Monday, June 4, 2012

Book "Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus" by Joyce Magnin

About the Book: Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she's getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia ... until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they're right. Four x-rays later, Harriet's ankle---and her heart---are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She's doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it's time for her to be put out to pasture---God has a different plan.

About the Author: Joyce Magnin is the author of the popular and quirky Bright's Pond novels. She is a frequent conference speaker and writing instructor. When she's not writing or reading, Joyce enjoys baseball, needle arts, video games and cream soda but not elevators--especially glass ones. She listens to many kinds of music, shamelessly confesses to enjoying American Idol, has never eaten a scallop or sky dived. Joyce has three children, Rebekah, Emily and Adam and three grandsons, Lemuel, Cedar and Soren and one son-in-law, Joshua. Joyce lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania with her son, Adam and their crazy cat, Mango, where she cares for an eighty-year-old onion plant.

My Review: The author did a magnificent job creating this wonderful character named Harriet Beamer. She is a sweet old lady that lives alone with her dog (Humphrey) in her home in Pennsylvania, missing her late husband (Max) and with her son Henry living in California with his wife Prudence. After breaking her ankle and loosing a bet, she sells her house in order to move to California, to live with Henry, but she decided to take the long trip to the new home. She ships her dog and most of her belongings (that include an impressive collection of salt and pepper shakers) directly to her son's house in California and she start her trip using public transportation, instead of just taking the airplane. She goes to different places, meeting interesting people and making difference in the life of many. Her trip is assembled on the fly, depending on which ways of transport she can find. She keeps a journal where she writes to Max, and her Droid phone (Amelia) is a useful toll as it has a built in GPS to tell her the directions she wants to go, finding hotels and restaurants. She also communicates frequently with her old friend and neighbor Martha.
Being an inspiration to many old people that simply give up and live their last days "in the pasture", Harriet decided to discover her country and for the first time live a life of adventures. In a certain way this book reminded me of a movie named "The Bucket List", with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson (2007).
The author had a great sensibility in showing how Harriet's faith was increasing during her journey and how her dependence on God was giving her confidence.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers how enjoy a very well written story and want to be entertained for three or four days. It took me around 11 hours to finish reading this book.

This book was written by Joyce Magnin and published by Zondervan in 2012 and the author was kind enough to give me an electronic copy of her book for reviewing, through her representative Susan from Shelton Interactive.

If you read this review, feel free to leave your comment!

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