Blue Hydrangeas is a book reflecting the struggle of a family with Alzheimer’s. When you learn that you are going to lose everything you know due to this illness, you are terrified and sad. But is it harder on the victim of the disease or the loved one’s who now have to make decisions they hoped they’d never have to make?
Sara is informed that she is developing Alzheimer’s. From Jack’s point of view, Sara’s husband, the reader is drawn into the dilemma of an elderly man trying to take on too much as his wife’s condition deteriorates. We worry with Jack when Sara disappears from time-to-time; our hackles raise when the doctors and social workers and his own children insist it is time to find more permanent care for his wife. From Sara’s point of view, we get a sense of the disorientation, fear, and discomfort of losing the most recent memories, never quite knowing where she is or who she is with. Both characters are stubborn and strong, trying to force their lives to work out as they planned even though things are clearly not going their way. Along the way, we delve into the thoughts and worries of various family members.
A particularly stirring chapter describes Sara getting lost on her way to the market just a few miles away from the bed and breakfast the couple operated. Having visited Cape Cod a few times, I’m familiar with the winding roads and how easy it is to get lost from turn to turn. I understand the feeling of looking at road signs and trying to remember what turn goes where. Being unable to find your way home would be terrifying.
Narrated by Eleanor Bell, the audio version of Blue Hydrangeas is well-voiced, giving the characters a range of inflections that enhance the story. The drama reaches out and grabs you, as well as the sorrow and heartache, and the wishfulness that things were different.
The story reminded me of something that might be found as a made-for-TV movie on a family-friendly channel. The story brings further awareness to this devastating illness.
This book receives 4 Stars.
For more about this book, see the previous post by Guest Author Marianne Sciucco.