The Fountain Of Youth by Steve Shear

“Two generations of dementia are enough!”

Robert Glickman declares in his quest to die with dignity and the likelihood he will be next. To that end, he uses his grandson’s sixth grade quiz book, a locked away metal box, and a secret weapon that eventually comes back to haunt him.

In the meantime, he is embroiled in the lives of other residents: his neurotic sister, Essie who plots to steal his secret weapon for herself; beautiful Christina Abernathy, a retired psychotherapist he instantly falls in love with; Hester, a young server at the Fountain who suffers from progressive mutism; Boyle, a man of mystery with a questionable past for good or evil (Glickman isn’t sure which); and Boyle’s grandson, Santini, a troubled young man caught between the dope dealers he runs with and the FBI wanting to use him.

Will Glickman and Essie beat dementia? Can he win over Christina? And what about Hester, Boyle, and Boyle’s grandson?

Book Review: I found The Fountain Of Youth by Steve Shear most interesting because my grandparents managed a retirement home and nursing home. I grew up around these homes, associating with many of the older people who lived in both. When my father became disabled (car accident, my mother, father and I teenager) we moved into an apartment within the Retirement Home. I lived there until I graduated from high school and left home. This book brought back a lot of wonderful memories of the older people that I associated with in my youth. It also brought back memories of those I saw physically and mentally decline.

I love how the author draws the reader into the daily lives of the people who live at “The Fountain of Youth” and I love the title. As I said, I have already lived in an old folks’ home, so when I get old I want to go to a young folks’ home. The colorful characters who reside at “The Foundation of Youth” bring with them their past experiences, their lifelong stories, their strong personalities, human emotions. They exhibit an ability to adjust to their surroundings as they fight to stay in control of their physical and mental health with full knowledge that the road ahead is not what anyone would want for themselves or anyone else.

Main character Robert Glickman is acutely aware of his genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. He has lost family and friends and he refuses to go quietly into this physical and mental hell. Adding a little romance can’t hurt. Robert did his best to encourage others through reading to them. Here is a good quote from Robert: “As I dropped down to LL2, it occurred to me that I no longer considered the lowest floor as Hades or the River Styx and when the elevator doors opened it didn’t seem as hot and oppressive. It was certainly quiet however. I stepped into the lounge and stared at the couch where O’Reilly and I read Gatsby. I could still see the crowd of patients in wheelchairs, on walkers, and sitting uncomfortably in those same gray folding chairs everyone purchases from Costco… Patients! I referred to them as patients, not residents. The word rolled off my lips without a bit of concern. Maybe I was reconciling myself to the future. Never!”

You probably know someone or even care for a loved one who is struggling with one or more diseases that cause dementia. As researchers work hard to find cures for these diseases, it is our job to stay informed of the latest advances in medications and assistance for end of life. Although fiction, I think this author has addressed these issues well.

I, Theodocia McLean endorse The Fountain Of Youth by Steve Shear. I give the book 5 stars because the author shows great compassion for those afflicted and this book addresses a difficult subject that affects missions of people, their family, friends and caregivers. I purchased this book from Kindle and the review was completed on October 12, 2017.

Message From The Author: When I was growing up, sharing a single bedroom with three brothers in a duplex on Dartmouth Avenue, my maternal grandmother, Mama, lived with us and had her own room. Often, she would babysit when our parents went out and we would play gin rummy, Mama and me. She cheated but I still won. Mama would also buy individual packets of sunflower seeds (we called them 'polly' seeds) from our uncle who lived upstairs. He was a pharmacist and even though she bought them wholesale, she sold them to us boys retail. Of course, we knew where she hid them so I'm afraid to say she got the short end of that deal. At the time I didn't think she knew we were stealing them. At the time I was young and stupid.

When Mama was around nine-two my parents moved her to a nursing home. In those days you really didn't want to visit a nursing home, but we did, every Sunday. During one visit, Mama introduced me to 'Aunt' Charlotte, her next-door neighbor at the home. "Mama," I said, "She's not my aunt." But she stood her ground and insisted Charlotte was my aunt and I should greet her accordingly. Finally, while I was still arguing with her, she said, "Stevie, mit her money and no one to leave it to, she's your aunt." Again, I was young and stupid.

Thank the powers greater than us (if there are any), Mama did not live long in that nursing home (which she hated) and she died with the humor I grew up with. She was one of the reasons I wrote The Fountain of Youth. 

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Drama

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