A delightful story of growing up, getting old, and every step in between, from the acclaimed author of Man at the Helm and Love, Nina.
After succeeding in her quest to help her unconventional mother find a new “man at the helm,” fifteen-year-old Lizzie Vogel simply wants to be a normal teenager. Just when it looks as if things have settled down, her mother goes and has another baby. On top of that, Lizzie’s best friend has deserted her for the punk craze, which Lizzie finds too exhausting to commit to herself.
But Lizzie soon gets more commitment than she bargained for when she takes a job as a junior nurse at Paradise Lodge, a ramshackle refuge for the elderly that has seen better days. It’s no place for a teenager, much less one with as little experience emptying a bedpan as Lizzie. What begins as away to avoid school and earn some spending money (for the finer things in life, like real coffee and beer shampoo) quickly turns into the education of a lifetime. Lizzie encounters a colorful cast of eccentric characters — including a nurse determined to turn one of the patients into a husband (and a retirement plan); an efficient but clueless nun trying to modernize the place; and Lizzie’s unlikely first love — who become her surrogate family.
When Paradise Lodge faces a crisis in the form of a rival nursing home with enough amenities to make even the comatose jealous, Lizzie must find a way to save her job before she loses the only place she’s ever felt she belongs. A hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale, Paradise Lodge proves that it’s never too early — or too late — to grow up.