On Mother’s Day, my one true wish was to go to our new bookstore in town and spend the afternoon by myself, perusing, reading, and purchasing a few items. I had probably close to 30 books stacked around me at one point, but I made notes of a few titles and put most of them back. One book I could not leave behind, however, was Michael Zadoorian’s The Leisure Seeker. It tells the tale of John and Ella, a couple of octogenarians facing the end of life’s road. John is afflicted with Alzheimer’s and Ella has terminal cancer. They are being pressured by doctors and their children to accept certain treatments and living situations which are unacceptable to them.
Thus, John and Ella pack up and sneak off in their old camper, The Leisure Seeker. John still holds a valid driver’s license and has not lost the ability to get into the driving groove. They head to Chicago and decide to follow the old Route 66 as much as possible and to head to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Along the way, they encounter lots of different and interesting people, reminisce about the old days, and see the sites the road had to offer.
Driving the old Route 66 is something I have long thought of doing. I think it would be a lot of fun to drive “the Mother Road” across country someday and have some of those memories to share with my daughter when she is old enough. So this was a great book to read just because I enjoyed hearing about John and Ella’s experiences during the actual travel portion of their stay.
But it was also a great story in general, a story of love, the failings on the human body, family, friendship, memories, and time. I deeply loved both John and Ella. Ella was a no-nonsense kind of broad who kept her husband well in hand when his condition made him seemingly unmanageable. While you never know the pre-Alzheimer’s John, the glimpses you get of him make you love him anyway, and his “addledness” was deftly described to give you a real picture of life with Alzheimer’s.
I’m thrilled I bought this book. I gave it 4 stars on GoodReads and I know it’ll be on my shelf for some time to come. It also counts towards the Twenty-Ten Book Challenge under the “Who Are You Again?” category, which I believe fulfills my requirements for that category. Here’s what I’ve accomplished on that challenge so far:
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnston
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
Shiny and New:
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine
Older Than You:
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susanne
“Who Are You Again?”
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Riegler
The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian
Up to You!
Crackhouse by Terry Williams
Almost half-way done with this challenge. I need to get moving on some others!