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"The Frederich Sisters Are Living the Dream" | Reviewed by Susan Ferguson

The quirky novel, “The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream, by Jeane Suzy, is about sisters growing up together and growing apart. It’s also a story that spotlights the struggles of being a caretaker.

The book opens with Maggie , the youngest of the three Frederick sisters, receiving a phone call from the ER in Maryland that her sister Ginny has sepsis. Ginny, the middle sister, is diabetic but is addicted to sugar. Ginny is intellectually disabled but has been living independently at the family home in Maryland. She is now wheelchair bound and must temporarily go to a rehabilitation facility.

Maggie, the responsible sister, moves Ginny to a facility in upstate New York, a move that’s against Ginny’s will. The oldest sister, Betsy, disagrees with Maggie’s choice, but she doesn’t really help, or want to participate in Ginny’s care. Betsy is busy surfing in California and thinks Ginny should be allowed to make her own decisions.

The novel is narrated by Maggie. She is overwhelmed and has recently separated from her husband whom she still loves, is raising two teenage sons, is a freelance illustrator who is always being asked to make last minute changes and is now Ginny is her responsibility. Maggie is always questioning her decisions, did she do the right thing? Could she have done more? Is this best for Ginny?

The story of the Frederick sisters covers four years and shows the struggles that many families go through when caring for a loved one with disabilities. Often the care falls to one family member and not everyone in the family will always agree. Readers get an inside look at the ups and downs of being the family caregiver, but also an inside look at how much the disabled member of a family enriches your life.

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