Love, Life, and Lucille

Lessons Learned from a Centenarian

Non-Fiction - Memoir
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 11/12/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

Love, Life, and Lucille: Lessons Learned from a Centenarian by Judy Gaman is a non-fiction memoir about Judy’s experiences with meeting and learning from an elderly woman called Lucille Fleming. This book starts off with a brief foreword and jumps right into Judy and Lucille’s first meeting. Judy is an extremely busy, energetic, career professional of 40 who decides to interview Lucille, an old lady who has just reached the 100-year milestone in her life. This is for a book that she is interested in writing on longevity. Judy doesn’t really know what to expect and is surprised to find a cheery, happy, and energetic woman who still has a zest for life and fashion, among other things. They hit it off instantly and slowly the meeting turns into a genuine friendship with outings and socializing together. This is what forms the theme of the book, along with valuable life lessons that Judy learned from Lucille and which she applied in her own life. A short author bio and additional resources are provided at the end of the book.

Love, Life, and Lucille is a gentle and heartwarming book on the very meaning of life itself in today's world. The writing style is casual, light, and even humorous at times, but underlying it are some profound truths about life and what makes it worth living. Lucille is a very sprightly old lady and it is fun to watch their friendship blossom and read about their adventures and daily lives. But even more importantly, lessons on the importance of “people connections” in life and the ability to forgive, among other things, make this book really stand out. This is basic life philosophy presented in a very readable and entertaining way. I found this book enjoyable and would certainly recommend it.

K.C. Finn

Love, Life, and Lucille: Lessons Learned From a Centenarian is a work of non-fiction written in the memoir format, and was penned by author Judy Gaman. The inspiration for the memoir comes from the titular character Lucille Fleming, whom the author met when she was working on a book about longevity in life. Lucille had recently turned a hundred years old whilst Gaman was in her 40s, and the pair struck up an incredible friendship over the following four years. What follows is an account of that time from Gaman, and an emotional consideration of the important life lessons she learned from Lucille before and after her unexpected death.

Readers seeking heartfelt, warm and emotive storytelling straight from real life are certain to enjoy the easy but effective writing style of author Judy Gaman. From the moment that we meet both Judy and Lucille, it’s easy to fall into step with them and enjoy the flourishing of their relationship over their special Friday outings. Gaman presents herself honestly and with clear narration that allows us into her workaholic personality, at first never stopping to smell the roses, always onto the next big achievement. Lucille’s wisdom fills each special moment of the book’s progression with those essential lessons that we often tell ourselves, but forget to act upon. What results is a book in which the lessons have a true emotional connection and a heartfelt memory attached, which I think will be highly effective in reminding readers of them. Love, Life, and Lucille is a highly recommended and highly accomplished memoir.

Mamta Madhavan

True friendship knows no age. Love, Life, and Lucille: Lessons Learned from a Centenarian by Judy Gaman is an engaging memoir where the author gives glimpses of the strong bond she shared with Lucille Fleming, who ended up being the most extraordinary friend anyone could have. Lucille made Judy laugh and enriched her life in many ways. Her spirit, her spunk, her energy, her humor, and her wisdom left an indelible mark on Judy and she had all the answers about the universe. The memoir is about a life that was well-lived, taking each day and focusing on what she had instead of what she didn't have. Judy Gaman's busy life interviewing people, writing health and wellness books, and hosting a radio show all took a turn the day she met Lucille for an interview to write about aging gracefully.

This beautiful memoir is about bonding and friendship and how together they met interesting people and lived their lives to the fullest. The insights from Lucille will encourage and motivate readers in many ways; to enjoy life, to be happy with what they have, and to age gracefully. Lucille's poise and elegance are palpable through the author's wonderful descriptions and this book is a wonderful tribute to her. There is something so gentle and delicate about the narration and the author captures the charm and grace of her friend. The simplicity in expressing her thoughts and feelings, and the small details about their moments together, will touch the hearts of readers. Lucille's valuable advice on how to stay young and healthy, be wise, and to forgive is inspiring.

Rabia Tanveer

Love, Life, and Lucille: Lessons Learned from a Centenarian by Judy Gaman is the story of when the author meets a vivacious elderly woman who teaches her what living is all about. Judy Gaman was living her life in the best way possible. She worked hard and had no time to play or even rest, to be honest. She was living in the fast lane and she had no regrets; her job was challenging and gave her enough motivation to move forward every day. So when Judy met the ever young-at-heart Lucille Fleming, she realized that she was living her life in the worst way possible. Lucille was 100 years old when Judy met her. Through Lucille, Judy found out that life is so much better when you live it with style, love, humor and a lot of heart.

I was not expecting this book to have me on the verge of tears one moment (not going to accept that I cried, nope, I’m not) and laughing the next. I wish I could have met Lucille too; she sounds like someone who has a lot of love to share with the people around her. The connection between Lucille and Judy was beautiful; it was a friendship so pure that you cannot help but be awed by it. The narrative was lively and just as lovely. Reading about their adventures and their camaraderie was epic. The author made sure you can feel Lucille’s presence through her words and ensured that you experience her love as well. This was a beautiful book and a great tribute to a special person. Emotional yet so beautiful.

Liz Konkel

Love, Life, and Lucille: Lessons Learned from a Centenarian by Judy Gaman is a touching memoir about the friendship that taught Judy how to live life to the fullest. Judy once let work consume her days and let life pass her by until research for a book about longevity introduced her to Lucille. From that first interview, the two form a connection that blossoms into a lovely friendship. Together the two enjoy the adventure that life has to offer with them finding connections from each of their experiences and forming an unforgettable bond that would completely change Judy’s life. This memoir journeys through the friendship that Judy gained and through the last days of Lucille’s life with Judy opening up about the good moments, the heartbreaking ones, and everything in between.

Judy Gaman has an honest voice that’s genuine with admiration and love in these memories and for this friendship. The voice has a calm and thoughtful tone with a lot of reflection throughout that allows you to get to know Lucille and will have you thinking about your own life. The descriptions of Lucille are incredible and her personality just comes to life with her stylish appearance and her larger than life attitude. The memoir covers from when Judy met Lucille to the legacy her friend left behind with the ups and downs explored throughout. Gaman opens up about this time in her life and readers see Lucille through her eyes. Gaman weaves in the various lessons that Lucille taught her that changed her perception of life, including how to live life to the fullest, loving unconditionally, enjoying every minute, true friendship knows no age, and how attitude is everything, with many others found throughout.

The focus of the memoir is Judy's friendship with Lucille and how this bond impacted how she viewed life, but she also explores other relationships in her life through moments she has with her children, her husband, and her parents. She shares about her husband’s health scare, her own struggle with Lyme Disease, her father staying at her side, and thoughtful moments with her children. The memoir balances the fun moments of lunch dates and trying on wigs with the struggles in health that Gaman faced and the unfortunate situations that Lucille faced in the last days of her life. Love, Life, and Lucille is a charming, endearing, uplifting, and heartbreaking read that will have everyone falling for this sweet memoir and understanding the importance of having someone like Lucille in your life.