by Marianne Sciucco
What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name?
“A very well written account of the heart-rending experience of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and the whole family’s involvement.”
“As a caregiver for my mom it was nice to read the look from the caregivers point of view. Thanks for this book.”
“This book just showed up in front of my eyes one day when I needed it so much yet didn’t realize it . As I began reading I could tell why felt the story reach deeply into a part of me that nothing else had even come close to touching.”
CIR: What inspired you to write a book about Alzheimers?
SCIUCCO: One day at work as a hospital case manager, I met a fascinating couple who were in their 80’s. She was a lovely woman, so pretty, and had Alzheimer’s. I’d ask her a question and she’d try to answer but then say, “Oh, I’m so mixed up,” and laugh, quite charming. Her husband was frail, an amiable sort of guy, and devoted to her. The discharge plan was for her to go to a local nursing home for rehab (she’d broken her pelvis). Her son was present and he told me to make sure his parents didn’t leave the hospital without him the next day; he planned to take them to the nursing home and check her in. Later on, I couldn’t stop thinking about them, wondering what would happen if they left the hospital without their son. Where would they go? What would they do? Thus, the seeds of Blue Hydrangeas were sown, my wild writer’s imagination took off, and the story began to grow.
CIR: What was the writing process like for you?
SCIUCCO: I spent eleven years writing this book. It sounds crazy, I know, but after I finished what I thought was the final draft and sent it out into the literary market place with no takers, I continued to tweak it, cutting scenes, adding others. In the midst of all this, I developed repetitive strain injuries from an inappropriate computer workstation at my job, and everything just stopped. I could no longer write. I put everything aside for a couple of years. But, the story haunted me, and when I was able to I continued to revise and rework the manuscript. Two years ago a friend suggested I publish on Kindle and I figured I had nothing to lose. It took me a year to prepare and publish the book.
CIR: What would you compare this book to?
SCIUCCO: Many people tell me the story reminds them of Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. It does share many of the same elements – Alzheimer’s, the husband’s devotion to his wife, the family’s not understanding that devotion – but it’s also different. Blue Hydrangeas does not go into Jack and Sara’s early days or when they fell in love. It’s more about her illness and its effect on their lifestyle and relationship. My book is unique because there aren’t many novels about Alzheimer’s, although 5.5 million people are suffering from it right now.
Lia London, host of this site, has read this book and found it to be very true to her own life experiences. See her review here.