Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just Musing

Yesterday I finished my new book from Library Journal and it's a winner. The first draft of my review is written and I'll let that sit for a day or two before I tweak it and submit but, I've got to tell you, keep your eyes open for a new novel by Mackenzie Ford. It'll be out in July and it has everything going for it. When the review is published, I'll link to it and you'll get to find out more.

The subject is archaeology and so much more. It's of particular interest to me ever since my trip to Athens last fall where we learned about the controversy behind the building of the new Parthenon museum and the long-standing argument for the return of the Elgin marbles to their rightful place in Greece. At face value, it seems only right to me, but then I'm not a person who condones the ransacking of other nations for their antiquities. Who are we, after all, to decide which countries are "responsible" enough to keep their own treasures?

Maryellen introduced me to a new spunky, outspoken character that I'd love to share with you. She is Ella Rodino, kind of a blue collar Olive Kitteridge, who narrates the delightful, thought provoking story by Michael Zadoorian called The Leisure Seeker. Now that I've finished it, I understand why Maryellen thought it would make a good, and apparently it was,  controversial book discussion that resulted in strong feelings being shared. Andrea thought it was too sad whereas I thought it was an uplifting book about the power of being your own person and living life, as much as anyone can, on your own terms.

Ella and her husband John have had over fifty years together, sharing the best and worst that life can throw at any of us. They have wonderful, caring kids and they still have some fight left in them even though John is in the throes of Alzheimer's disease and Ella suffers from metastasizing cancer. Rather than waste away in a hospice or let the physicians dictate her final days, Ella decides that she and John will pack up their ancient RV, the "Leisure Seeker" of the title, and head west on route 66, recreating long past family vacations, until they reach the Pacific.

Zadoorian hits all the right notes, filling his novel with a perfect blend of pathos and humor. Ella and John are real people, folks I think I actually know and their banter and bickering as they drive the thousands of miles from their home in Detroit, through the desert, to the coast left me laughing and teary all at the same time. I can't wait to recommend this book to my friend and tennis partner Cherri who has been trying to educate me for years about the strange, conflicting results of Alzheimer's disease on the brain. I highly recommend it. Thanks Maryellen!

Next up, Chris Bohjalian's latest novel, The Secrets of Eden.


Anonymous said...

So glad you liked it!

Anonymous said...

Sally, I just took a break from Cutting for Stone to spend a few hours reading The Leisure Seeker. Having read so many books about Alzheimer's, and cancer, and road trips, I didn't expect much new. To my surprise, I can't put this out of my mind. It must be a gift to be able to decide to ignore all medical advice and just "go". I was astonished at the mix of humor and sadness, and grief. The tone was priceless.