Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Five Minutes With Maggie, Early Bird

Less than a decade into his high-stress job as television writer, Rodney Rothman loses his job. But he wasn't upset. The late nights, seventy-hour weeks, and lukewarm coffee took their toll, so rather than search for a new job, he retired to Florida. At age 28. His memoir of this experience, Early Bird, chronicles his move to Boca Raton. He arranges to share an apartment with Margaret, an eccentric retiree with an odd assortment of pets. He struggles to acclimate to retired life, but soon learns that the most successful retirees are the ones who remain active. So Rodney begins joining clubs and groups, takes up shuffleboard, befriends an aging comedian, and a retired drug dealer. All the while, retirement allows Rodney to relax and to evaluate his own life's path.

Sarcastic and self-deprecating, the tone of the book reflects Rothman's cynicism, though it's his sincerity and loneliness shine through. Over the course of his attempt at retirement, Rothman early bird specials, plays in a shuffleboard tournament, assists his elderly friends in online dating, and wages a constant battle with his roommate's pet parrot. Though his experiences are well-told and extremely humorous, Rothman's story has a well-researched underlying message: We need to truly think about how the elderly in this country are treated because we're all headed that way... though not all of us get there as early as Rodney!
by Maggie Marton

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