Pip Desmond’s family memoir, Song for Rosaleen was launched in the presence of a packed crowd made up of family, friends, and readers on Thursday 12th April.
Marion Castree of Unity Books was on hand to attempt to catch the attention of a bustling crowd before handing over to Nicola Legat of Massey University Press to introduce the book. Marion and Nicola both acknowledged the importance of Pip’s work in bringing attention and openness to her subject matter.
Song for Rosaleen is a memoir of a family coping with their mother Rosaleen’s progressing dementia and the myriad of practical and ethical dilemmas they faced. It was fitting then that Pip was joined by many of her extended family, including her brother Matt who she asked to launch the book. Matt spoke with both forthrightness and sensitivity about the difficulties of writing about such a personal experience, one belonging collectively and privately to a family. His sister, Matt said, was the only person he could imagine having the perseverance and compassion needed to see such a challenging job through to completion. Matt noted the international audience the book has already gained, and the requests for translations from various friends and family across the globe. Pip and Matt were joined by Rosaleen’s brother Des to officially launch Song for Rosaleen on behalf of the whole family.
Pip followed Matt at the microphone to thank, among others, her meditation group, choir friends, her support within the dementia community, colleagues from the academic community, and Massey University Press. She shared warm memories of her mother, including her Tamarillo chutney, which titles the second chapter of the book. There was even a tiny jar of the famed condiment for everyone to take home and enjoy as a tangy tribute to Rosaleen.