Sunday, June 22, 2008
I am disappointed in your choice of Jonathan Yardley to review Andrew Blechman's Leisureville (Book World, May 25). Yardley's attitude going in is one of condescension and sniffing asides about the Villages in Florida, a place he obviously has never visited. Blechman based his conclusions on a one-month stay.
Yardley seems fixated on some unknown peril resulting from exclusion of children under 19 living there as permanent residents. Are there many homes where the owners are over 55 and have younger children living with them? (Actually, yes. tens of millions) Is that a real cause for concern? It certainly should not be the focus of this review. (Why not? That's what the book is about?) My brother-in-law and his wife have lived in the Villages for several years. They love it. Their grown children and families visit throughout the year. They have personalized golf carts! (And your point is?) They have a beautiful home. There is dancing every night around a central bandstand featuring live music, with everything from line dancers to Arthur Murray alums. Hundreds sit and watch this fascinating show of people enjoying life. (That's great, but it comes at the expense of children and young families being banned)
We recently had the opportunity to visit the Villages. We loved every minute of it and considered it one of the most delightful vacations we have ever taken. Imagine not locking doors at night, scooting to the store in your golf cart without fear of getting picked off at random, engaged in golfing, swimming, tennis, whatever is your treat. (Societal Secession certainly has it's advantages) Why not? I would call such peace of mind more than an even trade-off with strip malls and cities (and suburbia) where going to the store after dark is never accomplished without a sense of fear. (You're right. We should all just drop out once we get our needs met) The online reviews cite Blechman's humorous accounts of life in these communities, among other aspects. Why not concentrate on that rather than making ominous observations about no children? (Yes, there's humor and I'm glad you enjoyed it. But once again, the book is about age-segregation, and that's not so funny.)
Claims that the fate of our country hangs in the balance as more gated communities appear are sheer nonsense. (We'll see. I hope you're right)
-- BERNARD G. ELLIKER