Thursday, May 3, 2018

Driving Miss Norma - Book Review

Miss Norma and Ringo
Life's defining moments often come when least expected and in ways that were never anticipated.  For Miss Norma, losing her husband of 67 years the very same week she was diagnosed with advanced cancer, meant the life she had known for 90 years was gone in two heartbeats.  Driving Miss Norma is not about loss, however.  It is a moving memoir about the joyful journey that emerges as a result of life-affirming choices that become Miss Norma's defining moments.  Over the course of a year spent on the road with her son, Tim, daughter-in-law, Ramie, and poodle, Ringo, Miss Norma and her family show us what happens when you open yourself up to the very life of life.

At the beginning of this book, Norma Bauerschmidt makes two enormous decisions that drive the stories within her story.  First, when faced with months of draining medical procedures for treatment of what is expected to be terminal uterine cancer, Miss Norma chooses not to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemo.  She decides to live out her life outside the confines of a hospital.  In conjunction with that courageous decision, Bauerschmidt accepts an invitation from Tim and Ramie to take to the road with them in their RV.  It is this coming together that will completely transform all of their lives.

Though the journey begins with the hopes of checking off some of Miss Norma's "Bucket List" items, it is her reluctance to compose such a list that makes for the possibility of a more fulfilling trip.  In the course of taking it one day at a time, one delightful encounter at a time, Miss Norma and her family discover beautiful new ways of communicating and connecting.

As their experiences are shared via social media and national news outlets, Miss Norma becomes an international sensation with over half a million followers on Facebook.  Her life becomes her message, inspiring countless others to truly embrace fullness of living.  Everywhere she goes, total strangers become caught up in wanting to enrich Miss Norma's days.  The lines begin to blur in terms of who is enriching whom.  All that really matters is that Miss Norma's growing sense of wonder creates an energy and magic that draws others in.  By choosing to say yes to life, Miss Norma and family start a powerful chain reaction.

I was drawn to Miss Norma's story by my own family circumstances.  When my mother was diagnosed with multiple cancers, I had this dream of going on the road with her in my RV.  I had a deep desire to be a part of something that might be meaningful for my mom during her season of dealing with mortality and end-of-life issues.  Sadly, I never got to take that trip with my mother.  Reading this book, and vicariously embarking on Miss Norma's journey, has touched my spirit in vital ways.  It has renewed my desire to be a person who makes it possible for these kinds of life-affirming journeys to take place.

We all have the opportunity to be the driver on the journey of life.  I encourage you to read Driving Miss Norma.  It is quite likely to inspire you to hit the road.  I hope to meet up with you along the way.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

12 comments:

  1. Driving Miss Norma sounds like a delightful book to read. We all need to 'open ourselves up' to the MORE that life has to offer, whether it be having new adventures on an actual drive across country or simply getting out-and-about in our own community interacting with neighbors and the people who live there. In other words, 'fully embrace' LIFE.

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    1. Yes... to be more open is to be more fully alive. There are many ways to accomplish this. I hope to emulate the best of what it means to embrace the very life of life. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Always appreciated.

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  2. This sounds like a really sweet book. I love the idea of hitting the road for great adventures instead of chemo and hospitals. How wonderful that she was financially able and physically well enough to travel. I have no doubt that her son and daughter-in-law have wonderful memories with Norma that will last their entire lifetime. A beautiful gift indeed!

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    1. The alternative for Miss Norma was to end up in a nursing home. Having worked in elder care, I saw the great loneliness and detachment that can shut down the spirit well before the body goes into its final decline. I'm thankful that this family found the sweet spot where they could live large by being wise stewards of their collective resources. Wonderful memories are one of the greatest gifts we can give and receive.

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  3. Oh my this book is going on my MUST READ List right now......Thank you for a lovely review. I am already looking forward to reading it.

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    1. I hope Miss Norma's journey touches your spirit in meaningful ways. Here's to the wonder and beauty of living with heart wide open.

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  4. I am bumping this book up in my to-read list. I'm reading it as soon as I finish the book I'm reading now. The message sounds like a powerful one.... and right now I'm in dire need of a life-affirming story. And a story about the important things. Diana, I am sorry you never got to take that trip with your mother.

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    1. I hope you feel renewed after reading this book. Thank you for your caring comments. Very much appreciated.

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  5. This sounds exactly like the kind of book I want to read. I'm tired of fluff. It's going on my read when I have time list. Thank you for a great review of a life-affirming book.

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    1. I totally hear you. A big part of why I am drawn to these kinds of memoirs is because I want to read books that inspire me or remind me about what is most important in life. I hope this book speaks to you in a meaningful way. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  6. Sounds like an excellent book, especially for those going through this. An inspiring approach to life for sure. A powerful message in a relatable way.

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    1. Miss Norma's story has helped so many individuals with different challenges. It is beautiful when someone who needs encouragement can take heart from the example of another individual who has chosen not to give up. I think we all have days, or seasons, when we need to be reminded that each day is a gift to be relished no matter what the circumstances.

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