John and Ella Robina have shared a wonderful life for more than fifty years. Now, in their eighties, 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 to steal away from their home in suburban Detroit on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery.
With Ella as his vigilant copilot, 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. Yet 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 you can’t.
John and Ella have a beautiful and timeless love for each other. Even amid all John’s confusion and Ella’s “discomfort” they cling tightly to each other because they’re all that they have.
Ella is determined to have one last vacation together while they can. Packing up their RV they head out on Route 66, a trip they have taken before in another lifetime. Determined to reach the end of the road, they plug on a few hours at a time before they get tired and have to stop for a rest.
John likes to stop at McDonalds. He loves burgers. But Ella, weak and nauseous from the cancer can’t hardly stomach them anymore. Sandwiches and soup back at the campsite is more her thing.
When evening comes they drag out the old projector and watch slides of old trips on the side of the RV. John doesn’t always remember his children’s faces but he has to smile at the happiness of the family projected before him.
I recognized so much of my parents in this book, and sadly, even though my husband and I are in our early forties, much of ourselves too. This book tugged so tightly on my heartstrings I felt I was being pulled by some unseeable force.
Liberally sprinkled with humor over the many pratfalls, hijinks’s, and mayhem they get into on the open road, The Leisure Seeker is a bittersweet love story of two wonderful people in the twilight of their lives. 5/5 stars