Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Know Someone with Hepatitis C? Fiction Highlights!

Dr. Melissa Palmer in her foreword of Loving Joe Gallucci thanks Kate Genovese, for "authoring a book which portrays the human drama that flows from a diagnosis of Hepatitis C.  I wholeheartedly agree!

Meet Joe Gallucci. Joe is a "tall, six-foot lean hunk, with beautiful brown eyes, long black hair pulled back in a ponytail, and a construction worker's body." (p.2) He was also a drug addict, alcoholic and abusive man. Meg fell in love with him at first sight! She knew him as Jimmy Romano.

When Meg Flaherty met Jimmy through her sister Lizzie in 1970, she asked that her sister put in a good word to him. Lizzie quickly responded like she knew the rest of her family would--"He's not your type." Indeed Meg was from a well-known, influential family and she knew that her father would never consider Jimmy as a suitable young man to call on his favorite daughter.

Meg and Jimmy had their own lives to live, only seeing each other briefly until in January, 1976, Meg admitted to herself that she was in love with him. But during those years, several important things happened to Jimmy--foremost his father had been killed in a fire at his work, where he had stayed inside to save the furniture the company made, rather than leaving and saving his life. Jimmy, who had just begun to get close to his father was devastated, and even more so, when his father's brother took over the company and informed Jimmy he no longer had a job. Jimmy knew he was being cheated out of his share of the company, but had no way to fight against his uncle. Jimmy also stopped seeing his long-term girlfriend, unable to share his grief with her and doing the only thing possible, turning away from the relationship.

During that same time, Meg, having worked too many long hours, accepted a ride with a man she vaguely knew was a co-worker. As soon as she was in the car, he almost immediately started beating her and planning worse, for he had been stalking her and waiting for the right opportunity! This traumatic experience affected her life, her family and her work. But it was during that time that Jimmy made contact and talked to her about his feelings for her.

Two individuals, who were wrong for each other, in everybody's eyes but their own, fell in love and ultimately married. Jimmy and Meg had children. The lack of acceptance of Jimmy by Meg's father, in particular, continued to plague him through many years, even when he became successful in his business.But there was always love between Jimmy and Meg to keep them going.

And then Joe Gallucci once more came to visit. He brought back the sins of the past, not only on Jimmy but also on his young son! And suddenly it was a life-and-death matter!

Genovese has done an exceptional job; the book is fiction based upon a true story and is much more--a "love story" that will capture your heart, whether or not the book is totally true or supplemented for drama's sake. Her characters quickly become "someone you know" and the actions and dialogue of the son, in particular, are memorable and thought-provoking when he adopts the very same addictions of his father as he tries to deal with his father's health.

You may know somebody who has liver disease and will want to read this book. It will be of help. But the book is well written and can be a self-help support to anybody who has experienced trouble within married life and prayed that love would see them through! Because of this, all romance readers just may find Loving Joe Gallucci a "must-read."