"Increasingly preoccupied by fears of dementia, an elderly man [Robert Glickman] in a facility for seniors finds a new purpose and love in this novel. ... ... Although this novel wears its heart on its sleeve, being dedicated to all those working for Glickman's cause, Shear (The Trials of Adrian Wheeler, 2014) never allows the book to become didactic. Instead, his remarkable characters demonstrate the fullness with which life can be lived when you're willing to get involved, as Glickman does ... ... While never in denial about hard truths, and always claiming to the right to make end-of-love decisions for oneself, this engrossing book also demonstrates the reality of hope. A humanist project that delivers a good read, with plot twists and memorable characters."
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW:
"It's rare that romance novels include more than surface passions, and even less common that they embrace issues of dementia, moral and ethical questions, medical conundrums, or the struggles of Alzheimer's patients. Mix all these issues with love and you have a strange blend, indeed.
... But one of the special features of The Fountain of Youth lies in its ability to deftly weave all these seemingly-disparate threads into a unified, precise, memorable story line, making it a top recommendation for not just romance readers, but any one interested in issues of aging, changed capabilities, and the impact a small thing (such as quiz book) can have in one's life. ...
... The characters who inhabit The Fountain of Youth are somewhat reminiscent to those in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, minus much of the insanity. They are quirky, obstinate, sometimes defiant personalities who have their own perspectives of their pasts, presents and futures; yet are somewhat to fully cognizant of the fact that the Fountain offers anything but youth or longevity - only a relatively safe haven at the end of the long road of life. ...
... What opens as and seems like an observational piece about an increasingly limited world and abilities becomes a special window into the hearts, minds, and ethical issues facing the aging and those around them at the end of life.
... Who has power and control over one's life? What happens when circumstance limits, then takes away, not only abilities, but personalities? The psychological depth belays any possible description of The Fountain of Youth as a romance novel. ...
What begins as a seeming romance or institutional probe becomes something much more: a compelling, engrossing story fueled by the passions, perspectives, and worries of Robert as he seeks to take back power in his world, keep his promises, and exert control over his own destiny and the quandaries life and death poses. It's very highly recommended for audiences seeking depth and insights from fictional stories."
PRINCES OF THE LIGHT - WORDPRESS
"This was such a moving, emotional read for me. Shear portrays accurately the plight of the elderly and those suffering from dementia. I've seen first-hand how a person can just slip away, not remembering memories or who someone is. It's a scary place and like Glickman, I refuse to let this hereditary disease take me down. Shear, instead of painting a depressing story of doom, he splashes humor throughout, especially in the dialogue. The message here is clear: life is what you make it and a patient dealing with the onslaught of dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's has the right to end his/her own life. I don't personally agree with assisted death by medical doctors but I understand and respect those who wish to die with dignity.
A must-read novel that makes you think and stays with you long after you finish reading it."
BETWEEN THE PAGES:
Oh my goodness! The first pages of this book really punched me in the chest, leaving me drenched in vivid memories of years gone past. You see, I was a caregiver for my dear mother who suffered with dementia the last five years of her life, and who I had to eventually place in a nursing facility for more professional care. Author Steve Shear's descriptive setting, his intuitive understanding, and his fabulous word pictures firmly captured my full attention.
The protagonist of this story, Robert Glickman, has watched his grandmother and mother suffer through dementia and now, it's his turn.... But, from what I could glean from the first ten pages, he doesn't have any intention of going by the wayside in the usual way. He and the other characters that have appeared in the story are unique, interesting, and I'm almost sure they have a lot of twists to throw a reader. This is one journey I want to take to the last page. Great first ten pages!
ONLINE BOOKCLUB BOOK REVIEW:
... ... The Fountain of Youth is a fun story, with colorful personalities who never fail to entertain. There is a genuineness in Shear's writing, the interactions between the characters seem realistic. It is easy to imagine your own grandparent bickering with a fellow resident, the way Robert does in this book. In many ways life in the Fountain is like going back to high school. There are rumors flying about, everybody has their cliques, and there are still the "cool kids".
The Fountain of Youth is a general fiction book, but it really has something for everybody. There is romance, suspense, and humor. This book may make you laugh, cry, and sit on the edge of your seat as you wonder what is going to happen next. It is a very difficult book to put down, because you do care so much about the stories that Shear has weaved. Although there are a lot of storylines going on in this book, you never feel lost, the stories interconnect with one another without feeling disjointed. I give The Fountain of Youth 4 out of 4 stars. It is well-written, with great characters and in all an enjoyable story.
CAT ELLINGTON FOR GOODREADS
The Fountain of Youth is a heavenly novel oflife succession, the aging process, retribution, absolution, and the reflectivemood. The powerfully touching story, told in the first person narrative of itscardinal protagonist, Dr. Robert Glickman, gently guides the reader--with afrail and arthritic hand--down a nostalgic memory lane overgrown with many weedsof emotion.
I would personally liken--or dub, if you please--this precious work of fiction to a "coming of age in reverse" story.It is a gorgeous narrative in every sense that it can be: tender, warm,emotional, sentimental, funny, poetic, and lovable. When I wrapped my symbolicarms around the stars of this effort at the start, I absolutely hated to letthem go at the finish. But I was forced to, however grudgingly, because thenovel had to eventually make its way to an end. Then again, of course, all goodthings do.
The incredible castof The Fountain of Youth all have very dramatic--in some way, form, orfashion--lifestyles. And all of those individual lifestyles revolve around theone man who is Dr. Robert Glickman. ... Thisstory--throughout its course--certainly brought a number of tears to mine eyes,the result of both its extraordinary personalities and its cleverly-writtenstoryline. And though it contains sensitive subject matter to which I amutterly opposed, due to my strong Christian beliefs, nevertheless, Iwill forever love the entire being of this literary effort.
When I was growing up, sharing a single bedroom with three brothers in a duplex on Dartmouth Avenue, my maternal grandmother, Mama, lived with us and had her own room. Often she would babysit when our parents went out and we would play gin rummy, Mama and me. She cheated but I still won. Mama would also buy individual packets of sunflower seeds (we called them 'polly' seeds) from our uncle who lived upstairs. He was a pharmacist and even though she bought them wholesale, she sold them to us boys retail. Of course we knew where she hid them so I'm afraid to say she got the short end of that deal. At the time I didn't think she knew we were stealing them. At the time I was young and stupid.
When Mama was around nine-two my parents moved her to a nursing home. In those days you really didn't want to visit a nursing home, but we did, every Sunday. During one visit, Mama introduced me to 'Aunt' Charlotte, her next door neighbor at the home. "Mama," I said, "She's not my aunt." But she stood her ground and insisted Charlotte was my aunt and I should greet her accordingly. Finally, while I was still arguing with her, she said, "Stevie, mit her money and no one to leave it to, she's your aunt." Again, I was young and stupid.
Thank the powers greater than us (if there are any), Mama did not live long in that nursing home (which she hated) and she died with the humor I grew up with. She was one of the reasons I wrote The Fountain of Youth.