemoan his fate, wallow in his misery?  Oh no!  He decides to cycle around Canada and the USA on a ten-month, 16,000-mile, long-distance charity bike ride, raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research and the Army Benevolent Fund.  And this is his challenging story.

“Sure, one day this cruel disease was going to turn round and bite me on the arse, but for now I was fit and well and making this once-in-a-lifetime adventure for a great cause”.  He couldn’t do it on his own though.  With a suspect memory, occasionally muddled thinking but a gritty determination to succeed, he depended heavily on his girlfriend Vickie (mother of his newly born son Dexter) to guide him from afar on his journey courtesy of modern-day communications and the internet – finding accommodation and amending his route as daily circumstances sometimes made itinerary changes necessary. 

His method of transport – the good steed Shirley, a sturdy bicycle and trailer, with panniers to carry food and clothing - agile but at the same time unwieldy with the trailer.  Self-sufficient for his solo journey carrying food and drink, specialist supplies of vitamins, a one-man tent and cooking implements, he headed out. His army friends backed him up with support and encouragement, contacts made throughout his career helping him by providing occasional stopovers on his travels, meeting and making friends with hundreds of people along the route – all combined to help him achieve his goal and win the hearts of thousands!  But he was on his own and dependent upon muscle power, his wits – and Vickie – to get him to his destination!

This book tells that story in his own words – a gritty, evocative glimpse of the journey through dementia and towards an end that was as inevitable to him as it was challenging.  A book that is both easy to read yet hard and emotional to put oneself in his shoes, to see life through his eyes.  Not difficult to see the challenges he faced yet detailed here as if it was just another day.  Cleverly and bravely written it sucks you into the heart of the cruel adventure that his life was taking him on.  And it leaves you full of admiration for a man who refuses to let his dementia rule his life. 

In his own words – “If in doubt, take life one day at a time!”


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