About the Wonders in Dementialand
Violet walked into church with a bloody eye attracting the attention of a group of church ladies. Everyone hovers over Violet screaming “She’za ben mugged.” The ladies call 911 and Violet is taken to the hospital. Ellie, one of the church ladies calls Suzka in California and tells her of the accident suggesting she catch the next flight and come home. When Suzka arrives the doctor tells Suzka that her mother has meningitis-encephalitis causing rapid dementia and cannot live alone. Suzka is the last person you would think to be a caregiver however, there was little decision-making at this point.
Wonders In Dementialand – a quirky, meta-fictional memoir. The book is composed of 350 pages with oddly connected sections that range from flashback memories of something that might have actually happened to pure fantasy. The story is narrated by the daughter – an artist with a dry sense of humor and an irreverent interest in conventional life. The reader is alternately enveloped in the daughter’s view of a world she lives in and her interpretation of the circumstances around her. It reads as part memoir, part fantasy, and part creative interpretation from an artist’s observations.
The architecture of the book is noticeably whimsical. Parts are pure imaginary created in the mind of Suzka who metaphorically humanizes ‘dementia’ mirroring a male character named Skeeter – an uncommon approach. Violet meets Skeeter in a port-of-crossing terminal. As Violet attempts to cross the border, she trips and falls in the arms of this handsome suitor. The suitor takes her away to exotic and alluring places that Violet keeps secret. Like a schoolgirl, Violet is smitten and scared. But Skeeter (similar to dementia) is persistent in pursuing Violet. Other parts have dreamlike processions and hallucinatory imagery depicting the facade of life with a fragmented potpourri of characters. Large balloons with cartoon faces of the Cookie monster, Dora, Betty Boop and Miss Kitty parade themselves about everywhere making all the craziness palpable and even mysterious at times. It’s funny and sad and touching at the same time. Yet through this book there shines the light of an authentic truism. Nothing is trivialized the delusions, the paranoia and the discombobulated conversations are still there.
From Suzka talking with the ghosts of Picasso and Giacometti to Violet dancing with dementia’s gypsy ladies that visit her in the night, the innovative prose style lets the reader glimpse into the life of dementia’s two newest strangers through unexpected lenses.
Wonders in Dementialand breaks through the stigma of dementia, which is now being called the defining medical concern of this generation. Today more than 47.5 million are living with dementia worldwide. Multiply that number by the family members and caregivers affected by dementia directly, day in and day out, and you have a universe of people… living in dementialand. It’s a subject that matters.
– Days turned on us and went in and out of their time. All the clocks threw their hands in the air in war-weariness and deserted their posts. The mornings played with the evenings, afternoon showed up for breakfast and the sun worked for the moon at night, Our past surrendered to the moment; a past that didn’t stand a chance of remembering itself in an environment so filled with living fully in every minute. The future, the virtue of hope was nonexistent – ’now’ was all holy.
– Quote from Wonders in Dementialand