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Publisher's Summary

In Michael Zadoorian's The Leisure Seeker, the Robinas have shared a wonderful life for more than 60 years. Now in their 80s, Ella suffers from cancer and 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 and 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, you can go back for seconds'' - even when everyone says you can't.

©2009, 2011 Michael Zadoorian (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

Critic Reviews

"Ella's wise, feisty voice turns what could be a sappy melodrama into an authentic and funny love story." ( Publishers Weekly)
" The Leisure Seeker is pretty much like life itself: joyous, painful, funny, moving, tragic, mysterious, and not to be missed." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about The Leisure Seeker: A Novel

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A perfect end!

What a fantastic ending! I'm still in shock, and a good, amazed one.

I absolutely loved this story, so poignant, so sweet (okay, maybe bitter-sweet here and there) so inspiring. I'm so happy for reading this book, the end was just perfect.

The audible edition is superb. I was sure Judith West was in fact an olde lady, the way she narrated it all the way like Ella herself, but when she said "This is Judith West, we hope you've enjoyed..." I was taken aback! Her voice is young! How she managed to read an entire book sounding like an 80 year old woman is beyond me. This is talent, I tell you that!

4 people found this helpful

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RV, Baloney, Wonder Bread, Profanity, Moxie, Love

Ella is the kind of woman I hope to be if I ever make it to my 80s - minus the cancer, of course. She’s tough, independent, and progressive while being sweet, loyal, and loving. Her devotion to John is endearing. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything for us, or for him. She lies, she bitches, she yells, but all the time, it’s because she loves him and she copes with his Alzheimers in a way that proves that saints don’t have to be sappy little doormats who never complain.

She has to take care of herself while John remains oblivious to her condition. And her kids! They have taken over as the “parents” in the family, and Ella wants nothing to do with it! I love it! I’m not sure how it would resonate with younger people, but for someone nearing 50 and starting to worry about aging parents and aging husband and self, it was a welcome story peppered with an older woman’s reflection about life and society and “progress.”

It’s a cautionary tale for the children of older people (don’t condescend to those who know what they want and know how to get it, and have every right to do so!!) and a challenge to the aging (don’t just accept what the doctors and the naysayers tell you - grab what life is left!).

I can’t imagine a different narrator. While I wasn’t thrilled with John’s voice or the kids, I wouldn’t trade Ella’s voice for anything.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish, from the first paragraph to the last. It never sagged. This is a story about a couple, Ella and John Robina. They have been married over fifty years. They are both in their eighties. Both are sick: John with Alzheimer’s and Ella with cancer. So they must decide what to do with their lives. Yes, Ella was sure! They needed a vacation. What could be better than to take Route 66 again, that route that they so often traveled when they were young and the family was four, before the kids left home? While they travel they haul out their projector and slides and look again at their lives. They have cocktails, grill their food, snooze, take little naps and drive all the way to Disneyland in California. She has her little blue pills.

Does that sound sad and depressing? Yes, I supposed it might, but think, they are both in their eighties and they have had good lives. It is not hard to believe that the book could prove to be thoughtful and down-to-earth and wise. But the author goes one step further and makes it very, very funny. I laughed on every page. I did. You laugh and you smile and you shed a melancholic tear occasionally. Mostly you laugh and maybe think a teeny bit about how you want to live your own life. The message is not all that astounding. What is astounding is the humor embedded in the story. Yes, I really did laugh out loud and exclaim as the events unfolded. You see the book is more about living and enjoying life than about its end. Ella and John and the characters they meet on their travels are very ordinary people. The conversations are so classically ordinary that you cannot help but smile. There is quite a bit of irony in the humor.

I listened to the audiobook. The narration, by Judith West, was superb. Ella’s voice was of a spunky old woman, and John had a crusty, solid baritone. When the narrator spoke for them it felt like I was overhearing a true conversation between two old geezers. When I think now of Ella, I know how she sounds and that is Ella. The same is true of John. Voice says a lot about a person. The narration gets five stars.

So why only four stars for the book? Well because the situation is in fact not extraordinary. It felt so real, such a perfect description of two old geezers. Does that means it is worth five stars? To perfectly capture this old couple, their lives and their dialogs, their sorrows and happiness and fear? It is all there. It is just a personal thing, I think; I would more readily give a book filled with real facts, that is also engagingly written, five stars. My head tells me this is all wrong. Maybe it is the author that builds a story from nothing, that creates with his words an imaginary world, that seems genuinely real that is the most talented? I did enjoy every minute listening to this audiobook. Heck I will give it five. Why not? It is not amazing, but I really did love it. I didn’t just like it a lot. It was better than that.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic Book, Fantastic Listen

I'm in my late twenties, and while thoughts of getting older weave in and out of my brain, they aren't a major concern since I'm busy. (I'm so busy, that I bought the audiobook!) Listening to Ella's story of her life gives a lot of food for thought about aging, life and marriage. She's a funny lady, and I loved getting to see the world as she does. I loved this story about a last hurrah, and will be recommending it to my family and friends!

2 people found this helpful

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Good narration Good story aging issues

This is an interesting journey to take with the main character who I came to the conclusion was a born narcissist. Hmmm. That is not a criticism but a fact from my POV anyway. I found myself sometimes relating to her trials, sometimes questioning her actions, and sometimes just not agreeing with her choices. Like having her very physically limited in mind and body husband drive across the states on our highways so they could take a final trip together because she needed a chouffer, mostly because she couldn't drive well, and if there were one thing he was good at even though he couldn't remember who she was or where they were, it was driving. I felt so sorry for the poor confused man quite a few times. Once vowing to give it up, return it and get my money back from audible. Because irresponsibility just grates on me, in any form, especially when it involves imposing and affecting even effecting the lives of others...not only her husband's, but anyone and everyone who happen to be on the highway or along side it.
That said, there are several areas of love and aging that are rather poignant and some things that are good to open up and address.
I'm glad I read it, also glad I'm done with it.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

Where does The Leisure Seeker: A Novel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Great listen for us geezers. It brings our lives into focus, and delivers wisdom to ourselves and our children

1 person found this helpful

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I could relate

There is no happy ending here, but the trip is filled with fun and laughter. I could relate to the issues of aging and dealing with death, cancer and dementia. And while those are grim words and issues, the author has been able to bring out the other side of the coin as well, which is that even in dealing with these things, there is joy and laughter. The narrator did a good job with the voices as well, making the plot more believable. The story appeals to what we all hope for in our old age, one last big adventure.

1 person found this helpful

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Happy ending

Very well written book and the ending made it worth reading thank you! Happy reading!

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A tear jerker!

As a (young) third age couple using a campervan, the audiobook was read during our one of our campervan motoring trip.
It was really hit us home as we exchanged comments such as "imagine our kids reaction....".
We did, later on, purchase the movie version which was a bit "trimmed out" version of the book.
Highly recommended to all and especially to camper/motorhome enthusiasts!

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Great first Audible

As my first Audible book I really picked a great one. It was hard for me to put it down. The narrator's voice fit the character and it's a struggle for me when it comes to the narrator's.