|Published 27 January 2009|
Michael Zadoorian's 2009 novel introduces readers to a mature couple driving from Chicago to LA--against the advice of their adult children and their doctors.
Nevertheless, these two are determined to have the time of their lives--one last, big adventure. Well, maybe it's Ella who has decided since John is living with Alzheimer's Disease.
Ella has her own challenges as someone battling cancer. Her thinking is clear, but she's weak and can't drive. John still remembers how to drive, but almost everything else is fading away.
In the evenings, Ella jogs his memory by showing him slides of family events from days gone by: birthday parties, family reunions and even road trips when the kids were smaller.
As with other novels depicting dementia, there are passages about the function and value of memory:
"What is truly amazing is that before you know it, sixty years go by and you can remember maybe eight or nine important events, along with a thousand meaningless ones. How can that be?" (p. 175).
Their adventure is punctuated with a few dark spots. Every time they call their adult kids, they get chewed out. They meet a couple of shady characters on the road. And predictably, John's memory as well as Ella's weakening body cause them a few snags.
Despite the limitations of age, these two are determined to live life on their own terms, even if it goes against convention.
Books about Dementia
Movies Depicting Alzheimer's Disease