Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review of GENEVIEVE: Based on a True Story...

This is an inspiring novelistic treatment of the biography of a remarkable woman who triumphed over her disabling multiple sclerosis. Written by one of her daughters, Mary Laurienti, and one of her grandsons, Jerry Laurienti, it tells of the life-long struggle of a gallant, usually cheerful even playful, woman whose motto was, “Mrs. Can’t Never Tried,” exemplifying to all who knew her what it means to show grace under pressure, through her courageous persistence despite pain and disability. Readers will be impressed and inspired.

Multiple sclerosis [M.S.] strikes about one in a thousand in the USA, twice as many women as men [suggesting a connection to the X chromosome]. This auto-immune malfunction ranges in severity from occasional annoyances to full-fledged quadriplegia, the condition my own wife has endured these past ten years. On the average it shortens life an estimated half-dozen years. The most common type, the relapsing-remitting version that Genevieve battled, can cause its victims to become bedridden, but often they can recover partly over months or years, as she did. As we get older, we are more and more likely to know someone with multiple sclerosis, although a minority choose to hide it, rather than risk adverse consequences in the workplace.

The marriage of this heroine and her husband survives the stress of her severe disability and of separation due to his difficulties finding work during the Depression and World War II. Genevieve’s determination to preserve their union is matched by Martin’s, and the novelists make clear that he is much to be admired, too. Without her extended family’s help, particularly the care of Genevieve and of the children, her survival and flourishing would have been nearly impossible.

Actual writings of the people on whom the story is based are included and the authors add an epilogue telling the reader how several main “characters” fared after the period covered by the book. The novel format allowed use of descriptions and dialogue that could not reliably be claimed to have been remembered.

Interesting, informative, inspiring, this story is well worth reading. The authors deserve our thanks for this tribute to an extraordinary woman and her fine family.

No comments:

Post a Comment