Wayne Benson is tired of living a complicated life. His needs are pretty simple—quiet time to write, three square meals a day (preferably prepaid and prepared for him), and comfortable surroundings. But where to find all of these things in one place? Enter The Sunset—a retirement community he once toured with his parents, prior to their move to Florida. The only problem? He’s thirty-two years too young. Enter Wayne Senior, his alter ego and aged doppelganger, courtesy of a grey wig and stage makeup, complete with cane and a stooped, halting gait (he’ll learn not to run for the bus when late).
For a time, Wayne’s plan works great. But what he hadn’t planned on was the complications of falling for a sexy fellow resident (yes, sixty can be sexy!) and becoming friends with his cranky next-door neighbor. Add a suspicious landlady and a blackmailing security guard, and things soon get way more complicated than Wayne’s former young life had ever been.
Perhaps the best part of the book for me (and so much of it was great fun) was moving through Wayne’s emotional maturation as he goes from viewing his fellow residents as obstacles to insightful, interesting people. His initial, skeptical view is evidenced by this passage:
“Eventually, the van would arrive in front of the supermarket and park. The driver would stay inside with the engine running and the A/C downgraded from arctic blast to cold front. Slowly the seniors would stir and with the help of a couple of Sunset staffers begin to vacate the vehicle. The legs of walkers and the tips of canes would emerge first, like the tentacles of some strange space creatures trying to blend in with humanity, they would descend on the store, sporting wraparound sunglasses, shawls, light-weight summer sweaters, and fistfuls of double coupons. Aisles would be congested, workers berated, and cashiers interrogated.”
Into the Sunset is a lively, engaging, romp-of-a-read, and by the end of the book, Wayne’s attitude and understanding have greatly softened—a truly older, wiser and more sanguine Wayne has emerged for us, his readers, and we welcome his rebirth into old age.
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