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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Route by Gale Sears

For me, reading The Route by Gale Sears was a sweet, sweet experience.

Gale Sears has artistically created a unique form of memoir with The Route. This is a true story veiled in fiction to protect the “innocent”. She takes us on a tour to explore what it’s like to work as a meal provider for the elderly and infirmed. That doesn’t sound all that exciting in a “me” centered world, but it was a journey I intend to walk with her over and over again. She did an excellent job of showing how fully satisfying service-- and life-- can be.

Sometimes the journey, both in life and in the story, can be hard. Very hard. But it is gracefully balanced with moments of joy that keep the trials in perspective.

I laughed, I cried, I came away satisfied and inspired. To me, those are key qualities in an exceptional book. This is a quick, comfortable read for a Sunday afternoon. I’m betting you won’t regret your time on The Route with Gale Sears.

This is a book that belongs on the shelf of every Relief Society president and elder care provider. For that matter, it belongs on the shelf of anyone who’s ever questioned whether or not a little bit of service can make a difference.

Whines and complaints about this book? Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I’d say I stumbled a little bit with the introduction. The writing felt flighty and rambling at first. It distracted me for a few moments. But, I was totally won over by the time I finished the first page of chapter 1. Oh, and I was sad it was so short. (Well, okay it wasn’t that short but I wasn’t ready to close the book on my new friends quite yet.) Great job, Gale!

Just to add a little personal touch to this review I asked Gale to answer a few questions for me. Here are her answers.

  • When did you first realize that your service was more than just something to do?

I think I knew by the end of the first day. These dear people were so appreciative of just five or ten minutes of my time. It amazed me.

  • If you could have changed one thing about your time delivering meals, what would it have been?

I never wanted my route to change. At one point they were going to change me to an entirely different route, and I put up such a fuss, that they only changed a couple of people. I know I would have grown to love the new set of seniors, but it just goes to show how attached I'd become to my 'regulars'.

  • Was there someone on your route that you wish you would have been able to include in your book but didn’t?

There was one woman who had a lot of cats. I didn't include her because her story was a little too sad for the telling.

  • Okay, honestly, how was the food?

It was mixed. Sometimes it was good...other times, yucky. In fact a couple of times I was embarrassed to drop the meal off. I wanted to add chocolate pudding or a big dish of cold peaches.

Can you feel her sweet spirit? You’ll find that in abundance in The Route. I would also highly recommend becoming a regular visitor to her blog. This month she is featuring daily insights on service. It’s a great place to spend a few minutes of your day.

Don’t forget to leave a comment here on this post (and visit as many other stops on her blog tour route that you can to leave comments- see my sidebar for details) in order to be entered in a drawing for a copy of The Route. And thanks to Walnut Springs Press for inviting me to participate in the tour. This one was a completely inspiring pleasure.


Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Thanks for telling us about Gale's new book. She's one of my favorite authors.

Wendy said...

I didn't realize she had a new one out. I think I have most (maybe all I have to double check) of her other books.