ISBN 0929141237 English
Cover Illustration by Greg Ruhl
Book and Cover design by Pamela Kinney
Thirteen-year-old Mark Rogers knew that his Grandpa Luigi had Alzheimer's but he hadn't counted on it turning his life upside-down. When his mother suggests that the two of them move in with Grandpa and help care for him, Mark reluctantly agrees because his grandfather has always been something of a hero to him. He doesn't know, however, how strange Grandpa's behavior has become or that the kids in his new school have a nickname for him: Crazy Luigi. For a while, Mark gets work delivering fliers on Wednesdays, but when his grandfather wanders away from home the job turns into a disaster. And when Randy's bullying keeps Mark from delivering his fliers, his boss finally has to fire him. Later, however, the boss comes up with an idea for job-sharing the deliveries that solves several problems.
"Whoa , Mark! Isn't that your grandfather?" A black and white police cruiser was parked at the curb outside my building. Jason bent down for a closer look.
At first, the glass in the window only reflected our two bewildered faces, pale and pinched from the bitter March wind. Then my heart sank. It was Grandpa. How could he do this to me? Again.
"Mark Rogers?" One of the officers got out to the car onto the sidewalk.
"Look, Mark," gulped Jason, "I gotta go. Okay? I'll call you later." And he scurried away up the street.
It wasn't that Jason was a chicken or anything like that. He just knew how to stay out of unpleasant situations. I was glad it had only been Jason with me. He already knew about my grandfather. I was glad it hadn't been Nicole or someone else I was trying to impress. Not that Nicole Somers would be walking home with a shrimpy kid like me anyway. But I sure didn't want any of the kids at school to see my grandfather getting out of a police car. In his pajamas.
I could feel my face burning with shame as I led the officers up to our apartment.
"Must've walked all the way over here from his place," one of them said, waiting while I unlocked the door. "Found him wandering around about three blocks away."
"Have your mother call us," the other officer directed, seeing us both safely inside.
I closed the door and stood leaning against it, looking at my grandfather. I never used to feel pity for this man who sat here now on the couch, his thin, brown hands resting on his knees. Once he had been my hero.
"Leavey has written a perceptive novel about dealing with Alzheimer's and the effects of this illness on a family. She handles Mark's frustrations and his mother's exhaustion and emotional trials realistically, and balances their problems against their memories of Luigi as he was before the illness."
Copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. August, 1995
"The strength of this story lies in its honest depiction of life with an Alzheimer's sufferer. It weaves facts about the disease into the plot in a non-didactic way that will help middle-grade readers understand and sympathize with such problems. Parents and teachers looking for a way to introduce children to the subject will find this a useful tool."
Copyright © Quill and Quire, February, 1995.
Recommended reading by the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
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