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His Oldest Friend: The Story of an Unlikely Bond

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His Oldest Friend: The Story of an Unlikely Bond Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“A poignant tribute to two friends who, despite the gulf of 73 years, manage to ground each other in their all-too-uncertain worlds.”—The New York Times

They met under the most inauspicious circumstances. He was a teenage volunteer at a nursing home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She was a wheelchair-bound resident in her nineties. He was a poor Hispanic, living in a rented room in the barrio, separated from his family. Her life, at least before arthritis hobbled her, was comfortable, with regular visits from her daughters and grandchildren. But when Margaret Olivers daughter hired Elvis Checo to look in on her mother a few afternoons each week, nobody anticipated that this would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

In His Oldest Friend, Sonny Kleinfield takes us inside the lives of these two unlikely close friends to explore the world of the very young and the very old. Too often we tend to submerge individuals in the group identity of “youth” and “the elderly,” but Checo and  Oliver defy the stereotypes, offering each other that rarest of gifts: recognition and affirmation as a unique human being.

Sonny Kleinfield is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of seven previous books. He has contributed articles to The Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, Esquire, and Rolling Stone, and he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal before joining the Times. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for a Times series on race in America and has received a number of journalism awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Meyer Berger Award, an American Society of Newspaper Editors Award, and the Gerald Loeb Award. A native of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, he is a graduate of New York University and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.
They met under the least auspicious circumstances. He was a teenage volunteer at a nursing home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She was a wheelchair-bound resident in her nineties. He was poor, Hispanic, living in a rented room in the barrio, separated from his family. Her life, at least before she developed arthritis, was comfortable, and her daughters and grandchildren visited as often as they could. But when Margaret Olivers daughter hired Elvis Checo to look in on her mother a few afternoons each week, nobody realized that this would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
 
In His Oldest Friend, Sonny Kleinfield of The New York Times takes us inside the lives of these two unlikely friends to explore the world of the very young and the very old, showing how underappreciated these groups often are—a mystery to one another and to so many of us in the middle-class adult population. Too often we tend to group together "youth" and "the elderly," submerging individuals into a group identity. But Elvis and Margaret offer each other that rarest of gifts: recognition and affirmation as a unique human being. Kleinfield opens their lives to us and shows how their bond of friendship rescued each of them from the bleakness that defeats so many of the youngest and oldest among us.
"A poignant tribute to two friends who, despite the gulf of 73 years, manage to ground each other in their all-too-certain worlds."—The New York Times
"A poignant tribute to two friends who, despite the gulf of 73 years, manage to ground each other in their all-too-certain worlds."—The New York Times
 
"By reminding us of the sheer depth of humanity . . . Kleinfield elevates the story of one specific friendship to a universal tale about the triumph of compassion."—The Baltimore Sun
 
"An unlikely love story, in which the wisdom and perspective of age embrace the hopefulness and enthusiasm of youth."—The Hartford Courant
 
"An inspiring story that will give readers much to consider: the surprising possibilities that our fellow human beings can offer us, no matter their background or ours."—Robert Coles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Children of Crisis and The Moral Intelligence of Children
 
"A poignant, yet militant account . . . that will make stones weep." —Michael Harrington, author of The Other America
 
"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."—Publishers Weekly 

Synopsis:

When Margaret Oliver's daughter hired Elvis Checo to look in on her mother a few afternoons each week, nobody realized it would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The author takes readers inside the lives of these unlikely friends to explore the world of the very young and the very old.

Synopsis:

"A poignant tribute to two friends who, despite the gulf of 73 years, manage to ground each other in their all-too-uncertain worlds."--The New York Times

They met under the most inauspicious circumstances. He was a teenage volunteer at a nursing home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She was a wheelchair-bound resident in her nineties. He was a poor Hispanic, living in a rented room in the barrio, separated from his family. Her life, at least before arthritis hobbled her, was comfortable, with regular visits from her daughters and grandchildren. But when Margaret Oliver's daughter hired Elvis Checo to look in on her mother a few afternoons each week, nobody anticipated that this would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

In His Oldest Friend, Sonny Kleinfield takes us inside the lives of these two unlikely close friends to explore the world of the very young and the very old. Too often we tend to submerge individuals in the group identity of "youth" and "the elderly," but Checo and  Oliver defy the stereotypes, offering each other that rarest of gifts: recognition and affirmation as a unique human being.

About the Author

Sonny Kleinfield is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of seven previous books. He has contributed articles to The Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, Esquire, and Rolling Stone, and he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal before joining the Times. He shared in a Pulitzer Prize for a Times series on race in America and has received a number of journalism awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Meyer Berger Award, an American Society of Newspaper Editors Award, and the Gerald Loeb Award. A native of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, he is a graduate of New York University and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805080605
Subtitle:
The Story of an Unlikely Bond
Publisher:
Times Books
Author:
Kleinfield, Sonny
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Immigrants
Subject:
Intergenerational relations
Subject:
Regional Subjects - MidAtlantic
Subject:
Aging - General
Subject:
General Biography
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Large Print:
Y
Publication Date:
20060725
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.00 x 5.00 in

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Aging

His Oldest Friend: The Story of an Unlikely Bond
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Times Books - English 9780805080605 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , When Margaret Oliver's daughter hired Elvis Checo to look in on her mother a few afternoons each week, nobody realized it would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The author takes readers inside the lives of these unlikely friends to explore the world of the very young and the very old.

"Synopsis" by ,
"A poignant tribute to two friends who, despite the gulf of 73 years, manage to ground each other in their all-too-uncertain worlds."--The New York Times

They met under the most inauspicious circumstances. He was a teenage volunteer at a nursing home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She was a wheelchair-bound resident in her nineties. He was a poor Hispanic, living in a rented room in the barrio, separated from his family. Her life, at least before arthritis hobbled her, was comfortable, with regular visits from her daughters and grandchildren. But when Margaret Oliver's daughter hired Elvis Checo to look in on her mother a few afternoons each week, nobody anticipated that this would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

In His Oldest Friend, Sonny Kleinfield takes us inside the lives of these two unlikely close friends to explore the world of the very young and the very old. Too often we tend to submerge individuals in the group identity of "youth" and "the elderly," but Checo and  Oliver defy the stereotypes, offering each other that rarest of gifts: recognition and affirmation as a unique human being.

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