This funny and endearing novel of family, secrets, and aging follows an elderly man who heads off on a joyride with a new young friend—who may have some secrets of her own.
Aging Herb’s charmed life with his dear wife, Susan, in their Key West house is coming undone. Susan now needs constant care, and Herb is in denial about his own ailing health. The one bright spot is the arrival of an endlessly optimistic manicurist calling herself Renee. She sings to Susan during manicures, gets her to paint, and brings her a sense of contentment.
But then Herb and Susan’s adult children arrive to stage an intervention on their stubborn, independent father, and as a consequence, Renee’s gig with Susan—and her grand plans for her own life—start to unravel as well. So much had seemed as if it could change for Renee, who is not the happy, uncomplicated young girl she pretends to be. She is actually named Dee Dee, and she’s fleeing a dark past.
And Herb can’t just let go of all that he has ever had. So, he suggests one last joy ride in his Porsche. And the two take off north out of Key West, soon setting off a Silver Alert. As the unlikely friendship between Herb and Dee Dee deepens, we see how as one life is closing down, another opens up.
In this buoyant novel, the masterful Smith What do we deserve? And how do we make it our own? Sometimes, you just have to seize the wheel.