Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book review: 29

I really tried to get into Fifty Shades of Grey, but it was so boring and terribly written, I couldn't make it past half of it.

So, I needed something to keep me awake during my flight to North Carolina last week. I ended up fishing a cute little beach read out of the bargain bin at my local bookstore.

It is called 29. The author is Adena Halpern.

I didn't have particularly high hopes for the book, because I'm cynical, but after the first few pages, I could tell it was going to be a winner. And by the time I finished the book, a couple hours later, I was pleasantly surprised.

The book embodies history and chick-lit, two of my favorite genres. One of my favorite books of all time is Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella and one of my favorite films is Freaky Friday. This book is very similar to them.

The novel revolves around Ellie, a 75-year-old grandmother who has more in common with her 29-year-old fashion designer granddaughter, Lucy, than anyone else in the world. The senior citizen has many regrets about her life, which was a cookie cutter 1950s American Dream. She wishes that she could have been more independent and glamorous like Lucy, rather than a real-life Donna Reed housewife.

So, on her birthday, Ellie wishes she could be 29 just for one day. Of course, her wish comes true.

The elegant and beautiful grandmother wakes up the next morning to discover she is the sexy, vibrant bombshell she used to be five decades before.

She takes advantage of her new found youth and embarks on a day filled with adventures.

There is a lot of fashion. There are a lot of hot guys. There is friendship.

But the book is more than just delicious cotton candy fluff. It critically analyzes the female bonds which tie families together. It really makes you see the importance of family and friendships. It also makes you see the necessity of being true to yourself in order to fully reach happiness.

It's that deep.

I was touched by this book. It's not going to win a Pulitzer any time soon. That's not the point. But it's definitely not worthy of the bargain big I rescued it from.

You should check it out!


JustMe said...

I wish I was a 29-year-old bombshell.

Right now I'm sitting in my pajamas with my hair in a bun and "bombshell" is like the last adjective I would describe myself with.

Maybe 29-year-old chronic worrier.

Bunny Moreno said...

I think the book sounds so sweet! I wanna know how it ends! LOL xox

Rachel Jensen {Da Paura ♥} said...

Wow, sounds like a good book -- probably inspires one to live the life they want while they are still young! I know I feel the pressure! lol

Couture Carrie said...

Fab review, darling!

Thanks for your sweet comment :)


Renee said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who finds 50 shades boring. I just can't get past the terrible writing to enjoy it. A few friends have told me that the second one is better, but I have some serious doubts. I mean, they liked the first one enough to finish it and read the next one, so their opinions are obviously different than mine!

I might have to try 29. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

Blond Duck said...

I'm totally getting this for my trip to the beach next week. Did you read Undomestic Godess by Sophia Kinsella?

Blond Duck said...

Oh, and please swing by my new 'grown up' blog--I'd love to get your opinion.

Bonnie said...

I want this now -- even though my free time that can be spent reading is about thiiiiiisssss small right now. It will get even worse once the semester starts again. Sigh. Thanks, grad school.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

Jennifer, another blogger talked about the Shades of Grey book and how horrible it was written. She reads books all the time like yourself. I refuse to get it. I have so much more to do with my time then read that. HAHAHA So thanks for sharing your feelings about it. This book sounds like a winner! I love the focus of it and that it touched you. That's the sign of a great book! When it reaches out to you (of course not literally) and really makes an impression on your life. Good for you! It was meant for you to read it.

French Girl in Seattle said...

Bonjour Jenny. Thanks for your visit today. I am glad I stopped by (still on the boat, but I lucked out and got good WiFi tonight! Very intrigued by this book and will look it up. I ordered the Louise Brooks autobiography on Amazon so will keep you posted. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Sherin said...

Sounds like such a sweet book. Definitely one I'll look into reading for my next holiday.
(I couldn't even deal with 50 Shades. I didn't even bother).

The Dainty Dolls House said...

Hmmm..sounds interesting!! May check this if I need to add another book to my pile, but I do go through them so quickly and this sounds way cute :))) Ahhh..if I could be a teenager again, I'd say to hell with a lot of things, but I'll just have to settle for doing that in my 30's :))) Haha..thank you for the sweet comment, that made me laugh, loved it :)) I'm like Clark Kent you know, geek in glasses (I do wear glasses, even though I take them off for photos) and then I bust out all Superman/woman like and surprise people, hahaha :) I like it better that way...cause I'm clearly Super Hero material ;) Hope you have a super day doll xox

BBella said...

great review :)
would you like to follow each other?

xx BBella

Cafe Fashionista said...

Twenties Girl and Freaky Friday are two my favorites - I am SO checking this book out! :)

David Macaulay said...

have heard 50 shades is very badly written - hmm this post reminds me I need some holiday reading - how r u?

Minna said...

Nice post! :)

I'd love if you visited my blog at It would be fun to follow each other, don't you think? ;)

xoxo, Minna

Tights Lover said...

Definitely sounds like a very good read. It seems to have a feel-good aspect to it that I haven't been getting out of most of the books I read these days...hahaha.

btw...sadly, I have no control over the security check words on my blog...although I'm glad they're using the ones I would've thought of using, myself...hahaha!

Oh to Be a Muse said...

I'm happy to hear that the book was that deep! I wasn't sure about it initially, but I think you sold me on it.

Collections said...

This sounds like such a fun book, what an interesting concept. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Would you like to follow one another via bloglovin? If so, please leave me a comment on my blog and I'll do so asap.


SG Angela said...

sound like a wonderful read.

C said...

I will look for this book definitely.

Do you like other genres? I am going to start with Game of Thrones and simultaneously am reading The Happiness Project and one of the latest Jodie Piccoult books.

enter the giveaway of a Rouge et Noir tunic

Meri said...

have you read "the boy i loved before" by jenny colgan? she's a great british chick lit author and this is sort of a 13 going on 30 in reverse, sort of like the book you're describing. her other books are great too!

Margaret Cruzemark said...

Totally adore! Thank you for your amazing comment on my blog! It means the world to me! I am following you back via GFC!!!
Sending you kisses and hugs.
Best Regards
Miss Margaret Cruzemark

Borjana said...

Ohhh how I love this post,honey!;)

sherene said...

How cool is that? Being 29 again lol.
If given the chance, will turn back time when I was delivering my son, will not get epidural and embrace the pain wholeheartedly, what did i just said no epidural?