Life has been a great adventure for Rick Elkins. A former US Navy fighter pilot during World War II, an airline pilot, and a consummate biker, he has never been afraid of taking risks. But though his mind is still sharp, his eighty-three-year-old body is not. Unless he proceeds with a risky surgery, heart failure awaits him.
Rick decides against the surgery, wanting his remaining time on Earth free of doctors and hospitals. But nearing the end triggers a time of sober reflection, and in his mind he travels back to the end of World War II, when he started his career as a pilot. It was then that he developed a love for motorcycles-and for Angie Mertz, a beautiful stewardess who later becomes his wife.
Tragedy struck after only a year of marriage, however, when an auto accident claimed Angie's life. Rick, distraught, took an extended leave from his job and took his Harley-Davison motorcycle on a long road trip to California, where he met Annette, a fellow biker. Their on-and-off affair-and the events that followed-would alter Rick's world in a way he never expected.
Now that Rick is old, alone, and unable to do the things he loves, he's ready to bow out gracefully. But then someone comes into his life that just might change his way of thinking about the way out.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Tina Gibbons for Readers' Favorite The Way Out by Dick Elder is a story about the life of Rick Elkins. He is a former US Navy fighter pilot who is eighty-three and recounting his tale while battling with heart failure, and deciding if he wants to have surgery that may prolong his life. It is told in the first person from his point of view, and describes the path he took to become a pilot and the many places he visited while flying. It also describes his romantic adventures and journeys while riding motorcycles. Dick Elder has woven an intensely detail-oriented story in The Way Out. Rick Elkins' life is brought to the reader in a diary style, and it shows how love can strike and be lost, but after grieving the loss, love can be found again. At different stages of his life, he finds different levels of companionship and love. When he is ready to give up because he can't do certain things he loves anymore, he realizes that you can find something new to take pleasure in. His romances are deep and sexual activity is talked about but not in a graphic manner. Some sections about his second wife, Ann, are particularly moving. She has movie star glamour, is smart as a whip, rides a motorcycle, and carries a gun - is it any wonder he falls for her? There was so much information given I thought I could see the dials and gadgets in the plane, or feel the wind as he rode his motorcycle. The scenery depicted also made me feel like I actually visited the places myself. Anyone who is interested in aviation, has flown or currently flies planes, or is a motorcycle enthusiast is sure to enjoy this book.