Publication Date: 2009
Challenges: Support Your Local Library Challenge #14
A few years ago I read Michael Zadoorian’s first novel (Second Hand) because I needed a Z author for an A to Z reading challenge. It was funny, sad, quirky, and unique and a book I enjoyed. So recently when I heard he had a new novel out, I was able to get on the library waiting list early.
Ella and John Robina are a couple of octogenarians who have run away from their kids and their doctors for one last vacation together. They pack up their small RV (The Leisure Seeker) and leave their home in suburban Detroit headed for the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland via Route 66. The trip is complicated by the fact that Ella has cancer and John has Alzheimer’s. He can still drive and she can manage the navigating so they still make a good team even though part of the time he can’t remember her name. Ella narrates the story with a sharp sense of humor.
You yourself might ask: Is this the best idea? Two down-on-their-luck geezers, one with more heath problems than a third world country, the other so senile that he doesn’t know what day it is – taking a cross-country road trip:
Don’t be stupid. Of course it’s not a good idea.
Along the way they spend many evenings watching their own history by aiming their slide projector at a sheet pinned up on the side of the RV. The journey is not without it’s perils, but along the way the reader along with Ella and John remember their long marriage as well as some of the history of the famous Route 66.
The love between these two is clear as is the mutual frustration and even anger caused by the roadblocks of their illnesses. The story follows them and the road to what feels like an inevitable conclusion and along the way are moments that are sad, funny, ironic, heartwarming and even tragic.
Zadoorian has once again written a book I enjoyed but have a hard time pinning down. It hits many emotions and is a bit odd and quirky along the way. I’ll be looking forward to his next book.