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Healing with humor

"I started to transcribe old journals. Things started to come to me. My mother's a funny person, so some of the antics for the stories made me think of other ones and that's where the concept for the book came from," said Perone. "Instead of individual stories or vignettes, it started to look like the chapters of a book."

Her mother is "vibrant" with a no-holds barred attitude. That combination makes for some surprising stories, said Perone.

For example, on of the very first experience Perone turned into a chapter for the book occurred on a drive home from Connecticut after her sister's chemotherapy treatment.

"We were driving back and [my mom] said to me, 'I forgot to tell you something,'" said Perone.

She cringed, because after all, how much more bad news could one family take?

"She told me that she'd told my sister she could have my eggs," said Perone.

At first, Perone was confused by the random and somewhat odd statement. Then she realized what her mother meant and she burst out laughing.

"At a doctor's appointment with my sister they told her chemo might destroy her eggs. She'd just had a baby so going from having a baby to being diagnosed with cancer to maybe you won't have any more children," said Perone. "Part of my mother's personality was to be practical and focus on the big issue and that was fighting the cancer, so she told my sister 'Don't worry about the eggs, you can have your sister's eggs.'"

"Vacuum Like No One is Watching" tells similar stories about Perone's mother's reaction to situation and life.

"It's very funny in some parts and poignant in others," said Perone. "I found the more I wrote about her reactions, I realized how deeply it helped to form the way I deal and cope with problems or issues or life."

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