LOVE IS TWO PEOPLE TALKING by Charles H. Banov MD. Part of what drew me on was the storyline, another, the easy, fluid writing and short nature of the novel, but another part was how this author's gentle soul, faith, and experiences found their way onto the pages of his novel. I literally couldn't put it down and only did so briefly to put my children in bed.
Sam Geller is an 80-year-old widower who finds he has Parkinson's disease. Narrated through honest eyes that tend to seek out the bright side, Sam slowly comes to terms with the changes of life that this disease presents. Still active and driving, his car keys allow him to continue to work at his pawn shop every day and turn him into a "chick magnet" for the over 70 set. He spends time with good buddies and remains determined to live life as fully as his circumstances will allow.
When he must finally move into his son's house, he begins to spend time with a 25-year-old granddaughter, Peggy, who lives with Rhett syndrome, a form of severe autism in which she screams often for no reason and cannot handle physical or eye contact with others. The sweetness of the story is that as Sam's disease progresses, he finds a very unexpected blessing in it all. Because of his disease, he and Peggy form this other-worldly unspoken communication, and the love between them deepens.
I remember giving a writer's seminar at the Charleston main library two years ago, and Dr. Banov attended. The workshop was entitled "Write Your Heart Out," and I shared tips on how to write authentically that story that only we can tell. Dr. Banov told me after that seminar that he was writing this novel loosely inspired by his own experiences with a daughter with Rhett syndrome, and I can remember feeling chills as he did and telling him that this was certainly a story worth telling. I am pleased beyond measure to report that Dr. Banov did indeed write his heart out in this novel. LOVE IS TWO PEOPLE TALKING is time well spent. It's a novel about fathers and sons, life's challenges and blessings, and learning to communicate in whatever language our loved ones speak. It is an inspiration to read of a man who's Jewish faith and honest check of himself, allow him to rise above pride and ego and disease, to live with joy, no matter what life brings.