I don't think that the elderly are represented in books and movies nearly as much as they should be. It's a shame the way they are often treated in this country, neglected and forgotten by their families, often seen as a burden. I used to visit an older woman regularly and I loved to listen to her talk about her childhood in rural Alabama on a cotton farm. I felt that I had a lot to learn from her experiences as the youngest of 10 in a poor rural Southern family. Reading The Route reminded me of the time I spent with her.
Carol has reached a point in her life where she needs to find something to do. Her children are grown and no longer need her as they did when they were young. As she says, "Fifty makes you think. Thirty makes you morose, and forty makes you panic, but fifty makes you think. Half a century, and what is my life? Does it resemble anything I dreamed at sixteen, or expected at twenty,or hoped at twenty-five? What am I doing here? " As I get closer to fifty, I have wondered about the same things that Carol does. I understand the need to make my life mean something more than just being a mom and cleaning the house. I know, I know, being a mom is the most important thing anyone can do but it isn't really enough at times. When Carol sees an ad for volunteers to take meals to the elderly, she realizes that she needs to do it, that this is a way to make a difference in the world.
At first Carol sees her volunteer work as doing something good for the senior citizens on her route but along the way she realizes that they bless her life too as she gets to know and appreciate each one of them. Some of them are harder to appreciate than others, tending to be rather cranky, others are sweet, and still others are fun. Even the cranky ones touch Carol's life and she finds her feelings towards them changing.
I really enjoyed reading this book and my only complaint would be that it is too short. At only 175 pages, it is a very fast read. I would have loved to have another 100 pages or so about their backgrounds, personalities, and families.
The Route can be found at Amazon and Desert
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