Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team.
It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined.
And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the
veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa?
If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.
Review – No Spoilers
Gabe, an 18 year old high school student finds himself in the difficult position of becoming the main carer for his Grandpa who suffers from Picks disease, a form of Alzheimer’s.
Told from Gabe’s point of view we are given a glimpse of what life as a young carer is like for many people, juggling school, a part time job and friendship with the heavy responsibility of caring for someone who used to care for you. It is a real eye opener and I was so proud of Gabe by the end of the book, he doesn’t always make the right decision but everything he does is based on the love he has for his Grandpa and not wanting to break his Dad’s promise to him.
The story is told in the present day with flashbacks from Gabe’s memory given to us in the form of personal essays which I loved. It gave us a little more back story and a chance to get to know Grandpa as the man he was before this terrible illness took a hold of him.
Gabe’s relationship with his best friend John is beautiful. There is one stand out moment where John really stepped up with a maturity unexpected from a young man and throughout the story he tries to get Gabe to see reason and make the right choices. For Gabe, burdened by grief and responsibility to his parents, its harder to see what the right thing to do is and he comes close to throwing his whole life away for his family.
All the characters in this book stand out and have their own issues. Uncle Nick appears unannounced after years of no contact, to help look after Grandpa though he ends up needing looking after a lot more than actually helping Gabe. Sofia, the tattooed punk rocker Gabe meets in the hospital waiting room, proves herself to be a good friend despite going through her own family problems.
Being a YA novel this book has it’s fair share of teenage angst and drama. As a 31 year old woman I doubt I am this books target audience and I did find some of Gabe’s actions frustrating at times. Despite the many baseball references which went slightly over my head, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it provides a real insight to how an illness like Alzheimer’s affects a whole family.
When a book has ‘Sad’ in the title you know you won’t be ending it dry eyed. This is a sometimes funny, sometimes sad story of a young boy who loves his Grandpa and will do everything in his power to keep him safe.
I give this book 4/5 stars
I really enjoyed being a part of this book tour and would like to thank Jenny for her fab organisational skills and for gifting me this book in exchange for a full, honest review.
About Frank Morelli:
FRANK MORELLI has been a teacher, a coach, a bagel builder, a stock boy, a pretzel salesman, a bus driver, a postal employee, a JC Penney model (see: clerk), an actual clerk (like in the movie of the same name), a camp counselor, a roving sports reporter, and a
nuclear physicist (okay, maybe that’s not true). At heart, he’s a writer, and that’s all he’s ever been.
His fiction and essays have appeared in more than thirty publications, including The Saturday Evening Post, Cobalt Review, Philadelphia Stories, Jersey Devil Press, and Indiana Voice Journal. His sports-themed column—“Peanuts & Crackerjacks”—appears monthly at Change Seven Magazine.
A Philadelphia native, Frank now lives near Greensboro, NC in a tiny house under the trees with his best friend and muse, their obnoxious alley cats, and two hundred pounds worth of dog.