Author: Jean Davies Okimoto
Publisher: Endicott and Hugh Books, 2015
Not every retiree calls themselves Joyfully Retired. Some people, like Albert Paugh, retire and then regret it. In Albert’s case, retirement was something he was forced to do. He’d had a heart attack and surgery, his wife panicked and made him retire. But Al had established his own veterinary practice. It was something he was very proud of, not something he wanted to leave.
Now, months after the sale, Al finds himself making a daily trip back toward his old clinic. He crouches down in his car and spies on the new owner. He spots the new guy doing things he would never do. Al has big regrets about his decision to leave the clinic.
On top of that now Albert’s marriage is over. He has to sell his house and move. This puts Albert alone for the first time in decades. This accumulation of events could push Al into a deep depression, but fortunately for Albert, he has some great friends and neighbors and a wonderful companion in his loyal, fun-loving dog, Bert. Albert learns that it’s not too late to “reinvent” himself.
Traveling beside Albert as he reinvents himself was a fun and interesting experience. He has a good group of friends accompanying him, some of whom I’d met before in the two previous Vashon Island books. A nice surprise for me, I loved Albert’s dog. I’m not a big dog person, but I think I could be one if I had Bert. He was the best non-speaking character in the story! (Actually, he communicates beautifully without words.)
Almost every retired person I know has a well-developed philosophy about retirement. It is one of our favorite topics. We observe our fellow retirees, we analyze them and then spend hours kibitzing about them (and, of course, with them -ha).
Some retirees jump right in and embrace their retirement with gusto. They behave as if they are on repeated two-week vacations. But, there are many more who feel somewhat adrift. After all, their identity, their job has just gone away. Who are they now? Many retirees find they, just like Albert, must re-identify or reinvent themselves. It’s my opinion that they don’t successfully do it alone. It takes friends, family and, in the case of retirees who move away from “home,” a new community of friends and family to make it happen.
I’m so glad Jean Davies Okimoto has written novels that include this subject. I guess I should also say thanks to her publisher. Just because we turn retirement age doesn’t mean we stopped living or doing interesting things. There are stories galore out here in the retirement world that are waiting to be written. As Albert discovered, even romance is alive and well among retirees.
I am a fan of Jean Davies Okimoto’s writings. I was very honored when she asked me to read and review her new book. The minute I received it I started reading and, of course, I love it. Then I started reading it again. Albert Paugh climbed into my head and then my heart. I have already recommended The Reinvention of Albert Paugh to my retired friends that I meet face to face, and now I suggest you read it too. You might also like the author’s two previous books also set on Vashon Island, You can read what I thought of them here: