The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream

Exasperating family dramas take center stage in The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream, the dynamic, episodic debut novel from Jeannie Zusy. Three middle-aged sisters are bonded by family history. The oldest, Betsy (aka "Bets"), is a free spirit; single and independent, she runs a successful surfing school in California. Ginny, the middle sister, lives in Maryland. A 56-year-old, sugar-craving diabetic and retired high school janitor, Ginny reads and writes at a third-grade level, but her intellectual disability doesn't hinder her from conniving to get what she wants. And Maggie, the youngest, is a dutiful mother of two grown sons. Living an hour north of New York City, she works as a successful storyboard artist for TV commercials and is separated from her husband.

The women's parents are deceased but left ample finances to provide for Ginny's care and well-being. When she is hospitalized after overindulging in Jell-O, Maggie comes to her rescue. Maggie's good intentions are met with opposition when she relocates Ginny, under duress, to a nursing home in Westchester County, N.Y., where Ginny refuses to live with "old people." Betsy wants absolutely no part of--or say in--Ginny's caretaking. Maggie is caught in the middle, forced to juggle familial demands as she struggles to manage her own midlife crisis along with Ginny's and Betsy's. All three women are at personal crossroads.

Zusy's funny, bittersweet story is rife with emotionally dramatic scenes where Maggie's witty, first-person narrative adds levity to serious, tender themes about family, sisterhood, commitment, caregiving and love. -- Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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