Two senior citizens hit the road for a last hurrah. She has cancer. He has Alzheimer’s. They’ve been married almost sixty years. They’re sharing a Leisure Seeker Van, and a lot of memories.
She packed the slide carousels featuring their lives, and a gun. He didn’t pack enough clean underwear, because he doesn’t care about hygiene much anymore. In fact, he’s having a hard time remembering her name, although he always calls her the love of his life.
This book made me laugh and cry. There is little dignity in American aging, but then again, dignity is where you find it. Like when a flat tire strands our two seniors alongside a deserted road, and the two men who approach them with a tire iron aren’t there to help. That’s when Ella gets her purse out of the camper and her gun out of the purse, and threatens to blow the boys away if they don’t leave them alone.
That kind of dignity.
Also, there’s the dark humor that Ella can’t drive their 1978 camper, so her dementia-driven husband does. When she forgets to take the keys, he drives away.
Zadoorian writes snappy dialogue and sarcastic sentences with style. They’re short, they’re smart, they’re fun. Sometimes you go from sob to laugh halfway through one.
And there’s the lovely symbolism running through the book of Route 66 versus the highway, and how they choose convenience or high life, or adventure over convenience, as we have all been doing all of our lives.
The ending is inevitable. Trigger warnings may apply. If you live life on your terms, that includes how you decide to go out. Disneyland may be a good destination, but it’s not the final one.
Highly recommended – these characters aren’t just driving the plot; the plot is driving. I loved this book. (Do yourself a favor and DO NOT watch the film. Trust me on this.)