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April 27, 2023

Silver Alert by Lee Smith ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

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.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of southern fiction novel Silver Alert by Lee Smith
April 2023; Algonquin Books; 978-1643752419
audio, ebook, print (224 pages); Southern fiction

Lee Smith has been the queen of Southern fiction for many years and her latest work, Silver Alert, helps her retain her place at the top of a myriad of southern writers.  This book is quirky and funny and introduces us to a main character who will remind a lot of people of their father or grandfather or almost anyone they know over 80 years old.

Herbert Atlas is an 83-year-old man who lives in Florida in a huge house.  He's proud of what he's accomplished in life and isn't ready for the changes that are coming at him.  His wife, Susan, has Alzheimer's disease and though he diligently takes care of her, she's changed so much that he won't be able to take care of her needs much longer.  Plus he is not well despite the fact that he's unwilling to accept that he has health problems too.  Renee shows up on one of Susan's bad days to give her a pedicure.  Herb refers to Renee in his mind as 'not Renee' because he's sure that isn't her real name.  Renee helps Susan relax during the pedicure and Herb is thrilled with her results and asks her to come back.  After several trips to the house, Herb and Renee have become friends and she manages to help him a lot with Susan.  When his kids decide to come for lunch one day, he knows that they've planned an intervention.  They've decided that he can no longer take care of Susan and they have found a place for her at the memory care unit with a room for him that's very close.  Even though he doesn't feel ready, he goes along with their plans...until one day when all of the boxes are packed and the furniture moved out, he decides that it's time for one last adventure and he and Renee go for a drive in his Porsche that causes a Silver Alert to be issued.

Renee is an interesting character.  Even though she's always cheerful around Herb and Susan, she is living difficult life and has a  sordid past.  She was sexually trafficked from a young age and even after she escaped from that life, she is still getting into rough situations and is pregnant with a boyfriend's baby - a boyfriend who wants nothing to do with a baby.

The two main characters are totally opposite - Herb is old, outspoken, and wants life to continue as it is.  Renee is young and full of life and wants drastic changes in her life.  As Herb's life is narrowing, Renee's is just opening up. This short and sweet book will make you laugh out loud while gently reminding you of the importance of taking control of your life no matter what age you are.

Buy Silver Alert at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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