cover image His Oldest Friend: The Story of an Unlikely Bond

His Oldest Friend: The Story of an Unlikely Bond

Sonny Kleinfield, . . Times, $24 (274pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7580-9

The complexities and contradictions of the friendship between a 93-year-old wheelchair-bound woman living in a New York City nursing home and a poor, 20-year-old Hispanic volunteer charged with visiting her on afternoons is the subject of this inspirational book. Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporter Kleinfield quickly points out the cultural and generational differences between the improbable pair, as Miss Margaret Oliver and Elvis Checo, who has been hired by the woman's daughter as her companion, seek to make sense of what life and time have dealt them. Leaving his rented room in a Manhattan community known for its drug trade and crime, Elvis recognizes in Miss Oliver a kindred soul who reminds him of his ailing Dominican grandmother: both women's lives have been diminished by physical illness and the loneliness of advancing years. In a series of wise, compassionate anecdotes about this seemingly odd couple, Kleinfield forces readers to examine stereotypes about the young and the old. This is a joyous book about people talking and listening in a marvelous exchange concerning friendship, laughter and the choices that shape our existence. Like Tuesdays with Morrie , it should have no trouble reaching a broad range of readers. Agent, Andrew Blauner . (Sept. 7)