Sunday, February 8, 2009


by Michael Zadoorian

Call it the ultimate road trip, or perhaps liken it to THE BUCKET LIST, Michael Zadoorian presents a poignant, humorous, tender tale that the reader can tell must be drawn to some extent from personal experience. THE LEISURE SEEKER is a love story woven around a couple with such warmth and care that they will haunt you for a long time, but in a way that you will welcome each time you think of them. Their somewhat ironic story is so well written, with just the right touch of humor that you will laugh out loud, cry, smile, and want to tell those close to you all about it.

Ella and John Robina have shared a life for over 50 years and so now in their eighties they ‘run away from home’ leaving behind their grown children and their families, a medical team bent on treating Ella’s incurable cancer and John’s Alzheimer’s, and their beloved Detroit. Their journey will revisit the places and trips from their past that they shared with their children and friends as they make their way to their ultimate destination, Disneyland. Ella feels Disneyland is the perfect place because, as she says “After all, at this point in our lives, we are more like children than ever. Especially John.”

Ella, is spunky and not worried about John’s dementia as she says, “It’s all right. I’m the keeper of the memories” and feels they will be fine because “Between the two of us, we are one whole person.” John drives their seasoned 1978 Leisure Seeker RV and is quite capable and in fact seems better driving for hours on end as he is increasingly less lucid during normal everyday activities. Ella, meanwhile, has not driven in over 30 years, so she is the navigator and seeks out all the kitschy, tacky tourist stops along their chosen path of travel on Route 66 to California. Popping Pepcid first, they eat at several Route 66 Diners, but McDonalds remains John’s favorite. From the start of the route, Ella throws caution to the wind, along with her wig, as she enjoys the sun on her almost bald scalp after so long without this feeling of freedom. Museums, giant “must see” statues, ghost towns, Stuckey’s and the famous pecan log by day, and by night at their campsite, Ella and John relive their life together through old slides that they project on a sheet. This is more than a “Kodak Moment”; this is a retelling of their love story, of their lives together. Park neighbors venture by and share in the love and courage these two people have lived through as the cinematic interpretations flash across the simple screen.

With many a mishap, as well as much joy, the Robinas make it to Disneyland as each of them, especially Ella, exhibits rapidly declining health, the increased dependence on medication to treat Ella’s “discomfort”, and John’s lack of hygiene and control, physically and mentally. What happens at their final destination is told with such care by an author who clearly knew his subject and how to tell about it.

With Michael Zadoorian’s beautifully phrased descriptions, such as when he describes the campsite in early evening for Ella by saying “Twilight slips in like a timid creature”, one knows they are holding something special in their hands. The ending will come too quickly for the reader as it truly is a book you can’t put down. I read it in one sitting and it left me with much to ponder, appreciate, and continue to contemplate even after I closed the book. The ending is affecting in ways, while remarkable and fitting in others. Do not miss this book as it is a joy to treasure and makes it quite clear why Michael Zadoorian was selected for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers after only his first book, SECOND HAND. What shall Mr. Zadoorian be selected for after this superb second novel? You decide as I already have!

Submitted Originally to BOOKIN' WITH BINGO by K. H. (Bingo), February, 2009


Cheryl said...

This sounds like a fun book. I will have to add it to my list to check out

Bingo said...

Cheryl, It is a GREAT book! It will make you laugh and also make you tear up a little. It is the kind of book you hate to see end!

Ladytink_534 said...

This sounds so good! Many people in my family when they got in their 40's-50's traveled all over the US.

Off Topic: Of course you're allowed to make up awards! The one I made up is called You're Tink Approved and has a little pic of Tinkerbell on it. Just make it somehow reflect you our your blog. Thanks for being so nice!

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Bingo said...

Thank you for the info! I shall check it out!