Susan Rizzo Vincent, with the help of her daughter Andréa Rizzo, has written a heart-wrenchingly beautiful novel about tragedy, death, cancer and the strength and love it takes to move on. Dréa’s Dream: An Unfinished Dance starts in 2011 with Susan looking back over her life – the decisions, the heartbreak, the triumphs and the love that have gotten her to where she is now. As she walks along the Santa Monica boardwalk, Susan reflects over her life on the East Coast, her daughter Andréa and the potential for new beginnings.
From there, we are taken far into her past. Vincent exquisitely illustrates the life she had with her daughter Andréa, a dancer, dreamer and doer. Andréa suffered childhood cancer and spent her first couple of years at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City. Susan and Andréa Vincent write of their triumphs and tribulations related to learning disabilities and health problems. Susan writes with clarity and poise as she delves into the deepest parts of her soul in order to reveal the most vulnerable moments in her life. Vincent ends each journey and chapter with a set of reflections and a personal poem or an anecdote from Andrea.
As a graduate of Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, where Andréa went to school, I have witnessed first-hand how much The Andréa Rizzo Foundation has touched the lives of others. Many of my former classmates participate in a dance recital twice a year at Salve and are able to raise money and awareness for the foundation. It was a coincidence that I was able to speak with Susan and share this connection with her.
The Andréa Rizzo Foundation and Dréa’s Dream Pediatric Dance Therapy Programming have helped so many children with special needs and cancer. I could appreciate the moments in the story when Susan felt closed off and needed to grieve alone. It is almost like you are on the journey with her of feeling every thing she does. My favorite parts of the book are when Susan points out special instances where dancing changed a child’s life. Her writing places you in the scene and you feel as though you are watching a child or struggling young adult feel happiness in their darkest times through the dance program. As Susan says in the dedication, “We Dance On.”
Dréa s Dream: An Unfinished Dance was published by Aerdna & Nasus. It is available for sale and can be ordered online at SusanRizzoVincent.com