I learned about The Leisure Seeker reading the CBC list of books becoming movies in 2018. The novel was written by Detroit author, Michael Zadoorian, shared the journey of an elderly couple who kidnapped themselves and headed on a cross-country trip destined for Disneyland. I had never heard of the author, or the book, but sometimes these lists have some great gems.
Ella and Jack had been married for almost 60 years. They had spent many cross country trips in their vintage leisure seeker (camper van) in their younger years. Ella had been diagnosed with cancer and Jack had dementia. Between the two of them they managed but both experienced the challenges of their diagnoses. Ella hid her pain from Jack who has brief moments of lucidity but at times drove her crazy with his repetitive questions. He did recall bits of their past and remained able to drive them through deserts, busy highways and mountains – all the way from Michigan to California.
Their middle aged children were frantic and begged them to come home. They threatened to call the police but the couple were steadfast in their wish to enjoy their trip through memories as they watched old slides and driving down route 66. Despite their challenges they were full of spunk and determination.
I enjoyed the sentiment of the book and it is one that I will ponder and wish that I could share more without providing a spoiler. I think that the tale might suit itself better to a movie. Donald Sutherland seems like the perfect Jack although I am not sure if Helen Mirren will quite suit the plus sized Ella with her thinning hair.
One thing that puzzled me was the discrepancy between the detailed descriptions in the book and the front cover. It seemed odd that the narrative described the leisure seeker as a camper van while the front cover which showed a tow along camper. Not only that, but Ella was described with thinning hair and a wide backside yet the book has two healthy looking seniors in leisure suits, both with abundant hair. This seemed to a disturbing miss yet I know that authors often have little say relating to the covers (and titles) of their books.
Overall, I did enjoy The Leisure Seeker. I am not sure that I will head out to the movie theatre but will watch for this one when it comes to Netflix.