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The Leisure Seeker

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,905 ratings  ·  550 reviews
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 ...more
Unknown Binding, Large Print, 320 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by HarperLuxe (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 an ...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4.25* of five

The Robinas got old one day. They couldn't tell you which day, exactly...he has Alzheimer's, she's just old and frankly after a certain point who can tell the days apart anyway?...but it happened, and now, well, The End isn't on the horizon anymore, it's on the to-do list.

Three quotes will tell you all that you need to know about this book. If they fail to appeal, so will this wry, loving, unsparing look at the parade's end.

“We pass a church with a massive blue neon cross, a
The Leisure Seeker: It’s laugh aloud funny, endearing, eccentric, enthralling, edgy, addictive, metaphoric and character-realistic – sometimes uncannily too realistic, thinking of a few boisterous 'golden oldies' couples I've been blessed (and cursed) to know over the years.

But – and that’s a BIG CAUTIONARY BUT - “The Leisure Seeker” is also, at times and often, crass, offensive, irreverent, bawdy, and controversial in tone, theme, ideology, and language. Truly, especially where language is con
Will Byrnes
This is a delightful novel of two old people on their final road trip. She suffering from a variety of terminal illnesses, he in and out of awareness as Alzheimer’s shreds his remnant memories. Sounds grim, but it is anything but, filled as it is with humor, down-to-earth humanity and a very elevated spirit. This should have been as popular as Marley and Me. It deserved to be.
4/19 A friend went to the Chelsea Library Poetry/Book function on Satureday and the author, who lives "near Detroit" was there reading from his novel and signing books.
My friend gave me the book for my "first social security check" Party. I began it last night and couldn't stop reading. Very fun ....if you think getting old can be fun.

4/23 I wanted to savor every mile that John and Ella traveled. They began in Detroit in their old family motor home, the Leisure Seeker and took Route 66 to visit
After 50 years of marriage, John and Ella sneak away from their children and doctors to travel to Disneyland along Route 66, remembering and reliving family vacations from the past. Between Ella's cancer and John's Alzheimer's, they face plenty of challenges along the road as they try to enjoy the time with one another.

This book was an incredible story of meeting life on its own terms right up until the very end. Though parts of the book are laugh-out-loud funny, others will bring tears to your
Karen Germain
My boyfriend and I have a thing where we pick out books for each other as a surprise. He thought that I would like this because it was about two of my favorite things, road trips and Disneyland. What he didn’t realize, is this book was probably the most emotional read I have ever encountered.

Michael Zadorrian write a novel about the end of life. Ella, who is dying from cancer, decides to pack up her RV and take route 66 to Disneyland. Her husband suffers from Alzheimer’s and clueless to her plan
I really enjoyed this journey with Ella & John. He has Alzheimer's and she has cancer. They decide to follow Route 66 for their last vacation against their children's and Drs advice. I laughed so hard, I cried at the humor and predicaments they got into. I just traveled with my parents from Florida back to Wisconsin, and we had plenty of laughter on our road trip. I think it's important to find humor in the golden years! Some would say it's a sad story, but I don't feel that way. They enjoye ...more
I loved every page of this book. I picked it up on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is easy to identify with the characters and easy to fall in love with them. It is the type of book where you laugh right out loud (although I do this easily), but it is also the kind of book that makes you really think. Ella and John have a relationship that seems commonplace yet their love and trust in each other is extraordinary. I have pondered my own marriage a few times since reading Leisure Seekers and ...more
CNA Angel
First I would like to thank Will Byrnes for recommending this book to me.
I have to say I had a hard time with this book. I didn't want to give it less than 3 stars because I don't want to give the impression this is not a book worth reading or poorly written. It was personal reasons.
I work in a nursing home 40 hours a week and deal with hospice and dementia patients every single day (as well as a Grandparent who died of Alzheimer's). Here was my issue with this tale. First off I didn't like Joh
This book was unlike one I would usually read: the main characters are an older couple (one who has cancer, one afflicted with alzheimer's) who travel the USA in their RV.

And although this book was a very fast read, it is filled with emotion... I literally laughed and cried within moments of each other. Not only that, but the book stayed with me for much longer than I am used to... and I would laugh and cry all over again. That being said, five stars is not enough... but it's all I can give.

Lynne Spreen
I am so happy Michael Zadoorian wrote this book that I have to tell you about it. The Leisure Seeker, named after a particular model of recreational vehicle, is about John and Ella, a Midwestern couple in their eighties, fading fast, taking one last road trip. John has Alzheimers and Ella, end-stage cancer. The story is told in Ella’s plain, smart, funny voice (I kept thinking she sounded like Roseanne Barr).
Zadoorian writes with such humor that I found myself laughing all the way through wha
Dee Montoya
Utterly Adorable
After reading this wonderful novel I just want to go out there and live my life more passionately, leave fear behind and just be brave enough to live to the fullest. I often read books about romance, that usually involve attractive characters that are sexy and full of passion; but this time I wanted to expand my horizons and challenge myself a bit. Not say that this novel was that big of a stretch because the story is about love, and what happens after you find the person that
Aug 18, 2013 Carmine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carmine by: KRL One Book, One Community 2013
Shelves: adult
Old, married couple (he has dementia, she has terminal cancer) head out for one last adventure and bicker and fight along the way, but.....they LOVE each other. As they travel Route 66 they will stop at quirky landmarks, meet one dimensional characters and the narrator, the one with cancer, will make a snarky observation. There is really only one question left to answer after page 60 or so...will it be the gun or the exhaust leak in the RV?

Huh. Well, I managed to finish it despite seeing exactly
I'm not sure I'm the right age to fully enjoy this book. I'm still very glad I read it, as it was thought-provoking and eye-opening to a point of view very different than my own.

An ailing elderly couple embark on a cross-country RV road trip, reminiscent of their youth. My grandma recommended this to me because she really liked it. It was heartwarming and funny, but I had a hard time connecting with the characters and some of their actions frustrated me. I still enjoyed it, though, and would rec
Dail Kyle
Apr 01, 2015 Dail Kyle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dail by: Pamela
I read this after recommendations from Pamela Embree-Kyle (my wife/author/& excellent editorial reviewer).... It was a good book with well written first person account from the wife's (Ella) point of view dealing with their 'life's personal end game' and taking back their choices for the underlying medical & life conditions that she faced...And their situation with their two children and their interaction with their senior/aging parents...I felt that this was a real true account of deali ...more

I loved this novel. From the first page to the last page. I loved it. It was romantic and funny but far from chick-lit territory. Zadoorian added enough grit to the characters that they weren't unrealistic or cheesy. The little details made them so alive that they could have walked right off of the page. They reminded me of the way my in-laws would have been if they had had the chance. This is a look at real life and real people and vividly illustrates that varying amounts of aggravation, devoti
Linda Robinson
Zadoorian has the gift that masters of any skill all possess - the ability to make the art seem effortless. Every word enhances the storytelling, every scene creates a deeper understanding of the Robinas and their life journey. The Corel spilling out of the cupboards - the Leisure Seeker careening on 3 inflated tires, like life, blown out, but intact. The projector light wildly scanning the campsite when John picks it up, still running, not unplugged. A teen-aged couple with a new baby that Ella ...more
Sara Strand
This book is a MUST READ. If you read nothing else in your life, you must read this book. I'm so not kidding. It will give you a totally different outlook on your marriage, your parents, and getting old. This book is a really fast read and I did it in under 6 hours and that's probably because I just could not put it down. It is basically the story of John and Ella Rubina who are elderly with a multitude of health probems with the most significang being John with Alzheimer's and Ella with cancer. ...more
Jun 30, 2010 Yvensong rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yvensong by: Book Group
Shelves: library
I read this for a book group, and to be honest, probably would not have read this otherwise.

Zadoorian takes us on a trip from Detroit, MI to California through the eyes of Ella, an elderly woman dying of cancer, who is travelling with her husband, who has Alzheimer disease.

The writing is near flawless as it captures the flavor of a couple of Midwesterners on the long drive along the long-abandoned Route 66 . (I'm from Detroit, myself.) There were many times throughout the book I had to remind m
Ellie Revert
This was a profound book to me. As I am 68 and "not" holding---and as Brent, 70, and I would love to share this final journey......well, let's just say, we loved this book. As I read the reviews, it occurs to me that some of the readers think that our lives will go on forever. Otherwise why is it sad that they both have diseases in their 80's?? The joy of this story is that it allows the couple to end their time on this earth together---after decades of marriage, and laughs and sex, and apprecia ...more

Seeker is a road book. We often hear about road movies but rarely if ever road books. John and Ella are in their eightys. John’s Alzheimer’s dementia is getting worse. He has good moments and bad moments. Ella, dieing of cancer, has decided to stop treatment. They decide to have one more road trip exploring Route 66 which stretches across the states to California. They want to see the ocean and go to Disneyland. Their children are horrified. They even threaten to call the police
John and Ella have lived a long, happy, "regular" life together, but they're nearing the end. Determined to live and not let intertia take them, the set out in their old Leisure Seeker RV to drive from Detroit to Disneyland, exploring the haunts of old Route 66. Even though I am only 31 and have only been married for 1.5 years, I believe this book exposes so much truth about aging and marriage. Seriously. I cried (on the subway) at the end. And the writing is the type that seems so effortless be ...more
Tara Lynn
This was a completely enjoyable book.

A fast read, I finished it in a night, and found that I couldn't put it down until I had. I loved the story of Ella and her husband, on a last trip to find fleeting moments of happiness.

I felt that Ella's frustration with her husband, and the little moments of happiness, both present and future, made the whole story seem so much more real than the general narrative form.

Although the ending was predictable from the beginning, it was definitely fitting, and bi
Feb 14, 2009 Jackie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jackie by: IndieNext list
Instead of riding out the last of their lives in doctors' offices and nursing homes, this octogenarian couple decide to take one last trip in their trusty RV down what is left of Route 66 (sneaking away from their very worried children to do so). This book is a meditation on growing old and facing death--sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, but always ringing with a clear and intelligent voice. She's got end stage cancer, he's got Alzheimer's, but what's important is that they both stil ...more
Dark, big-hearted, gentle yet sharply surprising, THE LEISURE SEEKER by Michael Zadoorian carries the reader through one elderly and ailing couple's marriage as they travel across Route 66 on their last vacation together. I have no patience for books that hide the messiness of marriage, and of life, and thankfully Zadoorian keeps it real even as it hurts. Expect to cry, but that's no good reason to not read this book.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
What a sweet book! Told from Ella's perspectiveMichael Zadoorian captures the spunky 80 year old. She is snarky, tender, strong, and funny all wrapped up in one. She also has cancer and it is rapidly spreading. Her husband, John, has Alzheimer's. We do see glimpses of the man Ella married long ago.

Against the demands of their doctors, Ella and John set out in their Leisure Seeker for a vacation to Disneyland via Route 66. Some of the old iconic road is gone, paved over, but some of it is intact
This is a beautiful book - funny and poignant and all the other things people are saying about it. What it isn't (that the description claims it is) is a book about "two down-on-their-luck geezers." It's a book about two people who have had the privilege of 60 years of love and memories - and the tragedy of old age and illness stealing some of those memories, but not the love. They have enough money and a travel trailer, so they take off across the US on one last trip down memory lane via Route ...more
Ella et John partent en road trip, traversant les États-Unis sur la mythique Route 66. Banal comme histoire? Ça aurait pu l'être. Mais Ella et John sont tous deux octogénaires; elle est au tout dernier stade d'un cancer généralisé, il souffre de la maladie d'Alzheimer. Envers et contre tous, ils s'offrent ce dernier voyage dans le Leisure Seeker (Le Cherche-bonheur en français), le camping car qui les a accompagnés pendant tant de voyages en famille.

Je crois que je n'aurais pu terminer l'année s
I confess that when I read fiction I tend to steer away from the “mainstream”. I like fiction that is off the beaten track and generally I am not much for the NYT Bestseller List. I picked this book up because the description seemed quirky and interesting and I do enjoy reading authors who don’t have tons of book published. What intrigued me about this book was taking a trip down the old Route 66 and trying to remember a time when people did not fly all over the world for their vacations, but si ...more
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Is there a movie too? 1 16 Jan 11, 2013 11:38PM  
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Michael Zadoorian was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of two novels, THE LEISURE SEEKER (William Morrow) and SECOND HAND (W. W. Norton), which was an ABA Booksense 76 selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award finalist, and the winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. His story collection THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT (Wayne State University P ...more
More about Michael Zadoorian...
Second Hand The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit On the Clock: Contemporary Short Stories of Work

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“You spend your life so worried about what others think, when in reality, people mostly don't think. On the few occasions when they do, true, it is often something bad, but one has to at least admire the fact that they're thinking at all.” 7 likes
“Why does the world have to destroy anything that doesn't fit in? We still can't figure out that this is the most important reason to love something.” 5 likes
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