Mike Leonard is a lucky man. It’s not everyone who gets
parents like Jack and Marge. At eighty-seven, Jack is a pathological optimist
with an inexhaustible gift of gab. Marge, Jack’s bride of sixty years, though
cut from the same rough bolt of Irish immigrant cloth, is his polar
opposite–pessimistic and proud of it. What was their son, Mike, thinking when
he took a sabbatical from his job with NBC News so he could pile these two
world-class originals along with three of his grown kids and a daughter-in-law
into a pair of rented RVs and hit the road for a month?
Mike was thinking that he wanted to give his parents the
ultimate family reunion. And so, one February morning, three generations of
Leonards set out on their journey under the dazzling Arizona sky. Thirty
minutes later, one of the humongous recreational vehicles has an unplanned
meeting with a concrete island at a convenience store. Thus begins the
adventure of a lifetime–and an absolute gem of a book.
In the course of their humorous, often poignant
cross-country tour, from the desert Southwest to the New England coastline, the
Leonards reminisce about their loves, their losses, and their rich and
heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) lives, while encountering a veritable
Greek chorus of roadside characters along the way. The home stretch finds the
clan racing back to Chicago, hoping to catch the arrival of the next
generation, Jack and Marge’s first great-grandchild. Through it all, Mike
pieces together a century of family lore and lunacy—and discovers surprising
sides to his parents that allow him to see them in a whole new light.
Mike Leonard has captivated millions of television viewers
with his wry and witty feature stories for NBC’s Today. Now he brings that same engaging charm and keen insight to
the foibles and passions of his own blessedly unique family. By turns
uproariously funny and deeply moving, The
Ride of Our Lives delivers a lifetime of laughs, lessons, and priceless
memories. Download and start listening now!