The Last Tour: Love, Laughter, and Tears

In Memory of Ron Eckerman

Non-Fiction - Memoir
280 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

The Last Tour: Love, Laughter, and Tears is the story of the author, Carolyn Day, and Ron Eckerman’s life together. After a failed marriage to a tour manager, the last thing Carolyn needs is to fall in love with yet another famous tour manager. However, while attending a funeral and in a casual chat to Ron Eckerman’s mother, who is one of her mother’s best friends, Carolyn promised to get in touch with Ron. This will happen years later and it marks the start of a love story that is threatened by Acute Myeloid Leukemia. As Ron struggles to fight the disease, Carolyn steadfastly stays by his side and Ron eventually finds true happiness on earth. This is a story that will leave a scar in your heart.

The Last Tour: Love, Laughter, and Tears is a tribute written by Carolyn Day in memory of Ron Eckerman, former tour manager of the famous Lynyrd Skynyrd, Fleetwood Mac, Humble Pie and a host of other bands and singers. Seemingly destined to touch each other’s lives, the couple’s mothers were good friends but it is not until later in life that their paths meet. A friendly message on Facebook blossomed into a love affair that would continue until Ron’s fight with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and beyond. What makes this novel interesting is that it is a story of love and laughter in the midst of a fatal illness, and what makes it gripping is that it is also a story of tears and sorrow. Obviously writing to honor her soul mate’s memory, Carolyn Day certainly succeeds in touching her readers' hearts. The Last Tour is a book that should give courage to those who face the finality of a loved one’s demise.

Viga Boland

The cover of The Last Tour by Carolyn Day couldn’t be more perfect: in one look, the reader knows this is going to be a beautiful story about two people who love each other deeply. It’s when you look at the sub-title, “A true story about finding love, facing destiny and battling leukemia,” a battle no one wins, that you know this memoir is going to tug at your heart-strings and most likely make you weep.

Yet, I didn’t weep as I read of Ron Eckerman’s battle with leukemia because Carolyn Day, his devoted wife of only 3 years, wouldn’t let me. In keeping with the incredibly upbeat and positive attitude with which Ron Eckerman lived his life, so he lived his last year of life. He refused to give in to self-pity; he battled the pain of chemo, every test, medicine and pill they gave him, always believing he would get better or at least be given more time to enjoy the wife he loved so much: Carolyn.

There was a significant age difference between Ron and Carolyn - in fact, Ron's daughter and Carolyn were the same age. Although Ron and Carolyn's paths had crossed many times over the years, they never actually met until they connected on Facebook in 2011 and fell in love without actually meeting each other first. This wasn’t the only unusual thing about this couple! Ron's mother and Carolyn's mother had known each other since childhood, and Ron had met Carolyn's mother over the years, and Carolyn had met Ron's mother and all his siblings over the years at weddings and funerals... but Ron and Carolyn somehow never attended the same services and never met each other. Also, Ron Eckerman was the tour manager for Lynryd Skyryd when their band’s plane crashed in 1977. Ron was one of the survivors. The unusual part is that Carolyn’s ex husband was also a tour manager of the same band in the 1990's. How weird is it that she eventually fell in love and married two different tour managers for the same band. Ron often teased her and said she got her destiny mixed up and married the wrong tour manager from the wrong decade!

But as much as Carolyn has written The Last Tour as a memoir and tribute to a wonderful man who loved life and loved to laugh, The Last Tour is also a tribute to Carolyn. As she chats and laughs her way through all the little everyday things that made their relationship so special, and ultimately so short and sad, she reveals herself as a amazing and incredibly strong woman who knew how to stand by her man to the very end. Carolyn Day is as much to be admired as was Ron Eckerman.

The Last Tour by Carolyn Day is an easy read, told in conversational style throughout. The reader is right there in the hospital room, laughing along with this couple who spent more time laughing than crying through Ron’s battle with leukemia. It’s a wonderful thing to believe the cup is half full when it’s really half empty.

Mamta Madhavan

The Last Tour: Love, Laughter, and Tears - In Memory of Ron Eckerman by Carolyn Day is a heartrending yet inspirational memoir of Ron Eckerman that throws light on the last years of his life battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Ron Eckerman’s noteworthy career was highly successful, and included touring with and managing musical groups like Humble Pie, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Waylon Jennings, Messina, Foreigner and many others. Carolyn Day has chronicled the life of the man she loved in this book; their story of love, grace, compassion and togetherness, and how they battled the dreadful disease of cancer together. It’s a story of true love, devotion, sacrifice, strength, courage and hope that will touch the hearts of readers and move them to tears.

The book has its moments of sadness, joy, and humor. The shortcomings of the medical community are brought to attention in the memoir, as well as the difficulties of handling an illness like cancer without health insurance. This true love story will move readers, and the adoration that Ron and Carolyn had for each other is palpable as one turns the pages. It is an inspirational memoir for all those who are going through personal struggles in their lives; it is a story for those who are in love; and lastly it is a book for soul mates. Though Ron Eckerman is no more, Carolyn has captured the spirit and essence of the man and etched him in the hearts of readers forever.