Book Review: 29 – Adena Halpern

Title: 29: A Novel
Author: Adena Halpern
ISBN: 9781439171127
Pages: 288
Release Date: June 15, 2010
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Today is Ellie Jerome’s 75th birthday, and all she can think about are her regrets.  She wishes she’d spent less time in the sun and more time drinking milk so she wouldn’t shrink.  Her daughter, Barbara, is controlling and seems to be obsessed with her mother, unable to live her own life.  Ellie’s one bright spot is her granddaughter, Lucy. 

At her 75th birthday party, Ellie counts the 29 candles Barbara put on her cake (75 wouldn’t fit!) and wishes with all her heart that, for just one day, she could be 29 years old again.  Thinking nothing of it, she goes to sleep that night.  But then the next day comes, and with it, surprises for all three women.

Review:

I’ve enjoyed Adena Halpern’s previous books (review of The Ten Best Days of My Life), but when I heard the premise of 29, I was a little bit skeptical.  I’ve been reading a lot of magical realism-type books lately, so I was hoping it wasn’t more of the same, plus the “Freaky Friday” concept really didn’t appeal to me.

I have to say, I was so wrong in my hesitations about this book.  It was utterly charming, sweet, and full of life.  I adored the character of Ellie.  Her witty remarks made me laugh, and I loved the way she approached life.  At the same time, she helped me understand her despair at being old, the physical changes that take over even when you’re still young at heart.  I also felt her sadness at the regrets she had, especially when it came to love.  I was so glad she got this opportunity to have one more grand adventure.

I also loved that, though this day was about Ellie, Lucy and Barbara had their own share of revelations.  Each discovered difficult-to-accept truths about themselves and came to terms with things they might not have wanted to.  They all learned a lot about each other, and specifically how they needed to treat one another and respect each other. 

29 was a wonderful novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Halpern has really evolved as a writer, and it shows in this lovely book.  This isn’t chick lit (at least, considering it’s about a 75 year old, I wouldn’t consider it that genre), so don’t stay away just because of the girly looking cover.  It has some profound lessons and is definitely worth reading.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve been wondering about this one and I was anxious to read a review from someone I respect!

  2. Thanks for the review. I’ve been wondering about this one and I was anxious to read a review from someone I respect!

  3. I’ve been wondering about this one as well. It’s coming up on my review schedule next week. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  4. I’ve been wondering about this one as well. It’s coming up on my review schedule next week. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I’m so glad this one worked well for you. I really liked it. There was a lot of depth to the storyline that you might not expect by looking at the colorful cover. Just goes to show that looks can be deceiving. LOL

  6. I’m so glad this one worked well for you. I really liked it. There was a lot of depth to the storyline that you might not expect by looking at the colorful cover. Just goes to show that looks can be deceiving. LOL

  7. This sounds delightful! I wouldn’t mind being 29 again, but I’d want to do it for longer than one day.

  8. This sounds delightful! I wouldn’t mind being 29 again, but I’d want to do it for longer than one day.

  9. I’d love to do 29 again. I was so uptight, and totally focused on having babies (or trying to). Wendy had a great review of this book too. I think it sounds like a wonderful escape!

  10. I’d love to do 29 again. I was so uptight, and totally focused on having babies (or trying to). Wendy had a great review of this book too. I think it sounds like a wonderful escape!

  11. I enjoyed this one too. I loved Ellie both as a 29 year old woman and especially at 75. I was surprised that a light, cute read could have such a good message. I’ve recommended 29 to several of my friends.

  12. I enjoyed this one too. I loved Ellie both as a 29 year old woman and especially at 75. I was surprised that a light, cute read could have such a good message. I’ve recommended 29 to several of my friends.

  13. I love magical realism. It makes me want to believe in the impossible. And I love books that can do that for me. This sounds like a really fun book with some great characters. I’ll be adding this to my wishlist.

  14. I love magical realism. It makes me want to believe in the impossible. And I love books that can do that for me. This sounds like a really fun book with some great characters. I’ll be adding this to my wishlist.

  15. I am going to be 29 on my next birthday and this premise sounds great so I think I better read this 🙂

  16. I am going to be 29 on my next birthday and this premise sounds great so I think I better read this 🙂

  17. Okay, you sold me. I thought it would be too cutesy for me, but I see I’m wrong.

  18. Okay, you sold me. I thought it would be too cutesy for me, but I see I’m wrong.

  19. Oh, I’m so glad I read this review! I have this on my stack and I really meant to get to it last month, but I’ve been putting it off because it looks so cutesy and I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe very soon.

  20. Oh, I’m so glad I read this review! I have this on my stack and I really meant to get to it last month, but I’ve been putting it off because it looks so cutesy and I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe very soon.

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