________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number IX . . . . August 11, 1995

Help Wanted: Wednesdays Only

Peggy Dymond Leavey
Toronto: Napoleon, 1994.
109pp, paper, $6.95
ISBN 0-92914-23-7.

Subject Headings:
Alzheimer's disease-Fiction.

Grades 5 and up / Ages 10 and up.
Review by Lorraine Douglas


I'll look like that someday, I thought. Everyone said I took after Luigi Cecchini, except he had thick black hair and mine was red, like my father's. Grandpa and I had the same wiry body, not very tall, but strong as an ox, they said. At least, he had been once. I'd seen him lift a crate of cabbages onto his shoulders as if they had been feathers.

Mom had given him those pyjamas for Christmas. There was a little blue snowflake design in the white flannelette. Like a little kid's.

"How come you didn't get dressed today, Grandpa?" I asked.

"I get dressed, Frankie. I always get dressed."

"But where's your coat? It's freezing outside."

Frankie was my mother's brother. He'd been killed in a motorcycle accident before I was even born.

"Mom will be home at five," I sighed. "You want to watch T.V.?"

Mark Rogers is thirteen years old and embarrassed by his grandfather Luigi, who has Alzheimer's Disease. Luigi is often found wandering on the street; he is so confused he wears two pairs of pants and cannot remember his family. Mark's mother decides the best thing to do is move in with Luigi, a decision that throws Mark's life into turmoil -- he has to change schools and leave his friends. And, because Mark is small, he is a frequent target for Randy Smits, a bully in the new neighbourhood.

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.

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.

The presentation of the book could have been improved with more attention to typesetting in the text and the selection of a more appealing typeface for the cover title.


Lorraine Douglas is Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364