Nonfiction Short Take: Driving Miss Norma – Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle

Driving Miss Norma: One Family’s Journey Saying “Yes” to Living (9780062664327) by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle. $26.99 hardcover. 5/2/17 on sale.

It’s not often that I think it’s worth looking at a Facebook page to consider whether or not to buy a book–but there’s an exception to every rule. Take a look at the FB page Driving Miss Norma and you’ll get a sense of what this is the charming, uplifting memoir has to offer.

At 90, newly widowed Norma Bauerschmidt learned she had uterine cancer. Deciding against chemotherapy she instead hit the road for a year with her son and his wife in their RV—which they called an “mobile assisted living home”—and gave Norma the adventure of her life.

The story has been widely covered already—in People, The Washington Post and the NYT, on the CBS Evening News and the Today show. You won’t be surprised to know that the movie rights have been sold. I can’t wait to see it on screen—but in the meantime we have Miss Norma on the page in this generous recollection by her son and daughter-in-law.

This is an inspirational book for the ages; I’d put it on everything from Graduation and Mother’s Day tables to this fall’s holiday tables. It’s a great gift of inspiration for so many situations.

“For the first time, as [Norma’s son] writes in this endearing memoir, they got to know one another as adults, and their trip transformed into a warm, thoughtful, and meaningful conversation on family, aging, caretaking, and what happens when you look to other ways to heal besides Western medicine….The months on the road were nourishing for Norma, who saw some of her symptoms disappear, and also very therapeutic for Tim and Ramie, who had led itinerant lives free of obligations for years. Tim, Ramie, and Norma’s travels are joyful and moving….Norma’s willingness to be fearless and open to whatever comes her way, even trying cannabis cream, offers profound insights into how we choose to live.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)