Friday, October 15, 2010

Twenty Nine

Publisher's Summary. What if you closed your eyes, blew out the candles, and your wish came true?

Ellie Jerome is a young-at-heart seventy-five-year-old who feels she has more in common with her twenty-nine-year-old granddaughter, Lucy, than her fifty-five-year-old daughter, Barbara. Ellie’s done everything she can to stay young, and the last thing she wants is to celebrate another birthday. So when she finds herself confronted with a cake full of candles, Ellie wishes more than anything that she could be twenty-nine again, just for one day. But who expects a wish like that to come true?

29 is the story of three generations of women and how one magical day shakes up everything they know about each other. While Ellie finds that the life of a twenty-something is not as carefree as she expected, the sheer joy of being young again prompts her to consider living her life all over. Does she dare stay young for more than this day, even if it means leaving everyone she loves behind?

Fresh, funny, and delightful, 29 is an enchanting adventure about families, love, and the real lessons of youth.

Review. If you could be 29 again would you do it and if so what would you do differently? Would you find the experience liberating or would you long to return to your current situation? In 29 by Adena Halpern, Ellie Jerome the grandmother-heroine is faced with exactly that scenario.

Ellie Jerome was raised in an era when women did what was expected. She has lived a full, respectable, life as a wife of lawyer (the now deceased Howard), mother of an adult daughter (Barbara) and grandmother of a fashion designer (Lucy), but on her 75th birthday she feels like she has missed something in life. In particular, Ellie muses:

“What would my life have been like if I had married someone I was in love with? What kind of person would I have become if I had married my soul mate? If I’d had the choice all those years ago, if my mother hadn’t stood in the way and told me to marry Howard. If I’d married with my heart, would my life have been any better? What would my daughter have been like as a result? Would Barbara been more independent?

Although Ellie has the body and the thoughts of a 75 year old, she shares a similar free spiritedness with her twenty five year old her granddaughter Lucy. So when the birthday cake is brought out Ellie wishes to be twenty nine again just for one day and “go crazy.” The next morning, Ellie’s wish is granted with story following her memorable day.

In 29, Halpern has crafted a sweet story with a message and engaging characters. I especially enjoyed the antics of Barbara and Frida (Ellie’s 75 year old best friend) who are in hot pursuit of the 29 year old Ellie, but seem to meet every disaster along the way. In the reader’s guide at the back of the novel, Halpern states that she was inspired by The-Out-of-Towners in writing this part of the plot. As for Ellie’s storyline, Halpern confesses to being influenced by Roman Holiday. With cinematic inspirations as these, it is no wonder that 29 is such an entertaining novel!

29 is a light, humorous, book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but nevertheless manages to make some rather profound statements about life.

Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (June 15, 2010), 288 pages.
Advance Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the Publisher.


  1. Sounds like the perfect book to read after a heavy dramatic one. To be 29 again? That's a good question although I don't consider myself old enough to wish I was younger.

  2. This is one book I really want to read. I love the premise so much.

  3. if I could be 29 again...well I haven't been yet ;)

  4. Lol... Blodeuedd....

    This sounds so sweet! I think I would like to be 38 again... good age. Come to think of it 41 was pretty good too... lol... I am not going any higher here.