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The 86-Year-Old Orphan
Tessie won the prize. A long life. Why didn't she always feel like a winner? She had led a charmed life. She was young and beautiful, shiny and new, once. Had the world at her feet. She would walk into a room and every head would turn. Now people avert their eyes, especially when they see her wheelchair. She didn't plan on becoming old, but her it was. Why couldn't people just let her age? Why couldn't she let herself age? Follow Tessie from Brooklyn, to career, to family, and finally to a new life in Arizona. She always felt she should boom where she's planted and that's what she intends to do. Can she make a new life for herself at this age and in this place with new love, new friends, and new family?
Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.00 out of 10


Plot: Bellizzi’s novel is a melancholy story of an elderly woman reflecting on the events of her long, illustrious, and eventful life.

Prose/Style: The prose is balanced and clear, if somewhat dry in its storytelling style, relying upon stating the protagonist’s circumstances and emotions rather than allowing them to unfold organically through action.

Originality: A novel of looking back with longing, The 86-Year-Old Orphan is unique in its intimate, poignant focus on one individual’s life circumstances.

Character Development: Although Tessie’s narrative does not always fully come alive on the page, readers will surely empathize with her struggle to reconcile old age with what once so vibrantly was.

Date Submitted: August 14, 2020

Literary Titan


"Tessie always knew that getting old was part of life. What she didn't expect was how quickly it happened. Or that she would be spending her golden years in Desert Twilights, the assisted living facility in Arizona, across the country from her home, her family, and everything she had ever known. As her 86th birthday approached, Tessie seemed to spend more and more time reflecting on the life that had led her here, even as those around her were often doing the same. She was comforted by memories of what was, as much as she was haunted by thoughts of what could have been.

The 86 Year Old Orphan by Catherine Bellizzi is a heartfelt, and sometimes heartbreaking, look at aging. It explores how hard this natural process can be to face, the different attitudes people take toward it, and the different paths that lead people to what is, eventually, the same place. When we're introduced to Tessie, she has been at Desert Twilights for three years already, but faced with her upcoming birthday, falls into a bout of nostalgia that is stronger than usual. Via frequent flashbacks, Tessie's life is shaped, from her tumultuous childhood as the daughter of immigrants, through her early hopes and ambitions, on to the expected role of housewife and mother. While Tessie expresses very little regret for her life's decisions, she naturally wonders how things might have been different if her choices had taken other routes and different points. Her fellow residents at Desert Twilights are similarly introduced, both in their current situations and earlier years, and although they have all followed drastically different paths, they have all ended up spending the ends of their lives together.

The 86 Year Old Orphan touches on a variety of themes, ultimately focusing on acceptance, and the fact that life experience isn't so much what happens to you, but your reaction to those events. Over the course of the story, Tessie has a renewed sense of self discovery, and comes to realize that the best way to live the last years of your life is to be as happy with the present as you were in the past, despite the gulf of differences that might exist between the two.

The 86 Year Old Orphan began a little slowly, and as a result I wasn't sure if it would be very interesting, but it gained steam quickly and before long I was completely invested in Tessie's life, wondering where it would go from here. I cried more than once as well! Bellizzi has written a beautiful story that will make reflect on your own life, past, present, and future." - Literary Titan

President of publishes her first novel


The 86-Year-Old Orphan by Catherine Bellizzi, President of has just been published to rave reviews

By: Seminar Information Service, Inc.

HENDERSON, Nev. - July 15, 2020 - PRLog -- Catherine Bellizzi, founder and President of has put the Covid-19 quarantine to good use and has written her first novel "The 86-Year-Old Orphan" available on Amazon.

Recently reviewed by Literary Titan with a five star rating this novel explores the trials and tribulations of a woman as she reaches the final chapter of a life well led.

Bellizzi's main character Tessie has done all the right things in her life - marrying the love of her life and raising 4 children who are now fully grown and living lives of their own. She has ended up in the assisted living community of Desert Twilights where she reflects back on her life and the life choices she has made. Forgotten by her own children she begins the path to creating a new life for herself surrounded by others who may have made different choices but are now her peers.

Bellizzi explores this difficulties of aging we all must face. Based loosely on her own parents she looks lovingly at the process and brings joy and tears to the journey.

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Seminar Information Service