Book Brief: A Year on Planet Alzheimer

A Year on Planet Alzheimer
by Carolyn Steele
Genre: Memoir/Travelogue
70,000 words
What happens when a single parent from London, England heads for Canada to care for an elderly lady in case it’s fun?

Described by readers as a cross between Bridget Jones and Bill Bryson, A Year on Planet Alzheimer is almost the story of an adventure. It isn’t quite a travelogue, despite being largely about places. It would be dereliction of duty to omit to pass comment on the remarkable ceiling at Vancouver Bus Station for example or the shattering discovery that they don’t turn Niagara Falls off at night.

Neither is it really a psychological exploration of living with dementia, despite the title. It is almost the story of a child…what happens when you tell a nine-year-old that travel broadens the mind? What does travel do to a nine-year-old mind?

Mainly there is life and the sheer unexpectedness of the way other people live it. Not just the snow dump but the incredulity this odd pair of travellers generated by wanting to see it. It could be the story of an adventure with a few more shimmering sunsets dancing over majestic waves. There are some majestic waves, naturally, but they are more obsessed with meatballs. It is therefore the story of an escapade.

This title is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK.
Carolyn, how did you come up with the title for your book? Does it have any special meaning?
‘Planet Alzheimer’ was coined by a friend, whose husband had dementia, as we compared disasters by email one day. My lady, Zuscha, had tried to scrub her hands with a razor, her husband had locked her out of the house. It summed up our lives and made us laugh…thanks Glenys.

Who was your favorite character and why?
Zuscha, is the obvious 1st choice, for her irrepressible good humour and all the laughs and lessons. I also sort of adore the couple I was so nasty about at the time that I had to give them nicknames…Hinge and Bracket. They generated many enduring family jokes, I’m grateful now.

Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
The message I planned was just, ‘don’t dream about it, go and do it,’ but readers tell me it has more to say. Apparently it is a treatise in getting back up when you fall over, allowing yourself to be human and the wisdom of laughing at absolutely everything.

What would/could a reader or reviewer say about your writing that shows they “get” you as an author?
That they hadn’t realized their lives were interesting. People who tell me they never thought about the snow dump before, or won’t ever look at a groundhog the same way again, have picked up my glee that everyone’s normality can be fascinating and funny to someone else.

Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
“This is the wonderful story of what happened, what didn’t happen and what almost happened. It’s a poignant, funny, chatty, brave and inspiring book.”

Where can people learn more about your writing?

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