Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian

Flap Copy from ARC:
John and Ella Robina have shared a wonderful life rich in memories for more than fifty years. In their twilight years, Ella suffers from cancer and has chosen to stop treatment. John has Alzheimer's. Yearning for one last adventure, the self-proclaimed "down-on-their-luck geezers" kidnap themselves from the adult children and doctors who seem to run their lives and steal off on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery. With Ella as a co-pilot, John steers their '78 Leisure Seeker RV along the forgotten roads of Route 66 toward Disneyland in search of a past they're having a damned hard time remembering. Ella is determined to prove that, when it comes to life, a person can go back for seconds- sneak a little extra time, grab a small portion more- even when everyone says "impossible."

This book was an incredible story of meeting life on its own terms right up until the very end. Though parts of the book are laugh-out-loud funny, others will bring tears to your eyes. Watching John and Ella deal with their individual challenges while trying to be strong for one another, I couldn't help but be on their side against their children and doctors as they sought to take an illicit trip down memory lane.

The ending (don't worry- no spoilers here) was not a surprise; Zadoorian did such a deft job of his storytelling that it seemed natural and understandable. I felt connected to each of the characters (even the children I couldn't side with) and was truly invested in the story. This is a wonderful book that deals realistically with the issues of breast cancer and Alzheimer's, life and death, love and loss. Strongly written, extremely empathetic, this is a highly recommended fast read.

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