Last month, a woman at my book club announced the title of our next book. She had selected The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian. She said she'd chosen it after reading a review in a newspaper. "It's about a couple in their 80's who take a trip in their small camper. She has cancer and decided to have no more treatment. He has Alzheimer's." At that point, another member said, "Oh gee, that sounds like a really cheery book!"
Turns out that woman loved the book and so did I. It is filled with humor, irony, and, yes, some sad moments. It's also amazing in the observations about life and all it serves to us, like it or not. Ella, the wife narrates the story while her husband, John, drives them from Detroit to California. Ella has had it with doctors, hospitals and treatments. She wants one more trip for the two of them. She prepares and leaves without informing her two adult children as she knows they'd veto the trip in a hurry.
Off they go in the '78 Leisure Seeker camper, follow the old Rte 66, stopping at ghost towns and tourist attractions, meeting a host of people along the way. John still remembers how to drive, with Ella's guidance as to where to turn. They reminisce, they laugh, they fight. Ella is in charge and John cooperates most of the time. Ella functions on little blue pills that ease what she calls her discomfort. I found myself cheering these two eighty-somethings on. I knew the book could not end with They lived happily ever after, but it did end with a terrific line.
It's possible that only people of the senior citizen variety would find this book appealing, but I think it might be a good read for those who have older parents, too. It might help them understand what the ending stages of life are all about.
Bittersweet might be a good way to describe the book. My friend, who had made the remark at book club, told me she can hardly wait until we gather to discuss it. You can read more about the novel at Amazon.