Columbia University Movie Press Release
Leeza Gibbons interview
Did Cerasoli just make Alzheimer's disease hip?
If by "hip" you mean relevant, current and something everybody is FINALLY going to talk about, then yeah, As Nora Jo Fades Away hit the mark.
How does a writer transition from hard-core romantic fiction to a heartbreaking memoir with barely a year between them? By remaining true to one simple quality, the raw-truth-trait that exemplifies her writing style. After luring us through her award-winning debut novel, On the Brink of Bliss and Insanity with stark wit and mad fascinating characters, Cerasoli surprises us with the true story of life with her ailing grandmother.
Life shifts from Michigan to Mars when Lisa and her family move in her grandmother, Nora Jo, upon diagnosis of dementia. The Weavers quickly discover the "comicals" of Nora Jo's condition bring a whole new realm of "crazy" to their offbeat but copasetic abode, driving it into full-throttle Darwinian mode. It's officially "Survival of the Fittest" at the Weaver joint, and even the dogs are contemplating a nice, quiet exit to "the farm." But it doesn't stop there. This illness is mainly a series of "tragedies," and the struggle to get through the cruel "daily grind" plays on every character's emotions, but none more than Lisa's.
This memoir is "the inside scoop."-a no holds barred account of the reality of Alzheimer's disease. The good news is Cerasoli's brave enough to tell it. The great news is, you won't want to put it down. The best news is, in the words of Thomas C. Adler, author of Campingly Yours, "This book will touch millions." And that's the point. As Nora Jo Fades Away is a great read with an even grander cause: to create action and awareness.
suggested interview questions
- Your debut novel, the award winning, On the Brink of Bliss and Insanity was "an ultra-hip modern-day romance" and was pure fiction. It established you as a writer of "Chick Literature." Now you come out with a heartbreaking memoir. What prompted this drastic shift?
- Explain how you began the process of writing a memoir compared to that of a work of fiction.
- As Nora Jo Fades Away is written in the first person, thereby making it both biographical and autobiographical. Did that present any challenges?
You were described by your husband in this memoir as Mother Teresa, Janeane Garofalo and Sybil all rolled into one. Are those his words? How does that make you feel?
- Unlike other books of this nature, both the cover and the content of the memoir leave the reader feeling like they're reading really good fiction. Was that purposeful?
- You have been compared to Diablo Cody, J.D. Salinger, Bret Easton Ellis and Elizabeth Gilbert. How do you feel about the comparisons?
- I understand that Nora Jo... has also been written as a pilot for television under the title "Confessions of a Caregiver." Who do you see playing Nora Jo? Lisa? Pete?
- We've learned A LOT about your strengths and weaknesses as a woman and caregiver, and your struggles as a wife and "Midwesterner." Do you feel exposed?
- You wrote On the Brink of Bliss and Insanity while taking care of your dying father. You wrote As Nora Jo Fades Away while in the throes of "living the book." Do you need "focus" during the writing process, or do you thrive on turmoil?
- What other projects are you currently working on?
- When you're not writing, what else are you up to?
WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?
After luring us through her award winning debut novel, On the Brink of Bliss and Insanity with stark wit and mad fascinating characters, Cerasoli surprises us with the humorous and heartfelt story of life with her ailing grandmother. The Weavers moved in Nora Jo upon diagnosis of dementia, and life as they knew it shifted instantaneously from Michigan ... to Mars. It's officially "Survival of the Fittest" at Chez Weaver, and even the dogs are contemplating a nice quiet exit to "the farm." But the comedy is only surface deep. As Nora Jo Fades Away will make your heart and mind wrestle, as Cerasoli's does, with concepts like Heaven & Hell, and love vs. logic. This story defies the definitions of patience, fear, frustration, shock and ultimate acceptance. And it redefines the price a family is willing to pay for one of its members to hold onto dignity.
WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK UNIQUE?
Cerasoli writes with a beatnik style that, with this subject matter especially, will break barriers. Her distinctive in-your-face honesty and dark humor, combined with an innate inability to manipulate the reader, brings fresh compassion to a grim subject people have been tap dancing around for years. This is not just a page-turner, this will change the way caregiving is perceived, and ultimately place some serious attention on an incurable disease that is in dire need of it. It also pays tribute to a wonderful and courageous woman, is incredibly relevant to our time, and gives Alzheimer's Disease a revitalized awareness. The face of this book is not just Nora Jo, but Lisa's entire family. The victims are not just those who are diagnosed. This illness affects hundreds of millions of people. Cerasoli gives deep insight into her personal experience and trust me, you will laugh and you will cry. But mostly, you will learn--and become better for it.